New York City – January 2014 – “JOY” the latest CD release from Ambient Records features Clay Jenkins - Trumpet, Gene Bertoncini – acoustic nylon string guitar, Ike Sturm – acoustic bass.
This CD combines the talents of three of today’s most well respected musicians, recorded with audiophile recording techniques. Clay, Gene and Ike have been musical collaborators, friends and colleagues for years leading up to the recording of this aptly named CD “JOY”.
Tune choices came easy. “Sleepy Time Gal,” penned in 1925, serves as the perfect opener, setting the stage for the album’s array of repertoire. You can hear the fun the guys are having as they play this together.
Antonio Carlos Jobim’s lilting “Zingaro” (also known as “Portrait in Black and White”) follows, showcasing the threesome in rubato exchanges, individual choruses, and collective improvisations. The ensuing track reveals six minutes of locked-in swinging as the guys explore Neal Hefti and Bobby Troup’s standard “Girl Talk,” composed for the 1965 film Harlow.
Henry Mancini considered “Two for the Road,” the theme for the 1967 British film, his personal favorite among all of his songs. Ike warmly bows the melody over Gene’s chording before the trio settles into an introspective Latin lilt. João Gilberto’s interpretation of Italian jazz composer Bruno Martino’s 1960 “Estate” made the haunting composition a jazz standard; this is Gene’s second trio treatment of the masterpiece on record, and it’s extraordinary.
Next is “My Old Flame,” which Mae West and Duke Ellington introduced in the 1934 film Belle of the Nineties, and its beauty endures eight decades later with Gene’s inimitable re-harmonizations, Clay’s inventive lines, and Ike’s rock solid time. Gene composed “For Chet” as a personal tribute to trumpeter Chet Baker, and he opens the enchanting waltz out of rhythm with solo guitar, paving the way for Clay’s invocation of Chet and the trio’s concerted choruses.
The CD concludes with Clay’s original composition “Decide,” a refreshing melodic and harmonic exploration set in a light Latin groove. Clay artfully probes the form before the trio interactively scrutinizes it, dwindling down to a whispering, gentle conclusion.
– Fred Sturm.
This recording was made using 174.4kHz/24-bit A/D conversion and was mixed in the digital domain with 32-bit floating point precision. These high-resolution mixes were then processed in the analog domain thru a customised all discrete class-A Neve compressor. The result was captured to 44.1kHz/16-bit stereo and DSD-64 thru a custom DSD analog to digital converter and was used to make the CD master. The DSD-64 version of “JOY” as well as all other Ambient Record’s releases may be made available for purchase as downloads thru the Ambient Record’s website in the future.