‘Double Bill’, a two-key reharmonisation of ‘Blue and Green’ opened for the first of this two-house Friday night appearance. One of the first things that the Gonz did when he got on to the stage was sip on a glass of red wine: the next more significant thing a tune later, Jobim’s ‘Wave’ as it happened, was to roll up his sleeves.
Pianist Bruce Barth came into his own in his later solo spot in the segue from Monk’s ‘Light Blue’ into Billy Strayhorn’s ‘Daydream’. The Pizza roused to a rollicking account of John Coltrane’s ‘Moment’s Notice’, and then the ultimate ballad ‘Body and Soul’, the Gonz, hair slicked back, boyish smiles lighting up the place as the set went on, not one to stand on ceremony even quipping as he introduced the encore “Someone I know calls it ‘Buddy and Sol’. I’ll refer to that someone by his initials — ‘Adam Nussbaum'!”
Barth plus the evening’s bassist Mark Hodgson and drummer Stephen Keogh who have been touring extensively with Bergonzi accompany bebop legend Charles McPherson on Sunday at Ronnie Scott’s. It is quite a team. However, Bergonzi owned the house on this occasion and I guess added another storey to the heights later in the evening. One to be engraved on my memory of great nights in this marvellous Soho basement, and the bar is set very high, pretty much immediately. SG