Gene Bertoncini

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Gene Bertoncini
Born (1937-04-06) April 6, 1937 (age 85)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Years active1960s–present
LabelsMPS, Stash, Chiaroscuro, Concord, Motéma

Gene J. Bertoncini (born 6 April 1937) is an American jazz guitarist.


Bertoncini was born in New York City,[1] where he was raised in a musical family. His father, Mario Bertoncini (1901–1978), played guitar and harmonica. His brother Renny (1934-2023), was a gifted accordion and keyboard player. Gene began playing guitar at age seven and by age sixteen was appearing on television. He graduated from high school and attended the University of Notre Dame, where, in 1959, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Architectural Engineering.[1][2][3]

Early in life, Bertoncini had lessons with Bob Scilingo and Johnny Smith. After college Bertoncini moved to Chicago where he became immersed in the jazz scene, working with Carmen McRae. He returned to New York and played with vibraphonist Mike Mainieri and then played in one of Buddy Rich's ensembles. Bertoncini's career has included playing with Benny Goodman, Wayne Shorter, Hubert Laws, Paul Desmond, Tony Bennett, Lena Horne, Nancy Wilson, Chet Baker, Vic Damone, Ethel Ennis, and Eydie Gorme.

Bertoncini had a long-running duo with bassist Michael Moore. He was part of the staff orchestras on shows featuring Merv Griffin and Jack Paar, and most famously The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. After hearing a Julian Bream record at the advice of Chuck Wayne, Bertoncini began studying classical guitar and brought the instrument into playing jazz.[4] For some eighteen years, Bertoncini played Sunday and Monday evenings at the Bistro La Madeleine on West 43rd Street in New York City.

Bertoncini has been on the faculties of Eastman School of Music, the New England Conservatory, New York University and the Banff School of Fine Arts in Alberta, Canada. Currently Bertoncini is on the faculty of William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey. He is also on the staff of the Tritone Jazz Fantasy Camps.


As leader[edit]

  • Evolution (Evolution, 1969)
  • Bridges with Michael Moore (GJB Music, 1977)
  • The Guitar Session with Jay Berliner, Toots Thielemans, Richard Resnicoff (Philips, 1977)
  • Crystal & Velvet with Bobbi Rogers (Focus, 1981)
  • O Grande Amor with Michael Moore (Stash, 1986)
  • Close Ties with Michael Moore (Musical Heritage Society, 1987)
  • Strollin' with Michael Moore (Stash, 1987)
  • Two in Time with Michael Moore (Chiaroscuro, 1989)
  • Jiggs & Gene with Jiggs Whigham (Azica, 1996)
  • Someone to Light Up My Life (Chiaroscuro, 1996)
  • Interplay with Fred Haas (JazzToons, 1997)
  • East Meets Midwest with Kenny Poole (J-Curve, 1998)
  • Gene Bertoncini with Bill Charlap and Sean Smith (Chiaroscuro, 1999)
  • Just the Two of Us with Jack Wilkins (Chiaroscuro, 2000)
  • Autumn Leaves at Astley's with Frank Vignola (True Track, 2001)
  • Meeting of the Grooves with Frank Vignola (Azica, 2002)
  • Acoustic Romance with Akira Tana and Rufus Reid (Sons of Sound, 2003)
  • Just Above a Whisper (Stellar Sound, 2005)
  • Concerti (Ambient, 2008)
  • Smile with Roni Ben-Hur (Motéma, 2008)
  • 2+2=1 (Blueport, 2009)

As sideman[edit]


  1. ^ a b Gene Bertoncini at AllMusic
  2. ^ Official website
  3. ^ Summerfield, Maurice. 1998. The Jazz Guitar: Its Evolution, Players and Personalities Since 1900. United Kingdom: Ashley Mark Publishing
  4. ^ Schlesinger, Dr. Judith. "The Architect of the Guitar (interview)". All About Jazz. Retrieved 2011-09-28. I started practicing classical guitar just about the time when the bossa nova hit. Joao was borrowing my guitar, I was playing the classical repertoire, and all these things kind of came together. I was doing studio work at the time, and I got a call to play on a big album by Ahmad Jamal; they wanted somebody to play a bossa nova kind of thing.

External links[edit]