The concert, the first this season in Martin's ongoing series at the Sheldon, is billed as a performance of music associated with Blue Note Records, which seems fitting since Bernstein was part of the Blue Note 7, a group formed in 2008 by the label for an album and tour celebrating its 70th anniversary. The Blue Note 7's stop at the Sheldon in February 2009 was Bernstein's last featured appearance in St. Louis, but many jazz fans here nevertheless may be familiar with his work from his frequent appearances on record with other artists.
Now 46 years old, the NYC native studied music at Rutgers University and The New School, where one of his teachers was the legendary guitarist Jim Hall. Bernstein and Hall have gone on to perform together many times as a duo, and Bernstein has become a prolific collaborator with many other musicians as well, forging notable associations with saxophonist Lou Donaldson, organist Dr. Lonnie Smith. pianist Brad Mehldau, and singer and pianist Diana Krall, to name just a few. More recently, Bernstein had been performing with Sonny Rollins' new quintet until health issues sidelined the great tenor man earlier this year.
These six videos, recorded at various times over the past decade, show Bernstein in a featured role in several different groups. The first clip up above, a song called "Dragonfly" recorded in 2004 at Smoke in NYC, features the guitarist in one of his regular formats, a trio with organist Larry Goldings and drummer Bill Stewart.
Down below, you can see Bernstein, tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander, bassist Chuck Deardorf, and drummer Matt Jorgensen playing "Bones" in 2006 at the Ballard Jazz Festival in Washington. Below that, it's a version of "Monk's Mood," also from 2006, featuring Bernstein and Brad Mehldau.
The fourth and fifth clips feature Bernstein's own quartet, recorded during a tour of Italy in 2010. "Jive Coffee" is from July at a festival in Scalea, with Bernstein, Sam Yahel on piano, Marco Panascia on bass, and Willie Jones III on drums. "Love Walked In," recorded a couple of months later in Salerno, features the same band except with Doug Weiss on bass instead of Panascia.
Today's final video is another Thelonious Monk tune, a version of "Pannonica" featuring Bernstein and pianist Michael Kanan that was recorded in March 2011 at Smalls in NYC.