Bernard is a Chicago-based contemporary jazz guitarist whose early experience involved working as a leader/co-leader of various guitar-organ trios and quartets in Chicago while also working as a social worker and, later in a jazz quartet in Madison,Wisconsin while working as a vocational rehabilitation counselor (he has a BA degree in psychology). "I can relate to some of the experiences that Al Jarreau had before deciding on music fulltime," says Bernard. Since becoming a fulltime musician, he worked at Andy's Jazz Club, one of Chicago's premier jazz venues, for over 10 years.He also played on Chicago's popular Rush Street for over a year and has extensive club/restaurant , special events, and festival/fair experience (eg. Fountain Square Art Festival; Beverly Arts Fair; Southside Art&Music Festival; B.U.F.I. 'Passing The Torch' events; Celebrating The Spirit Of South Shore Fair). He has also toured parts of the Midwest to promote his cds.
Bernard's latest cd, 'STAY TUNED', combines elements of smooth jazz, jazz, funk, urban soul/stepper's music, world music (especially Brazilian-style influences), and 'chill' to create a diverse blend of contemporary jazz. 'Stay Tuned' contains 3 soul classics: Curtis Mayfield's 'MOVE ON UP'; Luther Vandross' 'SO AMAZING'; and Michael Jackson's 'THIS IS IT'. The other 9 instrumentals are originals (Rod Lucas, host of Best Smooth Jazz, has praised Bernard's songwriting skills).'LATE ADDITION', 'STEP INTO THE LIGHT', 'A QUIET MOMENT', and the title song, STAY TUNED' are smooth jazz/urban soul/stepper influenced. 'PERSISTENCE', BRAZILIAN CALL', and SAMBA NOUVEAU' contain funky bass and samba rhythms, and 'HERE WE GO AGAIN' and 'NOW HEAR THIS!' are uptempo jams.
Music from 'STAY TUNED' has received repeat airplay on Rod Lucas' popular Best Smooth Jazz show (London) and was a featured album of the week on Wes George's JazzNet 247 Radio Europe show. Other shows that featured music from 'STAY TUNED' include: Mark Stanley's Soundtraxx show (U.S.); Graham Johnson's Smooth Jazz 905 show (Australia); Rick O'dell's popular Chicago area Sunday Jazz Brunch show; Mike James' Smooth Jazz And More show; Life's Best Smooth Jazz (Europe); and Smooth Jazz Florida & affiliated stations (Smooth Jazz Florida+; Smooth Jazz Planet; Love Smooth Jazz). 'A QUIET MOMENT' has been featured on McQs Jazz Show. 'LATE ADDITION' has been a favorite on the RADIO 48 show (Atlanta) and on the HTR Network (Hawaii & California).
In 2015, Bernard released a 4-song EP entitled HOLIDAY GROOVES which received a very favorable review from Denis Poole (Smooth Jazz Therapy). 'HAVE YOURSELF A MERRY LITTLE CHRISTMAS' was featured the Swiss Groove show; Life's Best Smooth Jazz; and Smooth Jazz.Pl.
The influences of Wes Montgomery and George Benson can be heard in Bernard's playing style.However, he strives to acheive his own interpretation of their style and, on "A NEW DAY"(2009), several additional sources of musical inspiration can be heard (eg. guitarists Lee Ritenour, Larry Carlton, Kenny Burrell, Grant Green, Carlos Santana, Ronny Jordan; plus the Crusaders,Azymuth(Brazilian),Incognito: Hugh Masekela (Afropop); Grover Washington jr., David Sanborn; Fourplay; DTTB;.Motown; Philly Sound;Memphis/Stax sound; and of course,the Chicago sound.
"A New Day" received very favorable reviews and airplay on 4 radio stations based in the U.K. (SmoothGroovers.com); Colin Hughes' Strawberry Jazz (StrawberryJazz.com); Denis Poole's Smooth Jazz Therapy/Smooth jazz Vibes (www.smoothjazztherapy.com ); and Rod Lucas' very popular 'BestSmoothJazz.com' & "Best Smooth Grooves.com". Radio stations and podcasts in the U.S. that have featured songs from "A New Day" include: Chris Acton's "The.Wav"; Mark Stanley's popular syndicated program (Soundtraxx); 'SmoothJazzAffair.com';John Hairston's "1067-The Bridge". He has also received airplay on radio stations in Australia. In Japan, Bernard's music was featured on Yoshiki Sakai's "Aquarian Wave" show.Bernard's first cd, "LATE ARRIVAL", which had a jazzy version of the very popular "Moondance", also included one of his original songs, "High Steppin' ", that was featured on the Swiss radio program 'SWISS GROOVES'. The title song, 'LATE ARRIVAL, attracted lots of attention when it was played on one of Rod Lucas' most highly rated weekly shows in London.
Bernard has worked primarily as a solo performer for over the past 25 years using his knowledge of MIDI technology to program music sequencers to get a full band sound that doesn't sound mechanical. "It's always a challenge, but one that I enjoy", says Bernard, whose audiences have also enjoyed his performances.