Review: Chris Bergson back catalogue

Posted on: Friday, Mar 28, 2008

New York City guitarist and singer, Chris Bergson, and his manager, Kate Ross, have kindly sent us some of his back catalogue:

(Self-release, 2003)

Recorded live at Smoke in New York City, “Blues” catches Chris Bergson in trio format, with Brian Charette (Hammond B-3) and Matt Wilson (drums), on a five-track EP, comprising three originals and two covers.

The mood is mainly laid back and jazzy – the opening two songs, “Staring At The Clock” and “Come And Gone”, show what Bergson is all about – very tasteful guitar work and his wonderful rich vocals, embellished by Charette’s tasty organ, particularly on the latter.

The trio get out and out jazzy on the Rodgers/Hart tune, “Little Girl Blue”, before a return to the blues on the classic “The Stumble” – who doesn’t love a Freddie King tune? Bergson’s version is taken a more of a mid-tempo than many versions around, and contains some quite lovely guitar.

Closing proceedings is his own, “Cold November”, a slow heartfelt blues – again with the Hammond of Charette adding tasteful flourishes, with Matt Wilson’s subtle drumming to the fore.

(2 Shirts Records – CD1002)

This is the release prior to the current “Fall Changes”, coming out in 2005, and features Matt Wilson on drums again, with current band members, Jay Collins (tenor sax) and Chris Berger (bass).

The seven tracks kick off with the swampy grooves of “Come And Gone”, featuring a great saxophone solo from Jay Collins and plenty of Bergson’s fine guitar. This is followed by the country-flavoured “High Above The Morning”, with maybe a nod to The Band along the way.

The album songs were developed while the band had a longstanding residency at Jazz Standard in New York City, and was recorded entirely live in the studio, with no overdubs – impressive stuff indeed.

Possibly the album’s standout track is the medley of “Three Sisters/Death Letter” – with Bergson doffing his cap to the legendary bluesman Skip James, on a powerful, acoustic solo performance – before dipping into Son House’s “Death Letter”, and showing his prowess is not just confined to electric guitar.

Elsewhere the band get funky on “Greyhound Station”, with Collins saxophone excelling again, as it does on the sweet, jazzy instrumental “Up In Buffalo” and the album closes with the title cut of “Another Day” – a moody piece with Bergson providing a smoky vocal – again a little reminiscent of The Band at their finest.



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