Bergantino Audio Systems founder and audio design pioneer Jim Bergantino looks back at his groundbreaking B|Amp – and forward towards his company’s new Forte HP head and HG cab range.
Hailing from Down Under and holding the low down on bass, Alex Lee started using Bergantino gear in 2017 and has never looked back. In fact, he was the FIRST person in Australia to own the forté bass amp! Here’s Alex’s story and why he chose Bergantino.
HB: Alex, why did you choose Bergantino gear?
AL: Tremendous headroom, utmost clarity, simple yet powerful controls and aesthetically pleasing at the same time. The only brand in the world that can do it all while allowing my bass to sound exactly as it should sound. The quintessential amplification system for bass.
My first encounter with the bass was back in 2004 when I was asked to play for my church youth group band. While I always enjoyed playing the bass, it wasn’t until 2013 when I truly fell in love with the bass and decided to take my playing to the next level. My musical journey started then, and I was blessed to have met some amazing mentors along the way. I would like to acknowledge my notable mentors in music: Songkyu Kim (bassist), Daniel Sing (bassist) and William Jeoung (saxophonist). They have been hugely influential in how I play my music today, and I could not have reached where I am without them. My favorite artists include Abraham Laboriel, Alex Al, Justin Raines, Sharay Reed, Pino Palladino and Nathan East, to list just a few.
Below are the list of current bands and projects I’m involved in:
- Rio10 Trio: A Latin jazz band borrowing and mixing ideas from our favorite genres such as Bossa Nova, Swing Jazz and RnB. Currently working on our own arrangements of popular jazz standards but also working on originals which we hope to release as a single next year.
- Grain of Soul: A blues/funk driven cover band gigging in various venues around Sydney. Influenced by the likes of Eric Clapton, John Mayer, Santana, B.B. King etc.
- AKTC (Australian Korean Theatre Company): An organization annually performing popular Broadway musicals for Korean audiences in Australia. The pieces I have played on include: “Guys and Dolls”, “Godspell”, “Grease” and “The Sound of Music”
Finally, I would like to add that playing bass for God has always been my main purpose and I am still heavily involved in my church band at Sydney Full Gospel Church, serving as the band master and bassist. I am also actively involved in many other Christian events and conferences throughout Australia.
Besides playing the bass, I enjoy collecting boutique basses and am currently managing an online bass store. I also enjoy looking after my marine aquarium with my wife, Lauren, in our spare time.
Bass Store: https://www.facebook.com/bassboutiquesydney/
Chicago’s Kenery Kent Smith is full of exorbitant passion, not only with playing bass but with his gift of writing. Kenery wears his heart on his sleeve and we are honored to share his story with you.
Growing up in a city that has seemingly produced more successful low-end groove makers per capita than any city in the world, Kenery Kent Smith has worked hard to become one of Chicago’s best. A 25-year music industry veteran, Kenery is part of a rich tradition of world class Chicago bassists. His performance resume showcases the Chi-Town musical trademarks of talent, hustle and a versatility to work in any musical genre.
As a childhood resident of the infamous Robert Taylor Housing Projects, a young and impressionable Kenery was destined to play bass guitar; growing up he would hear nothing but the bass lines to the music coming through the walls of his parent’s apartment, as the neighbors would tend to play their R&B, Gospel, Jazz and Soul loudly (i.e. EVERY WAKING HOUR). Thus, the musical fire was lit. Already possessing an artist’s spirit, Kenery soon began to hang around the local bands rehearsals as well as going to neighborhood talent showcases, learning what he could from watching…and listening. Soon at age 11, Kenery made his public musical debut in his 7th grade talent show and became hooked on the allure of the stage. All this with no true formal training, he began to perform locally with different choirs, bands and theater groups, learning what he needed along the way.
Kenery’s experience includes performances with artists ranging from international Neo Soul recording artist Erykah Badu, to world renowned Jazz vocal siren Dee Alexander, to R&B/Soul diva Terisa Griffin. Kenery has provided low end grooves for Acid Jazz pioneers Liquid Soul, and he has laid down a funky groove or two behind world famous comedian Bernie Mac. He has toured extensively throughout Italy, Germany, Switzerland and Luxembourg with the inspirational voices of Sue Conway and the Victory Singers, and with Pierre Walker & Project: Sanctified. Kenery has also performed with Gospel legend Kim Stratton, Grammy winning recording artist Darius Brooks and has been fortunate to provide the low-end groove with many other prominent Gospel recording artists including Phil Tarver and Bishop Paul S. Morton, Sr. He has also worked in many other diverse musical settings, including performing music with the world-renowned tap dance ensemble MADD Rhythms, touring nationally with Jackie Taylor’s Black Ensemble Theater and with Chicago’s Free Street Theater (most notably at The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.). Most recently, Kenery appeared in, wrote and produced original music for the independent film “The Rise and Fall of Miss Thang” (available on Amazon Prime). Additionally, for 15 years Kenery was co-founder and bassist of Chicago’s very own Nu-Jazz legends Detour JazFunk, with whom he shares writing, arranging and co-production credits on their debut CD entitled JazFunk.
Currently, Kenery can be seen and heard each week in the role of first chair bassist on the syndicated weekly Sunday morning broadcast of Victory Apostolic Church in Matteson, Illinois, as part of their extraordinary music ministry.
Q: Please share any accomplishments or achievements you would like to share with everyone.
A: I have been able to live a wonderful and fulfilling life using a God-given gift, sharing music with the masses! In the process I have been blessed to travel the world, meet and perform with many extremely talented people (some of whom were childhood musical inspirations), and most importantly, I have been able to share the healing and inspiring power of music. As musicians, when we take to the stages of the world to play our instruments and sing our songs, what we are doing is having interactive and meaningful conversations with each other; we are sharing our stories, our history, our dreams, our pain…our joy with each other. Then, subsequently invite the audience into those musical conversations so they can feel what we feel…so that they can share in our common human experiences through music and to inspire the audience to therefore reciprocate in the sharing.
Q: What else do you like to do besides playing bass?
A: I LOVE classic movies, comic books (I’m a Marvel Man…sorry DC!), listening to music on high end audio gear on quiet afternoons with my favorite beverage in hand. I enjoy writing both music and prose when I can squeeze it in. I, also, enjoy a good book or two.
I love house parties with close friends, breaking bread with the same, deep conversations with deep minds, and laughing hard and often. Every now and again, I will attempt to revive my skills as an artist and draw something cool. Also, if God says the same, I love the idea of being in love with a woman who truly knows and loves me for me. Maybe someday…J
- Why do you choose Bergantino gear?
A: For as long as I can remember, in my head the ideal sound of my live bass has been the sound of best recorded basses in recorded music history. Whatever the appropriate tone for the tune, that’s what I’ve always wanted to hear in the setting of a live performance and that means that I want to hear ME, my bass, my fingers, my inflections and expressions.
Bergantino Audio Systems is literally the FIRST time I have felt fulfilled in this aspect. Playing through my forté, in combination with either my HD210, HD112 or through my Reference 210…I don’t hear a “company sound”. I don’t hear coloration, unless I choose to color. I don’t hear snippets of my playing while the rest of my bass line is swallowed up in the band mix.
I now hear MY voice.
I now hear articulation of every note I play…warts and all…lol!
I now…finally…hear ME.
And THAT is why I LOVE Bergantino!
You can follow Kenery on the links below here:
Performing on the latest release by Andrea Love, “Twisted”: https://www.andrealovemusic.com/music
Bassist with Simone Green https://simonegreenlive.com
Coming Soon: K2S Productions.com
High-end carpenter by day and extreme energy, face-melting bassist by night, Bobby Fernandez started his bass journey 41 years ago and has been going strong ever since! As a 14-year-old kid, like many, Bobby looked no further for inspiration than KISS. With their larger-than-life persona, Bobby and his friends were emulating KISS and as luck would have it, they were asked to play and party and the rest is history as his bass journey had begun. When he was 14 years old, his parents rented his first bass guitar. It was a P-bass except the pick-up was not long enough so you couldn’t hear the G string but he managed to fall in love with the instrument regardless of its shortcomings.
Bobby states, “My parents have always been very supportive of my music. When it came time to purchase a bass, we were near a city called OceanSide and they had a store called Ocean Side Music Supply. That is when I got my first professional bass, a Gibson Ripper. I was sixteen years old. I got it because I saw a picture of Gene Simmons playing it. Also, Louis Johnson had played a Ripper and they didn’t call him the “Human Rhythm Machine” for nothing! I took three years of lessons and learned the basics. In terms of playing, I emulated the people I liked. I was also influenced by Cheap Trick, Paul McCartney, even Neil Sedaka and Elvis!”
During his high school years, Bobby played a lot of shows but gave up bass for a small time period and found himself unhappy or not fulfilled. He started playing again, and in doing so, found happiness again. From there things started to grow. His life changed from doing “crazy and stupid things” to getting serious about his music and career.
Bobby now anchors the low end in a San Diego-based band called “Symbolic”. Best described as a heavy-hitting dynamic force hailing from power/prog metal midst of the San Diego, California metal music scene. Symbolic combines their melodic energy with the excitement of old school metal mixed with the power and skill of modern metal. Since the inception of the band Symbolic has built a strong fan base both locally and Internationally.
Last year they signed with EMP Label Group. Bobby says, “David Ellefson is a smart guy and fun to talk too. Being associated with the name is a very good thing for Symbolic.”
Bobby Fernandez on Bergantino gear:
“I had a chance to play a couple of Bergantino cabinets. I tried them out at Bass San Diego. My friend, Rob Jones and Rick Gauthier stressed that I should really give them a try. Then, I connected with the Bergantino team at NAMM 2019. The first time I used the cabinets with my band, they said it was the clearest sounding bass tone they ever heard me play and it sounded amazing! Being lightweight was also huge bonus! In my band context, I need to find my own frequencies between the two guitar players and the drums. It’s a huge win for me because Bergantino gear makes it so effortless. They are pure aural perfection that touches ALL your senses!”
Also, of note, Bobby is an endorsed Dingwall artist and can be seen at the Dingwall NAMM booth every year. Thank you, Bobby, for being an ambassador for Bergantino Audio Systems. We look forward to many more years of your music!
We are excited to add Van Gordon Martin, an amazing Boston-based electric guitarist to our roster of Bergantino endorsing players. Van Gordon Martin has been a veteran of the east coast music scene for over a decade. He just finished a run run of shows with Toots and the Maytals. Also, Van is now heading out with Mighty Mystic’s Summer Tour and he will be using the Bergantino AD212 Guitar speaker.
Van has many hit song releases including his new single “Life Is One” from May 2019 and his 2018 album, “Let it Grow” was inspired by Van’s endless devotion and love for Roots Reggae and Dub Music.
While Van started his music career at age 7 in Chicago, he is now a part of Boston-based Reggae collective, Dub Apocalypse, a Moroccan/Jazz/ Electronic group Club D’elf, Hip Hop Legend Big Daddy Kane’s live band, Paul Wolstencroft of Slightly Stoopid’s Organically Good Trio, The Naya Rockers and many others. Van Gordon Martin is a guitarist, (that’s right, he is not a bass player) songwriter and multi- instrumentalist producer. He always pushes acoustic boundaries…just watch him on stage!
“My goal is to share my story and love for guitar with the world. It has been always been the thing that makes me feel connected to the spirit realm. Rasta, Reggae, Soul, Jazz, Blues and Roots Music…it speaks the truth. Every artist is part of the building blocks of our social and creative consciousness. I feel honored and blessed to share my ideas with anyone that will hear me. Every note we play with honest intention, we tear down a part of the injustices in the world. Love and music are indeed one. Music: It is our highest meditation” – Van Gordon Martin
We’re looking forward to videos and photos of Van’s upcoming tour! Best of luck on the tour, Van!!
Follow Van here:
http://www.mightymystic.com/admin/ Summer Tour info
Bergantino Audio Systems is honored and excited to welcome UK bassist, Dave Swift, to Bergantino’s endorsing artist roster.
Starting with trombone as his first instrument at the age of 14, then picking up the bass a year later, Dave Swift has had an amazing musical journey and career. Consequently, he now has established himself as one of the UK’s finest high-profile bass players.
Throughout that nearly 40-year career, Dave has amassed a truly impressive performance portfolio working with some of the finest musicians and artists in the world. These include playing and recording with George Benson, Chaka Khan, Eric Clapton, Paul Simon, Adele, Michael Bublé, Smokey Robinson, Bonnie Raitt, Amy Winehouse and Ed Sheeran, to name but a few … oh and not to forget that Dave has also played with three of The Beatles and two of The Rolling Stones! Dave has also been the featured bassist on seven double platinum selling albums.
Between his professional work with Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra, recording sessions, TV and radio performances, tour dates and his must-read columns for Bass Guitar and Bass Player magazines, Dave certainly is one of the busiest bassists in the UK music scene today.
Regarding his new relationship with Bergantino, Dave Swift said:
“I’m very discerning when it comes to bass amplification, particularly at this stage in my career. In recent times I’ve been craving far greater control over my sound, wanting to sculpt the tone I hear in my head in a specific way, with surgical-like precision, so I have been searching for an update to my gear that would fit me the best. For me, playing double bass, electric upright bass and bass guitar on tv, radio and on tour requires amplification that is reliable, versatile, intuitive and inspiring. It also has to be physically light, but still full-bodied & muscular sounding, yet also be an interchangeable and modular rig. Not to mention when it comes to the quality of the amplified sound itself, I need to be seriously impressed.
From the moment I auditioned the Bergantino gear, the accuracy, articulation and detail from their amps and cabs was nothing short of breath-taking. Jim Bergantino is also a genius! He’s clearly a mind reader too, because within my Bergantino B|AMP is every desired feature I would’ve chosen if I was designing the amp myself, plus when connected with my HDN-112 & HDN-210 cabinets, the immediacy, clarity, richness and definition of sound is absolutely exceptional. Congratulations Jim, you did it!”
Founder Jim Bergantino commented:
“It’s been such a pleasure getting to know Dave on both personal and professional levels. We both share the same love of great Italian food and the ability to carry on a conversation! It’s always great talking ‘shop’, learning about his amplification challenges and experiences, both live and in the studio over the course of his career. We spent one of those long conversations going over the feature set of the B|AMP, explaining how it could address these challenges and help him achieve his desired tonal goals. As an engineer, I know working with Dave so closely will certainly help to push the envelope of our bass amplification designs well into the future.
Welcome to the Bergantino family Dave, we’re all looking forward to working and growing with you in the years to come!”
For more information:
Bergantino Audio Mission
Bergantino Audio Systems has been dedicated to developing and building the highest quality audio products and bass guitar amplification systems since 2001. We have received numerous accolades within the musical instrument industry and continue to look forward with our designs and our unique approach to developing products.
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Whitinsville, MA 01588
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