Eric Bernhardt: The Four Sidemen Of The Apocalypse

Rob Rosenblum By

Sign in to view read count
Eric Bernhardt: The Four Sidemen Of The Apocalypse
On the surface, Eric Bernhardt is one of the many faceless, aspiring jazz musicians who hit the clubs on Frenchman Street in New Orleans, playing for tips and hoping to get noticed. What separates him from the rest is that he is a monster jazz musician.

Recently encountered in a desperate-looking club called the Cafe Negril, Bernhardt's music at first seemed like the same kind of tried and true bland and crowd-pleasing jazz that you find all over New Orleans. But it soon became obvious that this group, and more specifically this tenor player, stood head and shoulders above the rest. Despite the tiny group of onlookers, Bernhardt obviously took his music seriously. Playing a variety of jazz tunes by such luminaries as Lee Morgan, Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, he took the melodies by the scruff of the neck and turned them into and experience of passionate virtuosity.

Bernhardt's album, The Four Sidemen of the Apocalypse, includes the same band that appeared by Cafe Negril, with the addition of trumpeter Mike Kobrin and background vocalist Carolyn Broussard. And while it doesn't perfectly capture his power, it does offer a positive glimpse into this obscure, but hardy carrier of the jazz tradition, including his unstoppable drive and his warm, Dexter Gordon-like sound.

"Street Urchin" is a humorous take on "Giant Steps" with ironic lyrics describing the wisdom of street people. Unlike the traditional take on this tune, it is played at a moderate tempo with a Latin background. Bernhardt skates through the minefield of the tune's chord changes with abandon.

"Softly As In A Morning Sunrise" begins in stop time before bowing to a brief drum solo ushering in Bernhardt's most muscular solo of the album. He begins simply enough, staying close to the changes, but escaping the melody, and ascends higher and higher, increasing intensity baring his soul and exploding into his upper register.

"Les Oiseaux Vont Chanter," a bow to the Cajun culture of New Orleans, is played in a lazy 3/4 time. Bernhardt's solo is plaintive and poignant.

"Sleep Disorder" is an original composition from guitarist Pete Roze, a Larry Coryell disciple. It has a definite rock feel as does Roze's solo.

"Ooze Blooze" is a jump-blues riff. Bernhardt brief solo pays homage to the big soulful sax tradition of Illinois Jacquet and Lockjaw Davis.

Billy Strayhorn's "Chelsea Bridge" shows Bernhardt's more sensitive side, with more than a passing nod to altoist Johnny Hodges. It is trumpeter Kobrin's best showing.

This album is an uncompromising dive into hard bop at its best.

Track Listing

Street Urchin; Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise; Les Oiseaux Vont Chanter; Sleep Disorder; Ooze Blooze; Chelsea Bridge.


Eric Bernhardt: tenor sax, vocals; Mike Kobrin: trumpet and flugelhorn; Peter Roze: guitar; Mike Robbins: bass; Ethan Shorter: drums; Carolyn Broussard: vocals.

Album information

Title: The Four Sidemen Of The Apocalypse | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Self Produced

Post a comment about this album


Shop Amazon


Read Tomato Brain
Tomato Brain
The Golden Age Of Steam
Read The Clawed Stone
The Clawed Stone
John Butcher / Thomas Lehn / Matthew Shipp
Read some kind of peace
some kind of peace
Olafur Arnalds
Read Lost Ships
Lost Ships
Elina Duni / Rob Luft
Read Share The Wealth
Share The Wealth
The Nels Cline Singers
Read Spiracle
Mars Williams / Vasco Trilla

All About Jazz needs your support

All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.