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...

5

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

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Crab Apple Red

Crab Apple Red

Will Bernard
Directions To My House

Album Reviews
Multiple Reviews
Album Reviews
Read more articles
Out & About

Out & About

Posi-Tone Records
2016

buy
Just Like Downtown

Just Like Downtown

Posi-Tone Records
2014

buy
Just Like Downtown

Just Like Downtown

Posi-Tone Records
2013

buy
Outdoor Living

Outdoor Living

Dreck to Disk Records
2012

buy

Upcoming Shows

Date Detail Price
May22Wed
Will Bernard Quartet
Smalls Jazz Club
New York, NY

Related Articles

Read Hastings Jazz Collective/Shadow Dances Album Reviews
Hastings Jazz Collective/Shadow Dances
By Dan McClenaghan
May 21, 2019
Read Crowded Heart Album Reviews
Crowded Heart
By Nicholas F. Mondello
May 21, 2019
Read That's a Computer Album Reviews
That's a Computer
By Jerome Wilson
May 21, 2019
Read All I Do Is Bleed Album Reviews
All I Do Is Bleed
By Paul Naser
May 21, 2019
Read LE10 18-05 Album Reviews
LE10 18-05
By Karl Ackermann
May 20, 2019
Read Remembering Miles Album Reviews
Remembering Miles
By Dan McClenaghan
May 20, 2019
Read Merry Peers Album Reviews
Merry Peers
By Bruce Lindsay
May 20, 2019