Amendola vs. Blades vs. Bernard
SUN · JULY 22, 2018
Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 8:30 pm
Guitarist Will Bernard, a Berkeley, CA native and Brooklyn NY transplant studied guitar and piano from an early age with Dave Creamer, Art Lande and Julian White later developing and interest in classical music composition. He received a a degree in music from UC Berkeley where he studied with Andrew Imbrie and others.
He began playing and recording on an international level as a member of Peter Apfelbaum's Hieroglyphics Ensemble,who made their recorded debut with Don Cherry on “Multikulti” (A&M 1989). Since then, 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. In the 90’s Bernard recorded and performed with many projects under the direction of acclaimed producer Lee Townsend and worked with groups ranging from the Hindustani-influenced Jai Uttal to the political hip-hop group the Coup. The most commercially successful of these projects was the group T.J. Kirk (with Charlie Hunter) whose sophomore album “If Four Was One” on Warner bros. was nominated for a Grammy in 1997. Will made further inroads with the Stanton Moore trio which toured extensively and made 3 albums on Telarc and a Hal Leonard drum instructional video and book.
Bernard 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 (“Motherbug” and “Directions To My House”), before making two albums on Palmetto Records (“Party Hats” and “Blue Plate Special”). “Party Hats” garnered a nominated for a Grammy Award in 2008 for best contemporary jazz album. The all-star “Blue Plate Special” includes performances by Stanton Moore, Andy Hess and John Medeski.
As a touring artist, Bernard has hit the road extensively with his own bands or as a member of the Stanton Moore Trio, Robert Walter’s 20th Congress, Groundation, and numerous
other lineups. As a leader Bernard has performed at The Monterey, North Sea, SF Jazz, Jazz a Vienne,
Bumbershoot, Be-Bop and Brew, Montreal, Vancouver, Carribean Sea, and The High Sierra festivals,
as well as clubs and festivals across the US, Europe and Canada. They have opened for Herbie Hancock and the Head Hunters, Jimmy McGriff, The Funky Meters, John Scofield, Medeski, Martin and Wood, Zigaboo Modeliste and the Charlie Hunter Quartet.
Will has performed and or recorded with Dr Lonnie Smith, Tom Waits, Ben Sidran, Dr John, Booker T.Jones, Millennial Territory Orchestra, George Porter Jr., Zigaboo Modeliste, Global Noize, Greyboy Allstars, Galactic, Medeski, Martin and Wood, Mike Clark, Idris Muhammad and others.
As well as leading his own groups, Will performs regularly with the NY collaborative electro-funk band «Pleasure Drones», the W-Beez (With Wil Blades) and Peter Apfelbaum's Sparkler.
From cookin’ with Blues legend John Lee Hooker, organ summits with B-3 master Dr. Lonnie Smith, television and radio appearances, Wil Blades is gaining critical acclaim and international recognition. Blades, a native Chicagoan, has become the San Francisco Bay Area’s first call organist and is rapidly gaining momentum internationally. He has been named “Rising Star” for organ in the Downbeat critics poll every year since 2006. Wil has been wowing audiences with groups such as “O.G.D.,” “Amendola Vs. Blades”, “Stanton Moore Trio”, “Steppin” and Billy Martin Wil Blades Duo". In 2007 Blades released his much anticipated debut record, “Sketchy”, on Doodlin’ Records. In addition to performing with legendary artists such as John Lee Hooker and Dr. Lonnie Smith, Wil has performed and recorded with Melvin Sparks, Idris Muhammad, Joe Louis Walker, Don Braden, Donald Harrison, Nicholas Payton, Karl Denson, Will Bernard, Scott Amendola, Charlie Hunter, Stanton Moore, Billy Martin, Anders Osborne, Jason Marsalis, Herlin Riley, Betty Joplin, Eddie Marshall, Herbie Lewis, and many others.
Born in 1979, Wil began playing drums at the age of 8, guitar at 13, and then found his true calling on Hammond B-3 at 19. While studying Jazz at New College of California with bassist Herbie Lewis, Wil landed weekly gigs at John Lee Hooker’s Boom Boom Room in San Francisco. Barely of legal age, veteran musicians, such as trumpeter Oscar Myers, took him under their wings. Being self-taught on organ, the weekly gigs proved to be the best lessons of all. In the years since, Wil has received tutelage from Jazz Organ master, Dr. Lonnie Smith. “Yeah, he does it...he’s on it. He is the future to carry on the legend, the legacy of the organ, [of] the B-3.”
Wil has kept the traditional sounds of Jimmy Smith, Larry Young, and “Groove” Holmes alive, while creating a more personal, modern sound. In Wil’s words, “I feel indebted to the tradition and masters of the Hammond Organ, but while trying to keep it going, I’m also focused on bringing my contemporary influences to the table.” His playing is rhythmic, funky and bluesy, yet his original compositions are harmonically intriguing and unique.
Wil currently leads his own groups around the San Francisco Bay Area, tours internationally and is dedicating his time to teaching the Hammond B-3 Organ privately. Current musical collaborations include groups with guitarist Will Bernard, Stanton Moore Trio and two different duo projects with drummers Scott Amendola and Billy Martin. Billy Martin and Wil Blades Duo debut record, “Shimmy”, is now out on Amulet/Royal Potato Family Records.
For Scott Amendola, the drum kit isn’t so much an instrument as a musical portal. As an ambitious composer, savvy bandleader and capaciously creative foil for some of the world’s most inventive musicians, Amendola applies his wide-ranging rhythmic virtuosity to a vast array of settings. His closest musical associates include guitarists Jeff Parker, Nels Cline and Charlie Hunter, Hammond B-3 organist Wil Blades, ROVA saxophonist Larry Ochs, and Tin Hat clarinetist Ben Goldberg, players who have each forged a singular path within and beyond the realm of jazz.
While rooted in the San Francisco Bay Area scene, Amendola has woven a dense and far-reaching web of bandstand relationships that tie him to influential artists in jazz, blues, rock and new music. A potent creative catalyst, the Berkeley-based drummer become the nexus for a disparate community of musicians stretching from Los Angeles and Seattle to Chicago and New York. Whatever the context, Amendola possesses a gift for twisting musical genres in unexpected directions. By employing custom designed electronics, including looping machines, pedals and ring modulators, he’s continually expanding his sonic palette, exploring textures and rhythms with an improvisational sensibility.
“Amendola has complete mastery of every piece of his drumset and the ability to create a plethora of sounds using sticks, brushes, mallets, and even his hands.” Steven Raphael, Modern Drummer magazine
«If Scott Amendola didn't exist, the San Francisco music scene would have to invent him.»
— Derk Richardson, San Francisco Bay Guardian
860 San Pablo Ave
Albany, CA, 94706