5

Will Bernard: Just Like Downtown

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
Will Bernard: Just Like Downtown Guitarist Will Bernard has been connected to a number of singular groups and individuals, from the Monk-to-funk outfit known as T.J. Kirk to New Orleans drumming giant Stanton Moore to multi-instrumentalist Peter Apfelbaum's boundary-pushing Hieroglyphics Ensemble, but a common denominator exists in his strongest work with each one: Bernard's best is always rooted in the groove. He has a no-fuss way of establishing and/or inhabiting the rhythmic currents of a song and he puts that skill to good use, once again, on Just Like Downtown.

This quartet date finds Bernard fronting a highly capable—and flexible—foursome. Together, they tackle original soul jazz ("Dime Store Thriller"), Led Zeppelin ("Dancing Days") and Richard Rodgers ("Bali Hai"). Some pieces are brisk and driving ("Sweet Spot") and others like to linger for a while ("Little Hand"), as Bernard and company simply let the music float on by. Most of these musical offerings get to the point right away, but a sense of mystery is occasionally in the air as things coalesce ("Bali Hai") or blow slowly in the Frisell-ian breeze ("P.M. Gone").

Bernard's buddies deserve a good deal of credit for bringing his music to life. They sound good when working from the same playbook as the leader ("Dime Store Thriller"), but they sound great when one person's contributions are thrown into sharp relief; John Ellis' swaggering bass clarinet riff, for example, enlivens the jaunty "Go West," and drummer Rudy Royston delivers a tornado of a performance on the choppy "Safety In Numbers," which also features a beast-of-a-solo from Bernard. Organist Brian Charette—the fourth piece of the puzzle—is the one most responsible for adding color to the project. He brings all manner of sound—both earthy and alien—into the picture.

Just Like Downtown possesses an immediately likeable, unforced quality. The music simply flows when Will Bernard and company get going.

Track Listing: Dime Store Thriller; Go West; Sweet Spot; Dancing Days; Little Hand; Safety In Numbers; Bali Hai; Route 46; P.M. Gone.

Personnel: Will Bernard: guitar; John Ellis: tenor saxophone, bass clarinet; Brian Charette: organ; Rudy Royston: drums.

Title: Just Like Downtown | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Posi-Tone Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Open Book CD/LP/Track Review Open Book
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Stolen Moments CD/LP/Track Review Stolen Moments
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Sonder CD/LP/Track Review Sonder
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Putting Off Death CD/LP/Track Review Putting Off Death
by Glenn Astarita
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Albert Mangelsdorff And His Friends CD/LP/Track Review Albert Mangelsdorff And His Friends
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Heaven On Their Minds CD/LP/Track Review Heaven On Their Minds
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: August 16, 2017
Read "Migration Blues" CD/LP/Track Review Migration Blues
by Chris Mosey
Published: March 26, 2017
Read "Chronosome" CD/LP/Track Review Chronosome
by Budd Kopman
Published: November 24, 2016
Read "Shapes" CD/LP/Track Review Shapes
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 6, 2016
Read "The Roc" CD/LP/Track Review The Roc
by Geno Thackara
Published: May 6, 2017
Read "Road to Forever" CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read "Times and Tides" CD/LP/Track Review Times and Tides
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 28, 2016

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.