Will Bernard: Blue Plate Special

By: Sarah Moore

Blue Plate Special (Palmetto Records) serves up some well-rounded, tightly knit jazz funk with organ-heavy jams and finessed funk rhythms. Will Bernard, a fusion scene veteran, enlists the help of fellow jazz-funk heavyweights John Medeski (MMW, keys), Stanton Moore (Galactic, drums) and Andy Hess (Gov't Mule, bass). Bernard, however, is not necessarily the meat on this plate. Although the listener might expect Bernard's guitar to have the starring role, the organs and keyboards have more emphasis as Medeski adds his textured future-vintage sounds.

Medeski's haphazard funk approach often leads grisly futuristic jams ("571"). The simple, meditative bassline and whistling organ feel like a '70s soundtrack. Bernard's previously innocuous presence expands, creating an extra layer and echo to Medeski's dirty sound. Returning to the head, Bernard shreds some metallic strings as the rhythm section and Medeski keep a hushed but rocking jam going.

Perhaps what sets this fresh, funky jazz apart from most fusion records is the appearance of traditional gospel ("How Great Thou Art"). Bernard recalls some gospel steel with a electric slide. Medeski's initial church organ distends as the introduction progresses, allowing for a percussion-less holy moment, where Bernard's passionate and sluggish guitar part almost has a Southern accent with its dips and slides. When crashing drums do enter, the mood will move you to tears with its spiritual clarity. The concluding piece is perhaps the cherry pie to the meat and three.

JamBase | Well Plated
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[Published on: 1/22/09]

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phishmmw1229 Fri 1/23/2009 05:29AM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


This album is sick....go get it

Galacticfunk2 Fri 1/23/2009 07:33AM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


this is a great Cd,whenever Stanton and Bernard get together the outcome is always hot. Cant wait to see them in NYC in Marc

iwantstogetfunkedup starstarstarstarstar Fri 1/23/2009 09:46AM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

This review does not do it justice at all!! This record is super sick! If you like jazz/funk, soul, jams, etc... don't miss it. I'm way stoked for their upcoming gig at the Great American Music Hall in SF!

ClaysTribe starstarstarstarstar Fri 1/23/2009 11:37AM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


cant wait till the L.A. show, shits goona get grooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooovy

tourfan starstarstarstarstar Sun 1/25/2009 09:08PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Well, now it's us East Coasters getting left out in the cold with only two dates planned as of this published date. Bring this act to more rooms on the right coast boys. Dig it! Nicely reviewed Sarah.

wetchabs starstarstarstarstar Tue 1/27/2009 05:04PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

This album is a funky tour de force. Stanton Moore and Andy Hess are locked in to allow Medeski and Bernard to add their layers nicely. This review doesn't give credit to the rhythm section. It's amazing. Highly Recommended.

flarrdogg starstarstarstarstar Wed 1/28/2009 04:05PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


this record is the heat

DAMONCORY starstarstarstarstar Thu 1/29/2009 02:57PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


This colaboration sounds too good to pass up. Check out the related goods section up top for Stanton's "All Kooked Out". Awesome Album too!