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Gene Bertoncini Serenades His Fans at Le Madeleine
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Gene Bertoncini Serenades His Fans at Le Madeleine

- Jazz and Cabaret Corner

Gene Bertoncini
(Gene Bertoncini Bio)
Gene Bertoncini on Guitar
Le Madeleine
403 West 43rd Street
NY, NY 10036

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
March 4, 2007

(See a Gene Bertoncini CD Review).

Le Madeleine, a cozy French bistro in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of the theatre district, has been serving theatre-goers and regular diners since 1979. Every Sunday and Monday night, Gene Bertoncini plays elegant guitar, with standards that diners can request, plus new pieces from Gene’s rich repertoire. Tonight he was playing “What Are You Doing for the Rest of Your Life?”, by Michel Legrand, with whom Gene has collaborated, when I arrived. I was immediately struck with the historical nature of this bistro, its exposed brick walls and flickering candles. Other songs on tonight’s list were “Once Upon a Summertime”, “Quiet Night of Quiet Stars”, and “Summer of ‘42”, also by Legrand. Gene plays harmonies on one hand, while he captivates the crowd with the melodies by the other hand, so the tones, rhythms, and keys constantly shift.

“Eleanor Rigby”, by the Beatles, brought his fans back to the 60’s, as we watched “all the lonely people” through Le Madeleine’s giant windows. “My One and Only Love” was presented with soft delicacy, followed by Cole Porter’s “I Concentrate on You”, with seamless and soulful echoes. “Cavatina”, the theme from The Deer Hunter, was an unusual arrangement, while “Bésame Mucho” was performed with uncluttered emotionality. “My Funny Valentine” was next, with fragmented effects and shifts in tones, and my two requests, “Nessun Dorma”, the Puccini aria that Gene recorded, and “La Vie en Rose”, were blended into one fascinating arrangement, with a hint of “Here’s That Rainy Day”. Opera à la mode. “Night and Day” almost ended this final set, but “It Had to Be You” was the closing song. Gene added a foxtrot rhythm as a flourish.

You can catch Gene Bertoncini every Sunday and Monday night at Le Madeleine.

Le Madeleine Bistro
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Le Madeleine Bistro
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Gene Bertoncini on Guitar
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

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