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Bernard is a Chicago-based contemporary jazz guitarist who combines elements from smooth jazz, jazz, funk, urban soul/steppers music, world music (especially Brazilian-style influences), and 'chill' to create a diverse blend of contemporary music.His latest project, a 4-song holiday EP, 'HOLIDAY GROOVES' (digital-only release) received airplay on SMOOTH JAZZ FLORIDA & affiliated stations, Graham Johnson's SMOOTH JAZZ 905/NIGHT-MOVES, Rod Lucas' 'BEST SMOOTH JAZZ', D.J. Walker's GROOVESUITE program, SMOOTH JAZZ.COM.PL, Peter Bohi's 'SWISS GROOVE, Mike James' 'SMOOTH JAZZ AND MORE, and most recently, 'LIFE'S BEST SMOOTH JAZZ'.
Bernard's previous cd, 'STAY TUNED' was released in 2014 Three soul classics are included : Curtis Mayfield's 'MOVE ON UP', Luther Vandross' 'SO AMAZING', and Michael Jackson's 'THIS IS IT'. 'MOVE ON UP' has been regularly featured on Smooth Jazz Nola (New Orleans) and Radio48 (Atlanta).The other 9 instrumental songs are originals by Bernard (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 influenced by Bernard's involvement in the smooth jazz/urban soul/steppers genres. 'A QUIET MOMENT' also borrows a little from the "chill" scene and was a Smooth Jazz Vegas feature song on YouTube. 'PERSISTENCE', 'BRAZILIAN CALL', and 'SAMBA NOUVEAU' contain funky bass and samba rhythms that should appeal to lovers of Brazilian jazz (BRAZILIAN CALL & PERSISTENCE have become 2 of the most popular songs on 'STAY TUNED'). 'HERE WE GO AGAIN' and 'NOW HEAR THIS!' are uptempo ('NOW HEAR THIS!' is reminiscent of 2 of Bernard's previous originals (CHI-TOWN STRUT & HIGH STEPPIN').
Music from 'STAY TUNED' has received repeat airplay on Rod Lucas' popular Best Smooth Jazz show, and it was a featured album of the week on Wes George's JazzNet 247 Radio Europe show. Other shows featuring music from 'STAY TUNED' include:Mark Stanley's Soundtraxx show (U.S.); Graham Johnson's SmoothJazz 905 show (Australia); Rick O'Dell's popular Chicago area 'Sunday Jazz Brunch' show on WDCB; and Fran Saavedra's Radio Esperantia-Confusion show (Spain). 'A Quiet Moment' has been aired on D.J. Walker's GrooveSuite program, Lon McQ's 'McQs Jazz' program, and LIFE'S BEST SMOOTH JAZZ-Portugal. 'STAY TUNED' has recently been featured on Smooth Jazz Florida & their affiliated stations (Smooth Jazz Florida+; Smooth Jazz Planet; Love Jazz Florida, and Love Smooth Jazz); CD 101.9 Smooth Jazz; and on Mike James' SmoothJazzAndMore program. In June, 2015, Got Radio's 'Jazz So Smooth' program began playing tracks from 'Stay Tuned'.
Bernard's previous cds, 'A NEW DAY' and 'LATE ARRIVAL' continue to attract new fans worldwide and has been recently added to the playlists at SmoothJazz.com.pl, a European station that features many top smooth jazz and indie artists. One song , 'LATE ARRIVAL' from his first cd of the same name, has become especially popular with fans of his music. "I'm happy to hear from fans who tell me that they find the song very attractive, both for listening and relaxing or for those who are into the steppers dance scene," says Bernard.
Bernard has worked as a leader/co-leader of guitar-organ based trios & quartets in Chicago in the past while also spending several years working as a social worker and vocational rehabilitation counselor in Chicago and Wisconsin after earning a degree in psychology. "I took a path similar to Al Jarreau who also had a dual career experience as a vocational rehabilitation counselor and musician-vocalist prior to deciding on music full-time, " says Bernard. Once focussed on music full-time, Bernard played weekly at Andy's Jazz Club, one of Chicago's premier jazz clubs, for over 10 years and spent a year playing on Chicago's popular Rush Street. He has extensive club/restaurant, special events and festival/fair experience playing mostly as a solo performer using his knowledge of Midi-based technology to produce a sound enjoyed by audiences that catch his live performances.
The influences of Wes Montgomery and George Benson can be heard in Bernard's playing style; however, he strives to achieve his own interpretation of their styles. "I have also been inspired by a wide variety of additional artists, both guitarists and non-guitarists," says Bernard.Among guitarists, his additional favorites include: Kenny Burrell,Lee Ritenour, Grant Green, Larry Carlton, Earl Klugh, Carlos Santana, Pat Martino and several fellow contemporary guitarists. Other sources of inspiration include: the Crusaders, Azymuth (Brazilian), Fourplay, Hugh Masekela (Afropop), Herbie Hancock, Horace Silver, Miles Davis, George Duke, Art Blakey, Eddie Harris,Cannonball Adderley, David Sanborn, Grover Washington Jr, Incognito, and DTTB. Early influences include; the Motown sound, the Philly sound, the Memphis/Stax sound, and the Chicago sound (from Curtis Mayfield,Rufus & Chaka Khan,EW & F, and, of course, the blues).