A love affair with beautiful melody and arrangement, Acoustic Romance is an understated but deeply rich performance by three masters of jazz improvisation.
01 Edelweiss (2:53)
02 The Shadow of Your Smile (6:35)
03 Girl Talk (6:29)
04 Two For The Road (5:52)
05 Gone With The Wind (4:47)
06 'Round Midnight (4:59)
07 Theme from The Summer of '42 (9:17)
08 Stella By Starlight (4:57)
09 Emily (5:08)
10 Invitation (5:20)
11 Cavatina (6:33)
[3 and one-half stars] "If you've followed jazz long enough, by now you've discovered musicians who don't record for Blue Note, Verve or other major labels and whose names don't show up in critics' or listeners' polls, but who simply knock you out and make you want to hear them over and over again. I hope for some of you that's happened with a guitarist named Gene Bertoncini, whose playing (on classical and nylon string here) is sublime and swinging, so much so that it wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that his melodicism, harmonic sophistication, delicate touch, gorgeous sound and overall taste and sensitivity remind you of his great fellow guitarist Jim Hall."
— Pittsburgh Post-Gazette , February 2004
"Acoustic Romance… finds Bertoncini rendering elegant lines with an architectural sensitivity… Bertoncini respectfully adds his own facades to venerable older structures. The guitarist's improvisations are at once breezy and profound, and each one follows a very satisfying trajectory."
— Guitar One , January 2004
"…a trio date with the crack rhythm team of bassist Rufus Reid and drummer Akira Tana… Bertoncini is delightfully delicate throughout, both due to his measured delivery and the attraction of this instrument's timbre… As this is a leisurely paced date, good natured Swing carries the day… This is Bertoncini's show and that's fine with Tana and Reid, who make a sympathetic team. They coax and assist Bertoncini on almost every track, stirred by Reid's confident basslines and Tana's supple thrythmic flow. Tana, in particular, consistently displays his skilled brushwork. There are several worthy Latinized moments, particularly on the midtempo pulse of "Invitation." A record like this is about subtlety, where the joys are found in the mood and solid technical abilities of the musicians."
— Cadence, January 2004
"Veteran guitar master Bertoncini is at full powers in this wonderful trio set. Joined by Akira Tana on drums, and Rufus Reid on bass, this is a tasty set… Gene really shows off his chops… The beautiful thing about his playing is it's very melodic, but still full of ideas. Bertoncini's instrument of choice is the nylon-string guitar which also helps set him apart a bit. The sound is soft where it needs to be, but when he swings, it lets him really fly… It's a definite mood setter in that it's very quiet. But, it's never boring. Each tune, most which you'll be familiar with, takes interesting turns."
— Vintage Guitar , April 2004
"One of the finest players among this discerning breed [of acoustic nylon-string guitarists] 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 Acoustic Romance …. Lurking behind Acoustic Romance's schmaltzy title and 60s-era graphics are some serious solo guitar and trio performances (with bassist Rufus Reid and drummer Akira Tana), recorded in 1992. In the former category, "Edelweiss" and "'Round Midnight" undergo a series of brilliant variations that encompass details like varied textures and sublime reharmonization… Beautiful work from one of the guitar's greatest under-hailed players."
— JazzTimes, February 2004
"Guitarist extraordinare Gene Bertoncini wows, soothes and swings his way through eleven gorgeous jazz classics on Acoustic Romance, strumming, picking, running up and down the neck of his nylon-string acoustic guitar with the intricate multi-layered stylings true to his architectural training… While it can be said that the world doesn’t need another guitar trio record, this one is an exception for many reasons: from the elaborate reharmonizing of “Edelweiss” to the snappy “Invitation,” Bertoncini, along with the masterful bassist Rufus Reid and the equally inventive drummer Akira Tana, succeeds in making all of these standards sound like his own… a truly lovely hour-long journey."
— All About Jazz, November 2003
"Few jazz musicians have devoted themselves to acoustic guitar, but Gene Bertoncini is a happy exception… His lyricism is especially evident in his solo interpretations… The intimate sound throughout this studio session also helps to make it an essential purchase for fans of jazz guitar."
— Chattanooga Times Free Press, September 2003
"Gene Bertoncini is a master of the acoustic guitar, and his use of jazz motifs blended with innovative contemporary jazz makes him one of the finest guitarists to perform the American Songbook. Accompanied by gifted performers Akira Tana on drums and Rufus Reid on bass, Gene Bertoncini brings to the jazz listening audience a fine collection of songs… Jazz fans will find favor with this collection for many different reasons. The performances are crisp, enjoyable, and entertaining. This is jazz acoustic guitar at its best. "Edelweiss" is an example of Bertoncini at his finest."
— Jazz Review, September 2003
"Some album titles are either wildly inappropriate or pointless, leaving the listener to wonder, "What, in God's name, does that title have to do with this music?" Others, however, hit the nail on the head; Acoustic Romance is a perfect title for this CD because Gene Bertoncini sticks to the acoustic guitar (although he is equally appealing on the electric version) and does, in fact, favor a romantic approach throughout the album… Bertoncini is such a warm and expressive soloist. All things considered, Acoustic Romance is an enjoyable, if predictable, addition to his catalog."
— Barnes and Noble, September 2003