Living Blues

February 11, 2008 | By Dave Ruthenberg

Chris Bergson is a serious talent. The Brooklyn-based vocalist/guitarist also knows a thing or two about assembling a top-notch crew, and on his latest effort, Fall Changes, it all comes together in an intense outing that showcases Bergson's many talents and influences.

Bergson gives early notice to the listener on the album's opening cut, "Gowanus Heights", of his prowess as both a performer and songwriter. With a horn section that would do the old Stax crew proud, Bergson lures the listener into his world of jazz influenced blues and doesn't let up until the final cut.

Joined here by a band that features Hammond B-3 maestro Bruce Katz and Jay Collins on saxophone, Bergson is not afraid to stretch out and cover some surprising territory, taking on Bob Dylan's "When I Paint My Masterpiece" and even Jimi Hendrix's "Are You Experienced?" But don't let that scare you away.

Bergson transforms the Dylan cut into a horn-drenched, swinging affair and even tones down the Hendrix cover thanks to Collins' soaring sax and Katz's warm organ tone, which allow Bergson to demonstrate his axe abilities without overindulging.

Both jazzy and bluesy with a slight dash of rock and massive amounts of melody, Fall Changes is a treat.