Bernard Emer Lackner Ferber

Night for Day

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Night for Day was among the first CDs that came out on Brooklyn Jazz Underground Records when New York City's BJU launched the label in April 2008. This disc, which was recorded in December 2007, finds guitarist Will Bernard forming a quartet with acoustic pianist Benny Lackner, bassist Andrew Emer, and drummer Mark Ferber; all four of them are given co-leader credit, and the musicians have a healthy sense of camaraderie. Except for Billy Strayhorn's "Heaven," Night for Day is devoted to original material, and that material essentially falls into the post-bop category. Tracks like Bernard's "Nothing to See," Lackner's "Pianohaus," and Emer's "Waltz" are on the cerebral side, although not to the point of venturing very far into the avant-garde. If one wants to look at Night for Day as an inside/outside project, the playing is about 95-percent inside and 5-percent outside. But despite the intellectual nature of the performances, Bernard's guitar solos often have a bluesy quality. The feeling of the blues, of course, is an essential ingredient of all jazz, be it hard bop, swing, avant-garde, Dixieland, cool jazz, post-bop, third stream, soul-jazz, or fusion; so in that sense, all jazz is bluesy to a degree. But Bernard comes across as someone who has seriously studied the techniques of blues guitarists, and the interesting thing is the way he manages to sound bluesy and abstract at the same time. Despite the bluesiness in Bernard's playing, no one will mistake this 50-minute CD for a Howlin' Wolf or Magic Sam session. Instrumental post-bop is definitely the focus of this quartet, which paints an attractive picture of Brooklyn Jazz Underground Records on Night for Day.

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