From his early days recording as a bandleader for Columbia Records right up to his current participation with Steve Gadd, Mike Maineri, Tony Levin and David Spinozza in L’Image, veteran jazz musician Warren Bernhardt has always been a pianist’s pianist.
Bernhardt has remained an original voice on the keyboard regardless of the shift in jazz styles over the past four decades, whether playing with Steps Ahead, Steely Dan or the late David “Fathead” Newman. And his sparkling solo appearance in the Putnam Den in Saratoga Springs on Friday night – as part of the Saratoga ArtsFestival celebration – confirmed that beyond doubt.
Sitting at the concert-grand piano, Bernhardt not only showcased his considerable jazz chops, but also explored the possibilities of song during his two-set performance that stretched from self-penned originals to classic jazz standards by Thelonious Monk and Miles Davis.
Bernhardt’s fingers walked, skipped and jumped around on the keys – as playful as they were poetic – drawing out a myriad of melodic interludes that evoked appreciative applause from those who came to hear him.
Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk