Innovator and multi-instrumentalist, Bernie Kenerson says it’s time to bring the Akai EWI 4000s and EWI USB out to the forefront and give it some r-e-s-p-e-c-t! With his talent and ability, he is doing just that. He’s a producer, composer and arranger who plays many different electric wind instruments, saxophones, flutes, clarinets and keyboards.
Bernie was born to musical parents and began playing clarinet at age 7, sax at age 10 and flute at age 13. He started his professional career at age 16 in his hometown of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. He joined the U. S. Army at age 17 and has 14 years experience as an instrumentalist and arranger in Army Bands.
His musical studies include a Two-Year Professional Diploma from Berklee College of Music and a Bachelor of Music Degree from Appalachian State University where he formed the Neo-jazz band, ‘Slipstream’. The group’s self produced album ‘Afterglow’ received Downbeat magazine’s 1982 DeeBee award for best college group and Bernie received an Outstanding Soloist award for his work on the Lyricon.
In the late 80’s and early 90’s, Bernie lived in Brussels, Belgium where he performed in a variety of groups at concerts and festivals throughout Western Europe, Scandinavia and Morocco. He moved to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina in May 1995 and has been busy performing and recording ever since. This period has been highlighted by three years in the house band at the Jasmine Supper Club (a 7 night-a-week jazz venue) where he performed nightly and shared the stage with jazz greats Gato Barbieri, Kim Waters, The Yellowjackets, Joe Beck, Bob James, and the legendary Jimmy Smith.
Bernie can be heard on many Beach Music CDs, including 11 that made the Beach Music top 100 and has received three Cammy (Carolina Beach Music) Awards. He’s currently performing with the Andrew Thielen Big Band, Wicked Gift, his own band the Bernie Kenerson Group and working on solo CD projects.
Bernie began performing on electric wind instruments in April 1978 with the Lyricon. Currently his instrument of choice is the Akai EWI 4000s and he displays a wealth of expression and artistry on this unique electric horn. Reviewer Chris Spector Says, “A first class set throughout, this jazzbo knows how to deliver, the kind of cat well primed to take this electronic instrument to the next level of the game.” Scott O’Brian of SmoothJazz.com says, “His playing is brilliant, and with a live rhythm section he completely immerses himself in the improvisation and energy of his instrument and, more importantly, conveys it convincingly to his listeners.” His CD release “Bernie Game” (The Art of the EWI) took the Contemporary Jazz world by storm. There were 8 originals and 2 surprise covers that are some of the smoothest and jazziest to hit in awhile. In Bernie’s hands the EWI seems like it was made for Contemporary Jazz. At a recent show in Charleston, South Carolina a new fan was heard saying, “I love the sound of the EWI. It like, massaged my brain.” The Bernie Kenerson Group has a fresh new smooth and sophisticated jazz sound that is driven by the unique tones of Bernie's EWI and the creative musical support he gets from his wonderful group. Check out the Bernie Kenerson Group and hear the future!