Saturday, October 18, 2008
'nard - bernard wright
bernard wright's 1981 album 'nard is an important document of an obscure and little studied era. in the early eighties, disco was over, funk was going electro and jazz fusion was starting to become really lame. the saving grace of dance music during this period was the rise of hip hop. bernard wright was not a rapper or a d.j. - he was, in fact, a sixteen year old jazz keyboardist - but this (his debut record) combined all of the innovations of seventies' funk and fusion with the latest sounds pouring out of ghetto blasters in new york city.
wright was an integral part of the jamaica, queens funk scene, which consisted of quite a few jazz players who weren't afraid to dabble in r&b. (one of the significant hits from this period - "funkin' for jamaica" - was by moonlighting jazz musician and queens resident tom browne.) 'nard is, in my opinion anyway, probably the best record to come out of that scene. it's been sampled to death, which ought to tell you about its popularity among collectors and d.j.s. check it out:
"haboglabotribin'" - bernard wright (sampled in snoop dogg's "gz and hustlas")
"master rocker" - bernard wright (slightly dubby jazz-funk number)
"just chillin' out" - bernard wright (apparently this was the single from the record.)
"spinnin'" - bernard wright (sampled in skee-lo's "i wish")