All Music Guide

September 01, 2001 | BY Dave Nathan

Listening to the fine young guitarist Chris Bergson stroke his axe is like drifting along and rocked on a soft gentle breeze, buoyed by waves of rich, mellifluous harmonies created by Bergson, who understands the importance of space and letting the chords breathe. Such a technique gives the listener an opportunity to bask in the special musical circumstance created by each note, and the listener will hear each note. This unadorned, simple but effective guitar methodology can be heard to excellent effect on such cuts as the ballad "Goodbye" (Bergson's composition, not the more famous one by Gordon Jenkins ) to equally good effect on slightly faster-cadenced tunes as "My Heart Stood Still" and "Look for the Silver Lining." The interplay between ´╗┐Neal Miner 's bass, taking on the piano's role, and Bergson is an album highlight. The guitar uses a couple of tunes to set off his adeptness as an improvisor. He takes one of them, "With a Song in My Heart," for a seven-and-a-half minute stroll down extemporization lane, making the changes in the classic standard his own personal playground. Bergson also demonstrates that guitar-playing can be jaunting within the overall minimalist backdrop on "Wait for Spring," where he wears his swinging spurs accompanied by well-placed and supportive rim shots by ´╗┐Sunny Jain . Today's jazz scene seems to be favored with a profusion of fine guitar-players, most of whom have moved toward clean-lined playing. Based on this album, as well as his work at jazz venues in and around New York City, Bergson has to be placed at the top of that heap.