Guitarist Gonzalo Bergara and his band come to Southern Oregon Tuesday, Sept. 22, when the nonprofit Siskiyou Institute presents them at Paschal Winery in Talent as part of its New Artist Series.
Guitarist Gonzalo Bergara and his band come to Southern Oregon Tuesday, Sept. 22, when the nonprofit Siskiyou Institute presents them at Paschal Winery in Talent as part of its New Artist Series. Bergara's group will take part in an Artists In the Schools program and conduct a workshop at a area school.
Bergaro says the show will include originals from the band's new CD, "Porteña Soledad," and covers of such standards as "The Man I Love," "Some of These Days," "Take the A Train," and "Embraceable You."
The Gonzalo Bergara Quartet is Bergara on acoustic guitar, Jeffrey Radaich on rhythm guitar, Rob Hardt on clarinet and tenor saxophone, and Brian Netzley on upright bass. The group plays a modern variant of 1930's Django Reinhardt-inspired Gypsy jazz. Composer and lead guitarist Bergara mixes cascades of arpeggios with the sounds of Paris and his native Argentina.
Now 29, the guitarist was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. When he was 11, he got a tape of the great Argentinian swing guitarist Oscar Aleman, who was known as the Django Reinhardt of South America, and a guitar.
"My uncle said, 'This is what you need to play,'" he says.
He began playing professionally at age 16, and at 17 was fronting his own blues trio on national television.
"I've always been into swing a bit, acoustic stuff," he says.
He came to the United States in 2000.
He got turned on to Reinhardt and Gypsy jazz about the time of Woody Allen's "Sweet and Lowdown," which starred Sean Penn as the world's second-best guitarist.
"I fell in love with swing," he says. "The first time I heard Django was the movie. It opens with 'When Day is Done.'"
These days he has 40 Django CDs, representing what he believes is the great guitarists's entire recorded output.
Bergara lists as other influences classical music, especially Chopin, the Argentinian tango composer Astar Piazzolla, jazz pianist Oscar Peterson and American blues. He also has a Beatles side project called The Eggmen.
The quartet's new album was an Editor's Pick in Guitar Player magazine, and Vintage Guitar magazine called it "a masterpiece." The quartet was named the best jazz group in Los Angeles by Los Angeles magazine and was an editor's pick in Guitar Player Magazine.
They've toured and worked with artists from John Jorgenson, Strunz and Farah and Manhattan Transfer to Moby and Barry Manilow.
For a taste of Bergara's playing, check out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJTKQw2XxDI.