Bernie Kenerson

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b. c. 1960, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA. Encouraged by his musical parents, Kenerson played clarinet from the age of seven, later adding saxophones and flute. Early influences on these instruments were…
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b. c. 1960, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA. Encouraged by his musical parents, Kenerson played clarinet from the age of seven, later adding saxophones and flute. Early influences on these instruments were Benny Goodman, Paul Desmond and Herbie Mann. By 16, he was playing professionally and then joined the US Army. From the age of 17, he served for 14 years, mostly as an instrumentalist and arranger in service bands. He spent two years at the Berklee College Of Music and he also studied music at Appalachian State University. There, he formed Slipstream, a contemporary jazz group that recorded Afterglow, which was named by DownBeat magazine as 1982’s Best College Group. In the late 80s, Kenerson played extensively in Europe and North Africa from his base in Belgium. Back in the USA from the mid-90s, he played in the house band at a club in South Carolina, leading his own band and also backing visiting stars.

Preferring to play in the contemporary jazz, funk and fusion genres, Kenerson developed into a fluent soloist and an interesting composer. His later influences include Michael Brecker, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Joe Zawinul and the Yellowjackets. In 1978, Kenerson became noted as a performer on the EWI (electric wind instrument), and has gradually made this his principal instrument. Through his work, he has helped bring this instrument to widespread attention. His regular quartet in the mid-00s, comprised Jim Schneider (keyboards), Gary Craddock (bass), and Art Weiss (drums). On record, Kenerson has added guitarist Vince Peeples and percussionist Nemil Chabebe.