Gene Bertoncini Trio

Thursday, December 7, at Nighttown.

Music critics tend to diss the cool jazz, but just because cats like Dave Brubeck and Stan Getz never breathed fire doesn't mean they lacked vigor and emotional commitment.

Take guitarist Gene Bertoncini, for example; a master inventor, Bertoncini's refined approach to acoustic and electric axes swings elegantly and exhilarates even at the lowest of volumes. He's made the scene with more names than you've had hot meals, including hard bop and fusion icon Wayne Shorter; legendary trumpeter, singer, and dope fiend Chet Baker; as well as divas Bette Midler and Astrud "The Girl From Ipanema" Gilberto. Now, the economic realities of Team America prohibit most jazz musicians from extensive touring of the Midwest, making Gene B's Cleveland appearance all the more momentous.