On Friday and Saturday, August 18th and 19th, the Bottom Line will
groove to the sounds of two modern guitar masters. CORNELL DUPREE and
BERN NIX have taken two different paths into the minds and hearts of
music fans, but each has left an indelible mark on the current scene.
You've probably heard Cornell Dupree a hundred times but have never realized
it. The sinuous guitar lines of Brook Benton's "Rainy Night in
Georgia"...that's Cornell Dupree. The R & B stylings behind Paul
Simon's "One Trick Pony"...that's Cornell. Countless tracks from artists
like Aretha, Lou Rawls, Barbra Streisand and, recently, Mariah Carey...all
Cornell. Producers looking for the perfect combination of style and
soul have led to Cornell Dupree's presence on more than 2500 recordings
in the last 30 years!!.
Not content to be just a sideman, Cornell has made several forays into
the limelight with his own solo recordings. He is also a founding
member of the pre-eminent instrumental group STUFF, who achieved great
success in the 80's and 90's. That band featured legendary performers
like Steve Gadd and Richard Tee, and their performances at the Bottom
Line were never anything but stellar. From his earliest gigs with
saxophonist King Curtis, to his current gigs and recordings, Cornell
Dupree remains true to "the horse he rode in on"...he just plays great.
BERN NIX served a different but equally intensive apprenticeship as a
member of sax giant Ornette Coleman's Primetime Band from 1975 to 1987.
He appeared on six albums with Ornette and performed hundreds of shows
around the world with the volatile jazz superstar. That period was a
heyday for such jazz fusion experimenters as Miles Davis, John
McLaughlin, Chick Corea and Tony Williams, and Bern Nix was right in the
middle of it all, inventing a new jazz vocabulary.
The eventual strain of playing with the mercurial Ornette Coleman, and
the inability to sustain a regular income working with an artist who
ignored such realities, led to Bern's departure from the band. In New
York, as Nix looking to continue gigging, he found himself caught up in the
somewhat anarchic "No-Wave" scene, playing with bands like James Chance
and the Contortions and other downtown denizens. The work was regular,
even if the scene was a little chaotic. Throughout his career, Bern has
always shown an almost Puritan work ethic, He wants to play, and hasn't
limited his playing field. As a sideman, though, you're always subject
to the needs of others. These days he fronts his own trio, and relishes
the role of leader. In that position, he can play what he wants to play
and only has to answer to his own muse.
Two guitar greats, two different paths....two nights of musical
mastery. That's what's in store for the Bottom Line on August 18th and
19th. Make sure to be there one of those nights, and you'll have
something to talk about all week.