Critically acclaimed guitarist/songwriter and famed NY Yankees star BERNIE WILLIAMS has signed a recording contract with REFORM RECORDS for his sophomore album MOVING FORWARD. The Puerto Rico native and five-time All Star is a classically-trained musician who developed his love for playing guitar alongside baseball, while listening to salsa, merengue and 80's rock. MOVING FORWARD embraces those early influences, while also reflecting a unique mixture of classical and jazz guitar topped-off with additional Latin rhythms.
Bernie Williams comments: "I'm thrilled to be recording again and to be a part of the Reform Records family. They share my vision for this album and for my music. Creating my debut album was a great experience, although my primary focus at that point was still baseball. For the past two years, I have been able to fully dedicate my time to music, and I could not be more excited with the results."
Chris Hower, A&R and Head of Label Operations for REFORM RECORDS states on behalf of all at REFORM: "We are thrilled to have signed Bernie Williams and we are proud to be a part of such a talented musician's career. Bernie's sophomore effort exemplifies his growth as a musician and a songwriter. We look forward to launching this album in a big way."
MOVING FORWARD is co-produced by Williams and Loren Harriet - who also helmed Bernie's 2003 critically-acclaimed debut The Journey Within. That first album debuted at 3 on Billboard's Top Contemporary Jazz Album Chart (while Norah Jones long held 1), and 8 on the Heatseekers chart. The Journey Within went on to rank as the 11th best-selling record in New York that year.
The new album features a variety of original instrumentals written and performed by Williams – playing alongside renowned musicians such as Dave Weckl (drums), Mike Stern (guitar), Scott Henderson (guitar), Dave Koz (sax) and Giovanni Hidalgo (percussion) to name a few. A special collaboration with Jon Secada is also featured. Having already received wide praise for his own musical abilities, Williams was right at home playing with these world class musicians. Entertainment Weekly has called Williams "a mighty fine guitarist and composer," while The Boston Herald favorably compared his performance style "to George Benson and Earl Klugh." The Los Angeles Times previously hailed The Journey Within as an "impressive debut" while the New York Times echoed that Williams' playing "hits the perfect chord."
Bernie Williams recently performed at the Latin Recording Academy's 2008 Person of the Year Tribute honoring Gloria Estefan in November; the 2008 Songwriters Hall of Fame Awards in NYC in June, and the 2008 MLB All Star Gala in July. He was also a featured guest at the final home game played at the historic Yankee Stadium on September 21.
Williams played his entire 16-year baseball career with the New York Yankees (1991-2006) where he was a four-time World Series Champion and a five-time All Star. He is among the Yankees all-time leaders in every major batting category and has also earned four Gold Gloves for his excellence in centerfield. Bernie Williams is represented by Steve Fortunato for Fortch Unlimited, Inc. for management and marketing.