|Check out "No Holes Barred"
The sax trio is a demanding format, since so much depends on the horn. It must be attentive, as the chords of the tune are suggested rather than played. And the horn must be good, or the music won't be; thankfully, that task falls to Jerry Bergonzi, who also wrote the tunes. He has a thoughtful approach, stepping quietly into "Seventh Ray Overture". His tone is creamy, and the notes quaver slightly; Bruce Gertz bounces a light bass and Bob Kaufman draws steam from his cymbals. As it progresses, Kaufman gets busier … and Jerry approaches the tone of Coltrane. He yelps while the background stays constant; the calm then returns, but the tension remains.
"It's the Same But…" is more in the Rollins mold; Bergonzi moves fast, surrounded by drums. Lustily he blows, a series of popping notes - three minutes of fire, and then it ends abruptly. "Small Pleasures" offers a sedate, Desmond-like theme; "Fourth Way" is an impassioned squeal, made as Bruce wields a bow. The trio seems to play simultaneously rather than together - appropriate, given the fierce sound. (Gertz' solo is plucked, and certainly worth waiting for.) The title cut gets a soft Latin rhythm, and Bergonzi at his most quiet; he flutters in tight arcs as Kaufman rumbles hard. Bruce starts a harplike strum, and Jerry picks up the pace while staying mellow. By moving from the intellectual to the emotional, this music keeps a good balance.
Jerry has a slurping, Joe Lovano tone on "Without a Trace"; he starts the theme and Bruce's bow finishes it. The sax is sandy, with notes in the alto range - when he plays faster than his surroundings, Kaufman catches up on the cymbals. "Stratus" belongs in a dark alley, with its taut bass and tough, angular reed. This one rolls by with boundless energy; Jerry's Trane tone is used to its best advantage. "No Holes Barred" is a nice little blues, and "Seventh Ray" returns for an intense rework. More varied than most sax trios, this group gets power from the well-written tunes, the interplay of the musicians, and a remarkable performance by Jerry Bergonzi. Enjoy it all.