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Album Review

Like Tom Browne and Lenny White/Twennynine, Bernard Wright was part of Jamaica, Queens' R&B/funk scene of the late 1970s and early 1980s, which gave us such major hits as Twennynine's "Peanut Butter" and Browne's "Funkin' for Jamaica." Browne and White were both talented jazz musicians, but R&B/funk was their main focus at that time. Similarly, keyboardist/pianist Wright occasionally flirts with instrumental jazz on his debut album, 'Nard, but pays a lot more attention to vocal-oriented soul and funk. The only instrumentals on this out-of-print LP are the jazz-funk smoker "Firebolt Hustle," the Rodney Franklin-ish "Bread Sandwiches," and a relaxed interpretation of Miles Davis' "Solar," which finds Wright forming an acoustic piano trio with bassist Buster Williams and drummer Roy Haynes. Otherwise, this is an R&B album that is defined by such impressive funk as "Spinnin'," "Master Rocker," and the goofy but wildly infectious "Haboglabotribin'." Recorded when the keyboardist/pianist was only 16, 'Nard was expected to be a big hit, but surprisingly, didn't fare as well as albums by Browne and White.

Biography

Born: 1963 in Miami, FL

Genre: Christian & Gospel

Years Active: '80s

Keyboardist Bernard Wright seemed like a coming fusion and urban star when he toured with Lenny White at 13 and played with Tom Browne in 1979. He got such strong response that he was signed to GRP in 1981. But the LP 'Nard stalled, though there was good reaction among R&B and fusion fans to the single "Just Chillin' Out." It was followed by Funky Beat for Arista and Mr. Wright for Manhattan/EMI. Wright also co-wrote and sang...
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'Nard, Bernard Wright
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