Jazz Improv NY

February 11, 2008 | BY Rob Turner
Chris Bergson Band
Jazz Standard
December 4, 2007

Fresh from a sold-out performance at Levon Helmís ìMidnight Rambleî show, the Chris Bergson Band returned to New Yorkís Jazz Standard to celebrate the release of the critically acclaimed CD Fall Changes on December 4. The Brooklyn-based Bergson has walked an interesting musical path, but one which, having been firmly established in the NYC jazz community, makes perfect sense, in retrospect. These days, the singer/guitarist moves smoothly between jazz, Delta blues, Americana, roots, and - dare we say - rock styles, drawing comparisons ranging from B.B. King to Gregg Allman to classic Blood Sweat and Tears. No doubt Bergson has paid his dues, and his efforts have paid off with Fall Changes.

Recorded and mixed at Levon Helm Studios in Woodstock, Fall Changes captures an inventive and personal take on the rich legacy of American roots music, highlighting some honest storytelling and soulful vocals in the framework of a first-class working band. That framework was in fall effect at The Standard, where the set kicked off with the title cut, moving quickly into the gorgeous ìDrown in My Own Tears' and the horn-laden ìGowanus Heightsî. Some great interplay between Bergsonís gritty, bluesy guitar and Collinsí soulful tenor spiced up ìThe Bunglerî, ìThe Engine' and 'Imitate the Sun'. Bergson was joined by tenor saxophonist Jay Collins and organist Bruce Katz (both just off a national tour with Gregg Allman), drummer Tony Leone (Ollabelle) and a full Stax-styled horn section featuring Kenny Rampton and Chris Karlic. Bergson has a standing history with the club, having been featured as weekly Artist-in-Residence, starting in 2004. so this pair of shows also served as a most welcome homecoming.

The show moved the audience up and down the landscape the landscape of American music with true heart and soul - from Detroit with the funky 'Latitude' to Memphis with the soulful 'Sanctuary'. And back down to New Orleans with a good mix of cuts from both the new release and the acclaimed Another Day. Bergson closed on an interesting note with all-out horn-heavy (yet totally tasteful) version of Hendrixís 'Are You Experienced' When Bergson and his all-star lineup hit the stage, there is an energy in the room from the first downbeat. Not to be missed.