All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...


Will Bernard: Just Like Downtown

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
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


comments powered by Disqus

Crab Apple Red

Crab Apple Red

Will Bernard
Directions To My House

CD/LP/Track Review
Multiple Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Out & About

Out & About

Posi-Tone Records

Just Like Downtown

Just Like Downtown

Posi-Tone Records

Just Like Downtown

Just Like Downtown

Posi-Tone Records

Outdoor Living

Outdoor Living

Dreck to Disk Records


Related Articles

Read Lala Belu CD/LP/Track Review
Lala Belu
by Chris May
Published: March 23, 2018
Read All Melody CD/LP/Track Review
All Melody
by Phil Barnes
Published: March 23, 2018
Read The Future is Female CD/LP/Track Review
The Future is Female
by Paul Rauch
Published: March 23, 2018
Read Hunters & Scavengers CD/LP/Track Review
Hunters & Scavengers
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 23, 2018
Read Fill Up Your Lungs and Bellow CD/LP/Track Review
Fill Up Your Lungs and Bellow
by Tyran Grillo
Published: March 22, 2018
Read Transatlantic CD/LP/Track Review
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 22, 2018
Read "Kinship" CD/LP/Track Review Kinship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 8, 2017
Read "Sounding Tears" CD/LP/Track Review Sounding Tears
by John Sharpe
Published: December 16, 2017
Read "Up All Night" CD/LP/Track Review Up All Night
by Doug Collette
Published: January 1, 2018
Read "Cosmic Playground" CD/LP/Track Review Cosmic Playground
by Don Phipps
Published: February 20, 2018
Read "Obsidian" CD/LP/Track Review Obsidian
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 9, 2018
Read "Live at Pyatt Hall" CD/LP/Track Review Live at Pyatt Hall
by Jack Bowers
Published: January 23, 2018