Will Bernard has the kind of local boy sensibility that keeps his graying but enthusiastic fan base coming out to his gigs, which feel like a reunion of sorts. Bernanrd, a Berkeley High and Cal alum, counts everything from the Beatles to A Tribe Called Quest among his influences and spins sonic voodoo from bits of funk, classical, blues, and everything in between. A lifelong musician, he was a klezmer artist and part of an Iranian wedding group before embarking on his current musical path.
Bernard seems perfectly happy to let others have the spotlight, shifting effortlessly around the protoplasmic Bay Area jazz scene and playing as a guest artist or inviting friends onstage with his own band. Party Hats is his fourth album as a bandleader, and features tracks recorded with other local musicians. Meanwhile, he is still performing with three other bands: MG5, the Stanton Moore Trio, and Fully Loaded. Now off to New Orleans for an extended JazzFest residency, Bernard will be back in Oakland to play Yoshi’s on June 18. Until then, check out his sexy, laid-back verve on “Share the Sea.” – Monya De