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Gene Bertoncini & Roni Ben-Hur: Smile

- CD Reviews

Gene Bertoncini & Roni Ben-Hur: Smile
Jazz Therapy Vol. 1
(Gene Bertoncini Website)
(Roni Ben-Hur Website)

Produced in Assoc. with the
Jazz Foundation of America
And the
Dizzy Gillespie Fund, Englewood Hospital and Medical Center

Gene Bertoncini on Acoustic Guitar
Roni Ben-Hur on Electric Guitar

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
March 16, 2009

This CD is generously connected to a Foundation and a Hospital and appropriately called “Jazz Therapy”. Two tracks even pay homage to the late bassist, Earl May. Gene Bertoncini and Roni Ben-Hur instinctively merge their multitude of talent in infectious and inspiring melodies that are, in fact, therapeutic and tranquil. Two tracks each are composed by the guitarists, and the remaining six tracks are renowned ballads by Cole Porter, Charlie Chaplin, and more. This is a must-have CD, for nurturing solitude or to share with friends.

Notable tracks:

#3 – Smile – Composed by C. Chaplin/G.C. Parsons/J.J.T. Phillips. This title track, an homage to Earl May, creates wraparound joy, with melancholy meanderings of the duo guitars. Bertoncini and Ben-Hur take Chaplin’s ballad to a soft, surreal tempo, with delicate ornamentations that should be listened to often.

#5 – You Are a Story – Composed by Gene Bertoncini. Bertoncini’s lyrical composition has an upbeat emotionality, with some rapid fingering adding to its vibrancy. There’s an obvious sense of devotion and memory attached to this track.

#8 – Bésame Mucho – C. Velazquez/Sunny Skylar. With a rhumba rhythm, this Latin ballad is played with originality and nuance. At times the guitarists overlay the notes for a fragmented, but familiar theme.

#9 – Sofia’s Butterfly – Composed by Roni Ben-Hur. Ben-Hur’s composition has a skipping, swinging beat and joyful, inherent buoyancy. As in Bertoncini’s composition above, Ben-Hur has added some personal meaning to the peppy music resulting in cheerful effervescence.

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For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at