The Deep (Chesky Records)

Shelly Berg & David Finck

Released July 2017

DownBeat Best Albums 2017




The duo album has tremendous lineage throughout Jazz history and on Chesky Records. The Deep adds another timeless pairing with Shelly Berg and David Finck complimenting each other on 14 stunning new cuts, many of which were improvised on the spot. We are hearing them react to each other and create in real time with no discussion other than with their instruments, showcasing a lifetime of masterfully honed skill and experience. That this improvised material works so well with the standards they chose is further testament to the musicianship of Berg and Finck. Part of the Chesky Binaural + Series, all recorded with a single microphone, the band appears right before you with this spacious, lush and multi-dimensional recording. Now headphone users will hear the same three-dimensional sound and imaging as audiophiles have for the past 25 years with Chesky Recordings. Also these new Binaural+ Series albums capture even more spatial realism for the home audiophile market, bringing you one step closer to the actual event. You will hear some of the most natural and pure music ever recorded.

Track Listing:

1. Fellini’s Waltz (Enrico Pieranunzi) 5:39

2. Solar (Miles Davis / Jacqueline Johnson) 2:31

3. For Gunther (Shelly Berg / David Finck) 6:36

4. Dindi (Antônio Carlos Jobim / Aloysio De Olivera) 7:59

5. For John Lewis (Shelly Berg / David Finck) 2:25

6. Peri’s Scope (Bill Evans) 4:52

7. Why Did I Choose You? (Michael Leonard / Herbert Martin) 5:10

8. Glacier Lake (Shelly Berg / David Finck) 3:42

9. 3rd World (Shelly Berg / David Finck) 3:41

10. Whistling Away the Dark (Henry Mancini / Johnny Mercer) 6:03

11. Lunar (Shelly Berg / David Finck) 2:31

12. If You Never Came to Me (Ray Gilbert / Antônio Carlos Jobim / Aloysio De Olivera) 5:51

13. The Deep (Shelly Berg / David Finck) 4:19

14. Just You Just Me (Jesse Greer / Raymond Klages) 5:13


Shelly Berg: piano

David Finck: bass

Recorded December 19, 2015

Produced by: David Chesky 
Executive Producer: Norman Chesky 
Recorded, Edited, and Mastered by: Nicholas Prout 
Second Engineer: Mor Mezrich 
Assistant Engineer: Max Steen 
General Assistant: Francesca Cecala 
A&R: Jeff Lanier


Back in 1999, pianist Shelly Berg made a lasting impression with his album The Will: A Tribute To Oscar Peterson. On it, he approached Peterson’s virtuosity and sense of swing on his own terms, performing a series of stunning solos. The album’s release added momentum to Berg’s significant careers as a pianist, educator and accompanist-arranger for singers. From much more recent times, The Deep is quite a bit different from The Will. Teamed with bassist David Finck (whose musical closeness to Berg often makes it seem as if he is the pianist’s third hand), the program falls into different, if often overlapping, categories. There’s a gently swinging version of “Dindi,” the original “For John Lewis” (which does not sound at all like Lewis), Bill Evans’ “Peri’s Scope,” a brief “Solar,” the swing era standard “Just You, Just Me” (which is taken slower than usual) and Berg’s complex cooker “Lunar.” The duo also engages in beautiful ballad interpretations of “Why Did I Choose You,” Henry Mancini’s obscure “Whistling Away The Dark” and “If You Never Came To Me,” three songs on which Berg embraces the melody and keeps it close by. It is actually the other five performances that are of greatest interest. Berg and Finck create atmospheric, picturesque and generally unpredictable music on four of the pianist’s originals and Enrico Pieranunzi’s mysterious-sounding “Fellini’s Waltz.” And while this generally restrained and thoughtful set would have benefitted from the inclusion of an uptempo romp or two, the interplay between Berg and Finck is exquisite.

Scott Yanow (DownBeat)