Dallas funk, jazz and R&B singer Bernard Wright dies at 58

Wright’s 1985 single “Who Do You Love” peaked at number 6 on Billboard’s R&B singles chart and was sampled prominently by LL Cool J’s 1996 single “Loungin'”.

DALLAS – Bernard Wright, beloved performer of funk, jazz and R&B from Dallas, died Thursday at the age of 58, according to a statement shared Friday on Facebook on behalf of Wright’s family by fellow musician William S.Patterson.

Born in Queens, New York, Wright rose to national prominence with the release of “Who Do You Love”, the lead single from his 1985 third album, “Mr. Wright”, and a heavily sampled song in the single to LL Cool J’s 1995 hit., “Lounge”.

“Mr. Wright” would hit #25 on Billboard’s US R&B Albums chart, while “Who Do You Love” would hit #6 on Billboard’s Hot R&B Singles chart and #44 on the Hot chart. Dance Singles Sales Chart.

Godson of powerhouse R&B singer Roberta Flack, Wright released his debut album, “‘Nard,” at just 18 years old.

This debut LP set the stage for his later successes, reaching No. 116 on the Billboard 200, No. 53 on the Billboard US R&B Albums chart, and No. 7 on the Billboard US Jazz Albums chart.

As a session musician, the multi-instrumentalist has appeared on recordings by acts such as Doug E. Fresh, Cameo, Bobby Brown and Miles Davis.

Internationally, however, his career would forever be marked by the success of “Who Do You Love” – ​​and, perhaps even more specifically, by that song’s extended lifespan as a sample in songs produced by other artists.

While many songs from Wright’s entire career have been sampled by artists such as Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and Big Pun, no other sample was as ubiquitous as that of “Who Do You Love” at the center of ” Loungin'” by LL Cool J.” Track.

Later in his career, Wright would turn to gospel music and release three albums under the genre banner before moving to North Texas and becoming a fixture and mentor within the jazz, funk and R&B music communities of Dallas.

A quick, gentle soul with a smile and a pat on the back, Wright was always humbled about his many remarkable accomplishments as he actively rubbed shoulders with and performed alongside young musicians who aspired to one day reach the heights. of her career.

Throughout the 2000s and early 10s, Wright regularly sat at keyboards among the players of the popular Monday night weekly Bad Ass Jazz series at the defunct Amsterdam Bar in the Exposition Park neighborhood of Dallas. More recently, he has appeared as a guest artist on stage with younger generation hip-hop, jazz and R&B fusion groups such as RC & The Gritz, CoLab and Ghost-Note at venues across Dallas including Deep Ellum Art Company, Prophet Bar and Three. Connections.

Patterson’s Friday morning statement on Wright’s passing reads:

On behalf of the family of Bernard Wright (Nard),

We are sad to announce that yesterday

Bernard was called to the house of the Most High.

Many thanks for everyone’s support, encouragement and prayers for Nard over the years. Please keep the family in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

Our hearts are heavy and our faith is strong.

To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord!

LOVE! Rest in power, Nard.

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