Album Review: John Berenzy | Genius of the Spirit | Music | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine

John Berenzy | Genius of the Spirit

(Woodstock Records)

In a distinguished career dating back to the mid-1970s, Rosendale-based multi-instrumentalist/songwriter/poet John Berenzy has kept some fine company. He’s collaborated with an eclectic array of notables, from Garth Hudson to Ron Carter to Johnny Thunders. As a solo artist, Berenzy’s music has a restless quality, melding poetically imbued lyrics, improvisation, and a rock ’n’ roll energy. His sixth solo album, recorded at LRS Studios in Hurley, is an engaging mixture of ethereal instrumentals, earthy blues, and jazz-inflected pop.

On “Drivetrane” Berenzy’s skittering funk guitar weaves around the smooth tones of soprano saxophonist Sam Morrison (ex-Miles Davis). On the opening instrumental title track, Berenzy employs reverb and delay to fine effect, evoking the plangent sounds of West African blues. “In the Soft Twilight” features some lovely fingerpicked acoustic guitar, meditative lyrics, and a tasteful arrangement.

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