“Shelly Berger” CD Reviews

The back cover of Shelly Berger’s latest CD, “Look Up” shows his name modestly at the bottom of a list of thirteen colleagues that he employed on this, his first recording as a leader in over ten years. Berger keeps his hands full with bass, composition and production duties, and is assisted by an impressive list of veteran musicians including Hugh Marsh on violin, Ernie Tollar and Mike Murley on saxophones, and Ted Warren on drums. “Look Up” is many things, but one thing it’s not is clichéd. It’s without II-V-I progressions, walking bass lines, driving ride-cymbal patterns, or predictable arrangements. Shelly Berger’s compositions are lucid and complex with sophistication and originality that preclude any simple moniker or generic label.From the 9/8 intro of the first track, Mosque Morocco, to the pseudo-funk of Moses, to the dissonance of Diabetes, to the haunting Guardian Angel, Shelly Berger proves to be a composer of tremendous versatility and integrity. Melodic themes are repeated and developed, but not to the point where they resonate hours after the CD is finished. The strong, yet subtle global influence is accentuated by the percussion and occasional vocals of Waleed Abdulhamid, especially on A Prayer For Africa, the disc’s eighth track.Careful listening is definitely required throughout, and maybe a few follow-up sessions for good measure.

Eli Eisenberg

WholeNote Magazine

Berger is a solid bassist with a serious knack for arranging and composing beautiful and thoughtful pieces of music. All these talents get a strong workout on this 11-tune session of original music (he wrote all but one) on which Berger’s supported by 13 sidemen at various points. The mood rang from complex contemporary jazz explorations, often cast in unusual time signatures, to global sounds, like the opening “Mosque Morocco.” The playing’s precise and stimulating, with saxophonist Mike Murley, guitarist Geoff Young and especially violinist Hugh Marsh prominent. Berger is big on textures and percussive pulse, often folding in European, Latin and African mot and the colourful sonic layers are rich even when the music gets somewhat heated (“Tofino,” th 7/4 time “Letting Go”). He conjures melancholy dissonance for “Diabetes,” has fun with “Ha Gre Yeah,” creates a memorable work in “Guardian Angel” and closes effectively with the impressionistic “At The End Of The Day.” (The record will be officially released Wednesday at Hugh’s Room.)

Geoff Chapman

The Toronto Star

Not a CD that you can find in a dozen. The music on it you have conquer it. Because it is not easy music. In each song there are unexpected moments. So you must pay attention all the time when you listen. In fact the songs are not so playable for radio, because you have to play them more then once to know the songs better. But it is possible, that when you play a song, somebody thinks ” I want to hear more from this album”. That’s way I play something. In each number you can hear surprising moments of the bass from Shelly Berger. It is an album, that you will be satisfied, when you know the songs better. I play “Letting go” in my program.

Jan Nederveen

Radio Heerde

Absolutely superb.

Artsound 92.7 FM

Bonjour, thanks for your so great music I really enjoyed. I added it to my WJAZ broadcast play list on RADIO PLURIEL 91.5FM in France, plus worldwide INTERNET

Perrichon Jacques

RADIO PLURIEL 91.5

What a pleasant surprise to discover this musician and his very interesting album. Compositions are nicely canvassed to form an homogeneous ensemble, the style is modern but never falls into some boring contemporary music. This is jazz after all… One tune will be featured in the month of October in one of my broadcasts.

Pascal Dorban

Radio ARA , Luxembourg

Fantastic album Great stuff for our Radio Station.

Alex Pijnen

BRTO Radio

What a great sound you have, I have played several of your tracks to date and plan to schedule more in future programs. Keep up the good work and please keep me up to date with your progress.
Regards, Michael Criddle – OzRadio

Michael Criddle

Triple H-FM

Hi Shelly, Your Cd ‘Look Up‘ would have to go down as my personal favourite for this years radio directx albums that i have chosen, several tracks from the Cd have been played on air on my program ‘Colours of jazz’ and have done the show proud, thanks for the great music. The one thing that I look for in the music i chose for the program is atmosphere, and there is plenty of it on this Cd, each track has been carefully and skilfully played using many different instruments for colours and texture, I look forward to much more in the future, keep the music coming, and my listeners have certainly enjoyed this one.

Larry Groves

3MBSFM 103.5

Toronto born bass player Shelly Berger has been working the Los Angeles jazz circuit for a number of years now, including stints with the likes of Diana Krall, Kenny Burrell and Anita O’Day, amongst many others, but this CD sees him stepping out again as a composer and band leader is some style after a decade long break.

Largely jazz fusion based, this offering also sees him bringing in a few world music influences as well as a healthy helping of synthesiser flourishes to fine effect on a mainly self composed set. There are a few familiar faces helping out including the always exemplary saxophone work of Mike Murley. Highlights are a-plenty but standing out in particular are the refined and reflective ‘Guardian Angel’ and the vocal enhanced ‘A Prayer For Africa’.

He has a way with some unusual time signatures and coaxes some excellent performances from the sympathetic collaborators, especially the outstanding violin contributions of Hugh Marsh on an always interesting, sometimes sparkling set.

Mr.H

Zeigest

There is great music on this CD: diverse styles reflected in the track titles within a comfortable matrix sound which defines the quality in the compositions and the arrangements.

Tony Wickham

Radio Maldwyn UK.

…thanks for the great album and lots respect for your work.

Robert Lochmann

Radio X (Frankfurt), DJ Jazzmadass

“Shelly Berger” CD Reviews

The back cover of Shelly Berger’s latest CD, “Look Up” shows his name modestly at the bottom of a list of thirteen colleagues that he employed on this, his first recording as a leader in over ten years. Berger keeps his hands full with bass, composition and production duties, and is assisted by an impressive list of veteran musicians including Hugh Marsh on violin, Ernie Tollar and Mike Murley on saxophones, and Ted Warren on drums. “Look Up” is many things, but one thing it’s not is clichéd. It’s without II-V-I progressions, walking bass lines, driving ride-cymbal patterns, or predictable arrangements. Shelly Berger’s compositions are lucid and complex with sophistication and originality that preclude any simple moniker or generic label.From the 9/8 intro of the first track, Mosque Morocco, to the pseudo-funk of Moses, to the dissonance of Diabetes, to the haunting Guardian Angel, Shelly Berger proves to be a composer of tremendous versatility and integrity. Melodic themes are repeated and developed, but not to the point where they resonate hours after the CD is finished. The strong, yet subtle global influence is accentuated by the percussion and occasional vocals of Waleed Abdulhamid, especially on A Prayer For Africa, the disc’s eighth track.Careful listening is definitely required throughout, and maybe a few follow-up sessions for good measure.

Eli Eisenberg

WholeNote Magazine

The back cover of Shelly Berger’s latest CD, “Look Up” shows his name modestly at the bottom of a list of thirteen colleagues that he employed on this, his first recording as a leader in over ten years. Berger keeps his hands full with bass, composition and production duties, and is assisted by an impressive list of veteran musicians including Hugh Marsh on violin, Ernie Tollar and Mike Murley on saxophones, and Ted Warren on drums. “Look Up” is many things, but one thing it’s not is clichéd. It’s without II-V-I progressions, walking bass lines, driving ride-cymbal patterns, or predictable arrangements. Shelly Berger’s compositions are lucid and complex with sophistication and originality that preclude any simple moniker or generic label.From the 9/8 intro of the first track, Mosque Morocco, to the pseudo-funk of Moses, to the dissonance of Diabetes, to the haunting Guardian Angel, Shelly Berger proves to be a composer of tremendous versatility and integrity. Melodic themes are repeated and developed, but not to the point where they resonate hours after the CD is finished. The strong, yet subtle global influence is accentuated by the percussion and occasional vocals of Waleed Abdulhamid, especially on A Prayer For Africa, the disc’s eighth track.Careful listening is definitely required throughout, and maybe a few follow-up sessions for good measure.

Geoff Chapman

The Toronto Star

Not a CD that you can find in a dozen. The music on it you have conquer it. Because it is not easy music. In each song there are unexpected moments. So you must pay attention all the time when you listen. In fact the songs are not so playable for radio, because you have to play them more then once to know the songs better. But it is possible, that when you play a song, somebody thinks ” I want to hear more from this album”. That’s way I play something. In each number you can hear surprising moments of the bass from Shelly Berger. It is an album, that you will be satisfied, when you know the songs better. I play “Letting go” in my program.

Jan Nederveen

Radio Heerde

Absolutely superb.

Artsound 92.7 FM

Bonjour, thanks for your so great music I really enjoyed. I added it to my WJAZ broadcast play list on RADIO PLURIEL 91.5FM in France, plus worldwide INTERNET

Perrichon Jacques

RADIO PLURIEL 91.5