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BERNARD ALLISON
SA. 07.07.2001, 19.30
Bernard Allison
Bernard Allison - guitar, voc
James Knowles- drums
Mike Vlahakis- keyboards, organ
Jason Wilbur - bass


Click here for the website of Bernard Allison..

 

Born in Chicago on November 26th, 1965, the youngest of nine children BERNARD ALLISON was first introduced to the roots of black music and the art of the electric guitar by his father, the late great LUTHER ALLISON. Bernard made his first appearance on record at age 13, when he played on a live LP his father recorded in Peoria, IL.

"l didn't start to play 'till I was maybe 10 years of age" Bernard recalled "I picked up the guitar, listened to records. I was in grade school and I played with the high school jazz band. They thought I was reading the sheet music, but actually I was making up everything I could play."

Soon after graduating from High School, he began a three-year guitar apprenticeship in Koko Taylor's high-flying Blues Machine. He also played in the late Willie Dixon's Blues All-Stars and performed with his Dad at the 1983 Blues Festival - one of the event's highlights. Along the way, Bernard picked up slide guitar tips from Johnny Winter and in the 80's also learned from the late Stevie Ray Vaughan.

With those experiences under his belt, Bernard moved to Paris in 1989 to live and play the blues with his father. He joined the tourband of Luther Allison after a furious collaboration of "Father & Son" at the ´89 Chicago Blues Festival. A recording of this formation is to be heard on the Luther Allison album "Let's Try It again" (RUF Records). Bernard released his first solo album in 1990 with the significant title "The Next Generation".

He started touring with his band all over Europe and released the two albums: "Hang On" (1992) and "No Mercy" (1994).

On Bernard's 3rd release "Funkifino" (RUF Records) it turned out that he was not only influenced by "the old masters" or musicians like Jimmy Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn but also grew up with the music of George Clinton and Johnny Guitar Watson. Produced and recorded in Switzerland by Dom Torsch at relief studios, this CD contains 12 songs (10 by his own) in a very high recording quality with slide guitar queen Joanna Connor appearing on "If" and "The Allison Family" with backing vocals (choir) on "Family Affair". "Funkifino" (Funk If I know) shows "the funky side" of the bluesman Bernard Allison and that he grew up with all kinds of black music. He is playing the blues - but he plays it funky...

Bernard's 4th album Born with The Blues was a solid, stirring and straight-ahead blues affair with fine support from keyboard wizard (and Rounder Records Bullseye producer) Ron Levy and the killer band of Buddy Guy. That album and subsequent European and USA touring won Bernard much praise from the Critics and many new fans.

Bernard's last release, "Times Are Changing" (Ruf Records), demonstrates continued growth as a songwriter, as well as an increased depth and diversity in his repertoire. "Times Are Changing" is undeniably dynamic from the bluesy, foot stompin' opener,
"I Can't Get You Out Of My Mind", to the funked up and jazzy cover of Sly Stone´s classic "If you want me to stay", to the poignant acoustic memorial to the passing of his father, "Don't Be Confused". Appearing twice on the album, "Don't Be Confused", lends the album a reflective pause before launching into overdrive and closes the circle in its reprise. Track to track, Bernard changes gears with seasoned agility, yet, despite the varied musical terrain, this is undeniably the blues. He covers each style in easy, powerful strides. Backed by a drivin' rhythm section, a rich Hammond B3 and equally powerful horns, his guitar soars and growls while his vocals are sharp and evocative. Throughout, Bernard's nimble picking, memorable riffs and catchy tunes display both his natural gift as a musician and the influence of a life spent around his legendary father, Luther, and the blues.

Bernard seems to have inherited Luther's knack for igniting audiences, but he's no clone of his famous father. He is definitely blazing his own path with a style that reflects a unique mix of traditional and modem influences. The Allison torch has been passed, and it's clear that Bernard takes his role as its bearer very seriously. He's assumed the challenge of keeping the blues alive and growing - a commitment he renews every time he takes the stage.

in 1999, two years after Luther passed away, Bernard decided to move back to the States to go back to his roots and push his career in his native country. He changed from RUF to Tone-Cool (still distributed in Europe through RUF) and is back with "Across The Water", a powerhouse blues rock record, with a strong, radio-friendly sound, brimming with Bernard's trademark searing lead and slide guitar work, while showcasing his powerful vocal prowess and mature songwriting. Produced by Jim Gaines (Stevie Ray Vaughan, Santana, Luther Allison, Albert Collins). Aggressive touring and world-class management have Bernard poised for crossover success.

Previous BERNARD ALLISON albums:
The Next Generation 1990 Mondo Records
Hang On 1992 in-akustikimak
No Mercy 1994 in-akustik/inak
Funkifino 1996 Ruf Records
Born With The Blues 1997 Ruf Records
Times Are Changing 1998 Ruf Records

 

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