Album Reviews

Gonzalo Bergara

Zalo’s Blues

Artist:     Gonzalo Bergara

Album:     Zalo’s Blues

Label:     Self Released

Release Date:     08/05/2016


Charlie Baty, formerly of Little Charlie & The Nightcats, has dubbed Bergara as “one of the most talented guitarists in the universe.” Junior Watson echoes similar sentiments. So just who is Gonzalo Bergara? He is one of the most respected Gypsy jazz guitarists in the world, making his first electric record while demonstrating his affection for all kinds of blues music. Bergara is based in Buenos Aires, Argentina with his trio that plays over 100 shows around the world and even more in their home town. Before he embarked on Gypsy jazz, Bergara spent time in the U.S. due to his love for the blues. Baty met him while playing at Cozy’s on Ventura Blvd. in Studio City, CA. He explains directly in the liners, “Gonzalo came up and presented me a demo CD with a tune on it that was based on my song “Percolatin’.” I don’t routinely listen to every CD that is given to me, but I was curious about this one, and I was absolutely floored by it. I realized that he had not only captured my sound in his solo but had actually written a more interesting theme, and executed the solo better. I suggested that Gonzalo call the song “Woosh!” because it went by so quickly (like a car racing past you on the freeway).” That song and many others are featured on this record, the first blues record and first record to feature Gonzalo’s vocals.

All tunes were written by Gonzalo except Jimmy Reed’s “You Don’t Have to Go.” From the Texas shuffles of “No More” and “Levi” to the swinging opener “Drawback” to the Hendrix-inspired “Singing My Song,” Gonzalo’s guitar rings true with amazing fretwork and the creation of otherworldly sounds. He seems equally comfortable picking at a furious tempo as he does bending notes and going for a certain amount of feedback. Then he changes it up completely with the ballad “Ines” that eventually builds to an electric crescendo before he brings it back down. And, surprisingly, he ends with the acoustic “Won’t Stay With You.” Check out Gonzalo and hear why guitar publications are raving about him.

-Jim Hynes

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