Saturday, July 3, 2010

Gene Bertoncini

It's not very often that I tell people to run right out and by a CD. In fact, the last time I said that was the first time I heard Quincy Jones Back on the Block about 20 years ago (if you don't have Quincy's CD, run right out...). Gene Bertoncini's Body and Soul is just such a CD! It, and other CDs are available through Amazon.

Back on the Block has just about everything going for it. Great arrangements by Quincy, George Benson, Miles, Take 6, the list goes on and on. A huge undertaking with a gazillion fantastic musicians! Gene Bertoncini's Body and Soul has... just him. Just Gene playing a nylon string guitar, but somehow it is no less amazing.

There are approximately 10 to the 11th power of stars in our galaxy. That's the number 10 followed by 11 zeroes. I whupped out my scientific calculator and, if I remembered the formula correctly, there are approximately 4.61 times 10 to the 18th power possible combinations of notes on a guitar. Yes, that's the digits 461 followed by 16 zeroes or the number:


Herb Ellis used to tease Charlie Byrd about his "cowboy chords". Still, Charlie, another master of the classical (nylon string) guitar, did alright for himself and is truly worthy of recognition as an all-time great. Gene Bertoncini uses incredible harmonies. Incredible "I wish I'd thought of that" harmonies that, owing to the guitar's user-friendly overtone structure, he can get away with nicely. Truly, if you tried the same harmonies with 6 saxophones, you'd get a mind-bending migraine after just a few minutes.

Special thanks goes to Steve Abshire (link in side bar) for introducing me to this genius' work. Gene has several CDs available. Gonna buy 'em today. Plus he has a book or two and an instructional video put out by Mel Bay. Gonna buy them, too. Don't waste any time. Buy them. Your ears will thank you.

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