CHRIS BERGSON BAND - LIVE AT JAZZ STANDARD
MOJO Magazine's #3 Blues Album of 2014
"Four Stars - Another bulletin from the New York street poet with a blues soul...the music is as tight as a hangman's knot."
MOJO, Blues Album of the Month
"This recording captures the sheer exhilaration of one of the most talented bands playing today...From blazing rock to funk to soul to Delta blues and all that's in between." Elmore Magazine
"The Chris Bergson Band sets a bold new standard for roots music..." Hittin' the Note
"Authentic but not stifled by tradition...Bergson is the classic triple threat." Jambands.com
"If it’s possible, guitar ace Chris Bergson just keeps getting better. He had some opportunities to play with and observe Hubert Sumlin before he passed two years ago, and his emulation of the legend’s minimalist style has never been more apparent than on his latest record...The CD also showcases Bergson’s vocal power, songwriting skills, and his ability to assemble a world-class band...If you don't know Bergson's music, you should." The Blues Music Magazine
"Over the past decade, Chris Bergson has become one of the most interesting blues-inspired songwriters.
He describes the streetscapes and nightscapes of city life, painting small, memorable pictures, a kind of Edward Hopper of the blues. Bergson doesn't do predictable, but there's a visible thread of blues awareness running through the fabric of everything he writes, sings and plays: he is a concise and subtle guitarist and tough, grainy singer." The Blues Magazine (UK)
“A fair number of hot shot guitarists can lay down licks with presence and panache, but that number shrinks drastically when you tally the ones who are also sharp-shooting singer/songwriters. That’s what makes Chris Bergson an unusual triple threat and this live recording shines a spotlight on the strength of his material as well as the alternately simmering and fiery feel that he and his band serve up in a club setting. New York City native Chris Bergson is a bluesman of a distinctly urban stripe. Instead of swamps and rivers, his songs – many penned in collaboration with lyricist Kate Ross – are full of citified imagery from the midtown Manhattan locale of “61st & 1st” to the Brooklyn scenes of “Gowanus Heights”. The three-man horn section accentuates the soul leanings of tunes like “The Only One” and brings out the R&B shadings in Bergson’s gritty growl. At times, the blend of Bergson’s earthy vocals and terse, biting guitar with Craig Dreyer’s organ evokes The Band. Yet whether the guitarist and his group are venturing into R&B, roots rock or straight blues, they create an invitingly organic feel on a recording that clearly captures the band in their element.”
iTunes Editors’ Review
“New Yorker Chris Bergson has a mountain of talent with his tight guitar, a smoky baritone... and reflective songwriting skills.” No Depression.com
"This fine writer, singer and guitarist is pretty hard to 'pigeon hole', with his superb music covering blues, jazz, soul and classic rock flavours - the latter maybe from playing with a legend like the late Levon Helm of The Band. Exemplary guitar and vocals... highly recommended..." Blues in the Northwest.com (UK)
"Chris Bergson is a modern-day blues baron."
Live at Jazz Standard, the highly anticipated release from the Chris Bergson Band, was recorded live over two nights at NYC's Jazz Standard in June 2013.
The fifteen song CD contains eight brand new original songs from New York guitarist/singer Chris Bergson "...one of the most inventive songwriters in modern blues music." (All Music Guide) as well as new arrangements of five older originals from the band's back catalog. The album captures all the intensity, sweat and soul of a typical club set from the Chris Bergson Band featuring organist Craig Dreyer (Dispatch), first-call NY bassist Matt Clohesy and drummer Tony Leone (Phil Lesh and Friends).
Special guests include soul singer Ellis Hooks and a three piece horn section featuring baritone saxophonist Ian Hendrickson-Smith (Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings), tenor saxophonist David Luther (Bettye LaVette) and Grammy Award-winning trumpeter Freddie Hendrix performing horn arrangements by Jay Collins (Gregg Allman).
Jazz Standard has been a musical home for the Chris Bergson Band for the past ten years and provided an ideal venue for their first live record. The album was recorded and co-produced by award-winning producer/engineer Roman Klun whose credits include albums by the Spin Doctors, Joan Osborne and the Holmes Brothers.
Bergson has had the opportunity to play with two masters of American music – drummer/singer Levon Helm of The Band and Howlin’ Wolf’s guitarist Hubert Sumlin – and their influence can be heard throughout the album, notably on Bergson’s vocal delivery on “61st & 1st” and in Bergson’s unaccompanied guitar introduction to “Heavenly Grass”. The album’s opening track “Greyhound Station” is blues-rock in the classic sense and sets the tone for record with Bergson’s driving guitar punctuated by Ian Hendrickson-Smith’s gritty baritone sax fills. “The Only One”, a duet co-written with singer Ellis Hooks is classic soul à la Otis Redding featuring a Stax-styled horn arrangement by Jay Collins. “Heavenly Grass” is a poem written by Tennessee Williams which Bergson set over a Delta blues groove and this track features some loose-limbed drumming from Tony Leone and a haunting Wurlitzer solo by Craig Dreyer. Bergson’s “High Above the Morning” is a song the band first performed at Jazz Standard nearly a decade ago when they were featured as Artists-in-Residence at the club and performed every Monday night in the Fall of 2004.
As Bergson told the rapt audience at Jazz Standard before launching into “61st &1st”, one of the album’s eight new original songs, “When we moved back into Manhattan a couple of years ago after about seven years of living in Brooklyn, I was worried we might lose some of the inspiration we used to get from all the colorful characters in our neighborhood in Gowanus… But I shouldn’t have worried.” And indeed “61st & 1st” falls right in step with Bergson and co-lyricist Kate Ross’ past observations of conniving street characters represented here by extended live versions “The Bungler” and “Gowanus Heights”, first heard on Bergson’s Fall Changes CD, recorded at Levon Helm’s Woodstock studio and named MOJO Magazine’s #1 Blues Album of 2008.
“Bluemner” is a solo slide guitar tune Bergson wrote inspired by the work of German painter Oscar Bluemner and you can also hear the influence of slide guitar master Mississippi Fred McDowell. The soul ballad “Just Before the Storm” was a three-part collaboration between Bergson, Ellis Hooks and organist Craig Dreyer and “Sometimes It’s You” and the Meters-influenced “Christmastime in Bethlehem, PA” were written by Bergson and Craig Dreyer and first demoed at Dreyer’s Mighty Toad Recording Studio in Brooklyn.
Live at Jazz Standard captures the sheer joy and soulful exuberance the Chris Bergson Band brings to the stage every time out and as has been noted – the sweat! Incidentally, Bergson’s independent label 2 Shirts Records was named by the band’s original drummer, Matt Wilson, who suggested the name after noting that Bergson sweat so much on stage that he needed to bring two shirts to every gig – one for each set.
With MOJO Magazine's #1 Blues Album of 2008, Fall Changes, #2 Blues Album of 2011, Imitate the Sun, and #3 Blues Album of 2014, Live at Jazz Standard, New York guitarist/singer Chris Bergson has established himself as "one of the most inventive songwriters in modern blues music" (All Music Guide), creating his own blend of blues, roots and soul. Chris Bergson has performed and/or shared the stage with Hubert Sumlin, Levon Helm, B.B. King, Norah Jones, John Hammond, Etta James, and Bettye LaVette, to name just a few. In February 2015, Bergson will be inducted into the New York Blues Hall of Fame.
Notable past performances include:
Moulin Blues (Holland), Groningen Rhythm and Blues Night (Holland), Blues Open (Holland), Noct en Blues (Chaumont, France), Blues in Hell (Norway), Harvest Time Blues (Ireland), Leicester Blues Festival (UK), Waterfront Blues Festival (Portland, OR), Saratoga Jazz Festival (NY), Levon Helm's Midnight Rambles (Woodstock, NY), River to River Festival (NYC), Joe’s Pub (NYC), The Blue Note (NYC), Jazz Standard (NYC), John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (DC), SXSW, and opening for B.B. King at B.B. King's Blues Club (NYC).
Born in New York City but raised in Somerville, Massachusetts, Chris Bergson returned to Manhattan in
1995. While backing jazz singers Annie Ross, Dena DeRose, Sasha Dobson and Norah Jones, he released
Blues for Some Friends of Mine and Wait for Spring on Juniper Records in 1997 and 2000,
respectively. In 2002 Bergson was appointed a Jazz Ambassador of the USA by the John F. Kennedy
Center for the Performing Arts and he toured Africa with his trio. Evolving to further embrace the blues
while also adding pop influences, he followed up with Blues (2003), Another Day (2005) and his
triumphant artistic breakthrough, the widely acclaimed Fall Changes (2007) -- MOJO’s #1 Blues Album
of 2008 -- that established him as an eloquent, evocative and lyrical songwriter with a sharp urban vision.
Recorded at Levon Helm’s Woodstock studio, it led to Bergson being personally invited to perform at the
famed drummer’s Midnight Rambles while opening the way for more stateside festivals and subsequent
tours of Europe.
"A powerful spirit with flavours of Ray Charles and Tom Waits... These guys could strip down the engine of a soulbluesmobile and put it back together blindfold." MOJO
"Bergson's stirring voice and glorious guitar command immediate attention." Blues Revue
"Chris Bergson plays the kind of guitar you can build a house on - it's B.B. meets Steve Cropper meets John Scofield." ROLL Magazine
"Upon first hearing guitar man Chris Bergson and his gravely southern drawl, which is a combination of Levon Helm and Gregg Allman, you can hardly believe this guy is from New York City. Imitate the Sun displays an artist dedicated to bringing blues and classic R&B into the future while honoring the past." No Depression.com
Management and Publicity: Maria Infantine at Innsbruck Records, email@example.com