Gene Bertoncini

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Gene Bertoncini
Born (1937-04-06) April 6, 1937 (age 81)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Guitar
Years active 1960s–present
Labels MPS, Stash, Chiaroscuro, Concord, Motéma
Associated acts Michael Moore

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. Gene Bertoncini 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 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, Vic Damone, and Eydie Gorme among others.

Bertoncini had a long-running duo with bassist Michael Moore. He was part of the staff orchestras on shows featuring Merv Griffin, Jack Paar and 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 St. 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. Gene 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.


Review of Acoustic Romance and The Good Stuff: A Tribute to Charlie Byrd:
"While electric instruments dominate the jazz guitar world, a minority of players choose to use the acoustic nylon-string, not only for its sonic properties but also because it more agreeably supports fingerstyle technique, which opens up a whole spectrum of musical possibilities not otherwise obtainable. One of the finest players among this discerning breed is Gene Bertoncini, whose command of harmony and texture can transform even the most mundane tune into an intriguing, multidimensional masterpiece, something he does with certainty on both Acoustic Romance and The Good Stuff, varying projects that showcase the scope of his considerable abilities." (Jim Ferguson, JazzTimes)[5]

Review of Body and Soul:
"Gene Bertoncini--who plays the nylon-string acoustic guitar with his fingers, a situation ideally suited for solo work--creates sounds that are refined, elegant, and complex. His playing works a tune from the inside, fully exploring its harmonic, melodic, and textural implications much like a classical composer develops an idea on paper." (Jim Ferguson, JazzTimes)[6]

Review of Just the Two of Us:
"This album, recorded live in 1998, pairs not only two masters of the guitar, but also two distinctly different instruments and approaches. Bertoncini employs a nylon-string with fingerstyle technique akin to that of a classical player, while Wilkins uses a traditional archtop electric and essentially is a pick specialist. The net outcome is intricate, spontaneous music that is frequently brilliant in both conception and execution." (Jim Ferguson, JazzTimes)[7]


As leader[edit]

  • 1969 Evolution
  • 1977 Bridges with Michael Moore (MPS)
  • 1984 Close Ties with Michael Moore (Omnisound)
  • 1986 O Grande Amor with Michael Moore (Stash)
  • 1987 Strollin' with Michael Moore (Stash)
  • 1989 Two in Time with Michael Moore (Chiaroscuro)
  • 1997 Jobim Someone to Light Up My Life (Chiaroscuro)
  • 1999 Gene Bertoncini with Bill Charlap and Sean Smith (Chiaroscuro)
  • 1999 Body and Soul (Orchard)
  • 2000 Just the Two of Us with Jack Wilkins (Chiaroscuro)
  • 2002 Meeting of the Grooves with Frank Vignola (Azica)
  • 2003 The Good Stuff A Tribute to Charlie Byrd (Noteworthy)
  • 2003 Acoustic Romance with Akira Tana and Rufus Reid (Sons of Sound)
  • 2005 Quiet Now (Ambient)
  • 2008 Smile: Jazz Therapy Vol. 1 with Roni Ben-Hur (Motéma)
  • 2008 Concerti (Ambient)[8]
  • 2013 Reunion with Mike Mainieri, Michael Moore, Joe Corsello (Ambient)
  • 2014 Joy with Clay Jenkins, Ike Sturm (Ambien)

As sideman or guest[edit]

With Luiz Bonfá

  • 1970 The New Face of Bonfá
  • 1989 Non-Stop to Brazil
  • 1992 The Bonfá Magic

With Paul Desmond

With Astrud Gilberto

With Diane Hubka

  • 1998 Haven't We Met? (Challenge)
  • 2002 You Inspire Me

With Tom Knific

  • 1998 Home Base Duos and Trios
  • 2004 Siena

With Hubert Laws

With Herbie Mann

With Susannah McCorkle

  • 1985 How Do You Keep the Music Playing?
  • 1986 Dream

With Chuck Redd

  • 2002 All This and Heaven Too
  • 2006 Chuck Redd Remembers Barney Kessel

With Lonnie Liston Smith

  • 1976 Renaissance
  • 1991 Watercolors

With Sylvia Syms

  • 1967 For Once in My Life (Prestige)
  • 1978 She Loves to Hear the Music
  • 1984 A Jazz Portrait of Johnny Mercer

With others


  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. 
  5. ^ JazzTimes review of Acoustic Romance and The Good Stuff by Jim Ferguson (retrieved 3 October 2011)
  6. ^ JazzTimes review of Body and Soul by Jim Ferguson (retrieved 3 October 2011)
  7. ^ JazzTimes review of Just the Two of Us by Jim Ferguson (retrieved 3 October 2011)
  8. ^ "Gene Bertoncini | Album Discography | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 4 March 2018. 
  9. ^ "Gene Bertoncini | Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 4 November 2017. 

External links[edit]