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A Berkeley, CA native and recent Brooklyn transplant, guitarist Will Bernard has participated in a host of boundary stretching groups, ranging from jazz, hip hop and world music to experimental music, with many stops in between. Early in his career, Will performed and recorded with Don Cherry, Jai Uttal and the Pagan Love Orchestra, Peter Apfelbaum's various band incarnations, Beth Custer, The Coup, and Midnight Voices to name a few. The most successful of these projects was the group T.J. Kirk (with Charlie Hunter) whose 2nd record for Warner Bros. If Was One was nominated for a Grammy in 1997.
Will broke out as a bandleader in 1998 with the release of Medicine Hat (Antilles/Polygram), showcasing his expert chops and flair for funky, bottom- heavy soul-jazz. He then followed up with two self produced albums on his own label, Drek to Discs, before finding a new home on Palmetto Records and earning a Grammy nomination in Best Contemporary Jazz for his 2007 album, Party Hats.
Blue Plate Special, Will's follow-up Palmetto recording, includes performances by Stanton Moore, Andy Hess and John Medeski. The album is scheduled for release on September 30th 2008, rounding out a prolific and momentous year for Will Bernard. Other notable releases of 2008 include Rokamovya (featuring Bernard, members of Groundation, and Leroy “Horsemouth” Wallace), the debut Night and Day from Bernard-Emer- Lackner-Ferber, and Emphasis on Parenthesis from the Stanton Moore Trio.
As a touring artist, Will Bernard has been gaining steady momentum, performing in his own band or as a member of the Stanton Moore Trio, Robert Walter’s 20th Congress, Groundation, and numerous other lineups. The Will Bernard band has performed at The Monterey, North Sea, SF Jazz, Bumbershoot, Be-Bop and Brew, Montreal, Vancouver and The High Sierra festivals, as well as clubs across the country and through Canada. They have opened for Herbie Hancock and the Head Hunters, Jimmy McGriff, The Funky Meters, John Scofield, Medeski, Martin and Wood, Ziggy Modeliste and the Charlie Hunter Quartet.