Bruce Gertz Quintet | Thank You Charlie

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Jazz: Mainstream Jazz Jazz: Cool Jazz Moods: Type: Vocal
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Thank You Charlie

by Bruce Gertz Quintet

Soothing and enjoyable. Deep baritone male vocal. Beautiful acoustic jazz instrumentation, reminiscent of Johnny Hartman and John Coltrane.
Genre: Jazz: Mainstream Jazz
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. This Is All I Ask
5:01 album only
2. Thank You Charlie
7:27 $0.99
3. Moonlight Becomes You
5:56 album only
4. Into The Fold
4:51 $0.99
5. My Ship
6:19 album only
6. True Colors
6:33 $0.99
7. Some Other Time
5:37 album only
8. What's Next?
0:29 $0.99
9. Trajectory
6:47 $0.99
10. Detour Ahead
4:35 album only
11. In A Perfect World
4:37 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
This recording is dedicated to the memory of Charlie Banacos, beloved family man, incredible, inspirational person and teacher, (of the elusive craft of musical improvisation). He was a friend and mentor to all the thousands of students who had the good fortune to communicate and study with him. Charlie possessed a brilliant mind and intuitive nature, which allowed him the ability to read, minds somewhat. In turn he would know the exact, correct thing for a student to practice. He also was very conscious of the body and how to approach an instrument such that you would not injure yourself through an un-natural repetitive motion of the wrist, fingers, arms etc.
I began my journey with Charlie Banacos in 1982 at which time my name reached the top of his 2+year waiting list. Oddly, I still do not recall ever putting my name on the list. People I knew who studied with him told me, “your name came up and you should call Charlie. He was already extremely famous as the cat to study with and his students included Mike Stern, Wayne Krantz, Jeff Berlin, Bill Pierce, John Novello, Michael Brecker, George Garzone, Joey Calderazzo, and many other well know artists. It was easy for me to say yes when he asked me, “are you into it or what?”
For the next six years I went weekly for my lesson with Charlie. There was a sort of cult of students of Charlie’s and we’d all ask each other, “What are you working on with Charlie?” Or, “how many notes are you up to? (Referring to Charlie’s famous ear training method). I loved being part of Charlie’s magical way of creating group consciousness through his teaching. He would say positive things about you to another student and you would indirectly get Charlie’s encouragement and support away from the lesson. This was his way of defusing much of the local egomania. If Charlie said something good about you it meant The Man respected you no matter what anyone else thought of your playing. A couple of times he wanted to “graduate” me because he felt that I had plenty to work on and understood most of it but, I wasn’t ready to let go of what I felt was one of the best experiences of my life.
He even called me up sometimes just to talk, not often but very meaningful as he was one of the busiest people I have known. He would quickly say, “heyyyyyyy Bruce! It’s Charlie Banacos, how ya doin man? “I was just thinking about you and thought I’d give you a call to see how you’re doin” “I know your playing a lot because my students keep saying they saw you or played with you. “That’s good huh?” “I know your still playing with that ugly tenor player, Jerry Bergonzi, ha!”
Somewhere in the middle of my studies around 1984 or 85 Charlie needed brain surgery and was out for little while. He called me up and said, “when I take a bath I can make my own jacuzzi” “you know because when you have brain surgery often times you get some epilepsy for a while and that can cause you to have convulsions.” His sense of humor was unique and he seemed to always be in good spirits no matter what was going on. He came back pretty soon from the surgery but could not drive so he moved his studio to his home. I guess he missed driving his old Cadillac because when he heard from Jerry Bergonzi that I got a new car he said after mine, the last lesson of the day, “hey man, let’s go for a ride.” This was not his usual behavior with students and I felt like he must trust me so off we went. I drove him around with the sunroof opened and he wanted to drive near Herb Pomeroy’s house and yell together hey Herb!, hey Herb! I drove my Saab 900s back to his house and he said, “Thanks man!” “That was fun huh?” His positive attitude was contagious.
Jerry Bergonzi and Charlie go way back to early college years in Lowell, MA where they were getting degrees in Music. Nick Goumas (another friend of theirs on tenor who went there) said, “Jazz was a dirty word at that school.” When some of the jazz-hating teachers wondered by the practice rooms and heard the jazz they would complain and threaten them if they didn’t stop. Jerry said that he and Charlie would play music all day long and fall asleep on the floor of the music room where the upright piano was in Charlie’s house. When Charlie’s mother came home from work she’d have to step over their bodies to get to the kitchen. Another story I heard was of Charlie playing the same note for 14 hours working on his touch when he was studying with Madam Chaloff.

This Is All I Ask by Gordon Jenkins is a tune that Charlie taught me at one of our 300+lessons. He really loved this song and we played it for two or three lessons as part of my studies. I only recently learned the lyrics from having Paul sing it. The beautiful, baritone voice of Paul Broadnax singing that song gives it so much meaning for me. George Garzone deepens and beautifies it further through his blossoming tenor solo.
Thank You Charlie is a new composition, which magically came to me at the piano while starring at a picture of the late Charlie Banacos who’s wearing a tux and smiling at me. It uses many of the techniques he taught me about writing, rhythm, counterpoint, harmony, phrasing, how music breaths etc. I also was finally able to employ the voicing methods I learned from him on piano. Phil Grenadier and Rick DiMuzio together form an incredible blending horn section. Each has a great non-cliché style of pure improvisation that really serves the music. I feel blessed to have made the connection with these two monsters.
Moonlight Becomes You turns out to be one of my Dad’s favorite tunes. I heard Paul sing it with the great bassist, Peter Kontrimas and it just spoke to me. I love you Dad! Dig George Garzone’s incredible improvisation. He is one of the greats.
Into The Fold is a recent composition where I used the famous “chord on chord” method, which I studied extensively with Charlie. Another great thing that happened on this piece was my opportunity to share something I learned from him with Paul Broadnax, a seasoned pro on piano and voice. It was the lesson on “double mambos”. I asked Paul to play the double mambo over the last chord and intro of the tune, F and Eb Major Triads in ascending and descending inversions over A7 altered. Paul was thrilled and I was happy to be able to put into words something he probably used a million times in the 60+years he’s played the piano. Paul is a natural musician and in my experience those are the best kind. He probably related to the sound immediately but now it had a name. How cool! Thank you Charlie,
My Ship is a tune, which Charlie had me reharmonize several times with various versions resulting. In the process I fell in love with the tune as it is and here we kept it straight ahead just adding the tasteful, improvised horn parts of Phil Grenadier and Rick DiMuzio
True Colors is three tonic song Eb, B and G. I play with the major and minor tonalities over the bass notes. Charlie had many of his students learn Giant Steps in minor as well as major tonalities. From that I learned I could use the concept in my writing. Here is a chance for Bob Gullotti to demonstrate his musical mastery of the drums with an amazing intro and playing throughout this entire recording. He’s a master of form and phrasing. Bob can also read just about anything you give him and his ears are deep. We had no rehearsal, only our history of playing together for 36 years.
Some Other Time is just one of those beautiful songs that we never get tired of. Paul’s baritone voice on those gorgeous lyrics and George Garzone’s sweet burning tenor solo is like food for the soul.
What’s Next? is a short, improvisational piece in response to all that is currently going on in our world. There are earthquakes, volcanoes, tornados, floods, tragic, oil mistakes, wars, economical crisis and more all happening at once. I think Mother Earth is angry.
Trajectory is another recent composition, which is influenced by among other things modal sequences and shapes (two more Banacos gems). The song is modal for it’s harmonic progression and the shapes and sequences are used in the melody. Notice how the horns are in unison for half the tune and break into harmony for the latter half. This tune has action written all over it. Iron Man 3? I had Tim Miller play guitar on this track.
His modern sound and incredible fluidity add another dimension to the track. I feel blessed to have made the musical connection with Tim and hope to develop it further.
Detour Ahead is a tune that I fell in love with after hearing Bill Evans Trio with Scott LaFaro and Paul Motion, Waltz for Debbie recorded live at the Village Vanguard some 50 years ago. I first heard it in the 1970’s and it changed my musical life.
In A Perfect World was originally an instrumental tune written by me and recorded in 1998 with Jerry Bergonzi. He and I used to enjoy playing the tune it was based on so I decided to write my own tune. We recorded the instrumental version on a CD for Double Time Records entitled Red Handed which also featured Bruce Barth on piano, John Abercrombie on guitar and Adam Nussbaum, drums.
Here is my first attempt at writing lyrics. I was shy about it but my family of critical women said they found them to be nice. Of course anything Paul Broadnax sings ends up sounding nice. George and I have something to say on the solos. The tune lends itself to an expressive type of playing. The melody is definitely related to a Charlie lesson however I cannot remember the name he gave that technique. Dare I say “tonal parallipsis” or “agogics” ????
Thanks to Paul, Bob, George, Rick, Phil, Peter and my family for the musical and emotional support needed to complete this project. And most of all,

Bruce Gertz, May 14, 2010

Recorded, March, 2010 and Mixed at PBS in Westwood, MA
Engineer: Peter Kontrimas_ e mail:
Tel: 781-461-0696
Cover Art: Mulberry Sky, oil on panel, 32" x 24", 2009,
Produced by: Bruce Gertz for Open Mind Jazz

P©2010 Open Mind Jazz OMJ-003

1. This Is All I Ask……………………………….Gordon Jenkins.. 5:02
2. Thank You Charlie …Bruce Gertz, Bruce Gertz Music, ASCAP..7:28
3. Moonlight Becomes You…..Johnny Burke, James Van Heusen…5:56
4. Into The Fold…... Bruce Gertz, Bruce Gertz Music, ASCAP……4:52
5. My Ship………………………..….Kurt Weill, Ira Gershwin…….6:20
6. True Colors……… Bruce Gertz, Bruce Gertz Music, ASCAP…..6:34
7. Some Other Time……………………….. Leonard Bernstein…….5:37
8. What’s Next?...............Bruce Gertz, Bruce Gertz Music, ASCAP….:30
9. Trajectory………..… Bruce Gertz, Bruce Gertz Music, ASCAP…6:48
10. Detour Ahead…………….Lou Carter, Herb Ellis, John Frigo……..4:36
11. In A Perfect World.. Bruce Gertz, Bruce Gertz Music, ASCAP….4:37



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