Sangeeta Michael Berardi

Music Is Love



Sangeeta Michael Berardi - Music is Love: The Manhattan Sessions (Sunjump 0017; USA)

Featuring Sangeeta Michael Berardi & Joe Diorio on guitars, Eddie Gomez on acoustic bass, Geoffrey Gordon on table & percussion, Rashied Ali on drums and Vea Williams on vocals.


Since hooking back up with this, the Sunjump label, which is run by pianist John Esposito, we have been able to catch up and carry all of their nearly 20 discs. Sangeeta Michael Berardi is one of those largely under-recognized yet legendary jazz guitarists who seems to be known to just a handful of guitar aficionados from around the world.


This was the second album that Mr. Berardi recorded for the Beat City label and it was first released in 1980. Sangeeta uses the same rhythm team members, Eddie Gomez & Rashied Ali, that he used for his first album, ‘Divine Song’, which was recorded the previous year in 1979. For his second album, Mr. Berardi adds another legendary jazz guitarist, Joe Diorio, as well as two percussionists and a singer called Vea Williams. It turns out that Joe Diorio and Sangeeta met in Chicago in 1963 at a jam session and remained friends.


Mr. Beraradi wrote five of the seven songs here with a couple of select covers by Thelonious Monk and Sonny Rollins. Beginning with “Wholly Tonal Blues”, both guitarists sound marvelous together. They both have that sly, slinky sounding jazz guitar tone and it is often hard to tell them apart. Both guitarists get a chance to play their complex lines together, circling around one another in tight connected orbits.


One of the interesting things about this album is this: legendary drummer, Rashied Ali, who is recognized as one of the greatest of all free/jazz drummers, being John Coltrane’s last drummer, is too often burdened by some listeners/journalists expectations of his playing to be mostly free. Mr. Ali is obviously a master jazz drummer who can & did play in many different styles. Mr. Ali and bassist Eddie Gomez, who was one of Bill Evans’ choice players, sound great throughout, playing in an elastic, swinging freely sort of way. Both guitarists take superb, inspired solos on Monk’s “Well, You Needn’t” as well as Mr. Ali.


What makes this disc all the more amazing is the way that both guitarists sound together playing their ultra-complex lines tightly around one another and often astonishing speeds. Holy sh*t!! This just might be the best jazz guitar(s) record I’ve heard in years, an extension of what John McLaughlin started with ‘Extrapolation’ in 1968! Jazz guitar

fan-addicts, do not ignore this treasure!

- Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery