Remembering Bernard Wright

November 16, 1963 – May 19, 2022

A tribute to the soulful keyboardist

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Keyboardist Bernard Wright passed away on May 19, 2022 at the age of 58.

Wright was born in Jamaica, Queens, New York on Nov. 16, 1963 (his godmother was Roberta Flack), started playing piano early, and when he was 13 he toured with Lenny White.

Wright toured with Tom Browne when he was 16, two years before he recorded his debut album ‘Nard.

Other albums included Funky Beat (1983) and Mr. Wright (1985); the latter included his hit “Who Do You Love.”

In 1990 the keyboardist recorded the gospel record Fresh Hymns and with his trio in 2000 he made Back To Our Roots; he also worked as a sideman with various r&b groups, Pieces Of A Dream, Charles Earland, Miles Davis (1986), David Sanborn, Rhythm and Blu (a group with violinists John Blake, Didier Lockwood and Michael Urbaniak), Stanley Jordan, Sadao Watanabe, and extensively with Marcus Miller.

Bernard Wright settled in Dallas where he was considered a local legend during his last 25 years and a mentor to the generations that came after him.

Filmed on Jan. 8, 2022 just four months before his death, Bernard Wright is seen stretching out on solo piano before a small audience, talking a bit and playing “Naima,” “If I Only Had A Heart,” “When You Wish Upon A Star,” “It’s Only A Paper Moon,” “What A Wonderful World,” “Just The Way You Are,” “Visions,” and “Flower Power.”

-Scott Yanow

 

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