Peter Bernstein & Jesse van Ruller

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Last Show: Wednesday 31 st January 2024

PizzaExpress Jazz Club (Soho)

Peter Bernstein about Jesse van Ruller: "I first met Jesse around 1995, after he won the Thelonious Monk competition. I got to play with him when I visited the school he taught at in Hilversum a few years later. I’ve been lucky enough to play some gigs with him over the years, some just duo, some as part of a concert with more guitar players. We did a little tour of Italy in 2018 as part of guitarist Rale Micic’s tribute project to Jim Hall. Jesse has been one of my favorite players ever since I first heard him and it’s always a pleasure and an inspiration to play with him.”

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"Few guitarists put as much care, sensitivity and subtle strength into every single note as Bernstein does. Among the finest melodists in jazz, he has a full-breadth command of his instrument, but his biggest assets are his knack for crisp understatement and simplicity.”

New York Times

Jesse van Ruller won the prestigious Thelonious Monk Award on Washington in 1995. The jury, consisting of Pat Metheny, John Scofield. Jim Hall, Pat Martino and Mark Whitfield, was of the opinion that Jesse is one of the most promising talents of his time. In the same year he graduated summa cum laude from the Hilversum Conservatory. Since then he has collaborated with many of the world leading jazz musicians. He was nominated for the Ducth Bird and Edison Awards several times and to date has released 11 albums as a leader or co-leader. 

Jesse about Peter Bernstein: "Around 1993 or 94, the first time I came to NYC as a young guitarist and student of jazz, I went into the East-Village, walked around and heard faint jazz music. I followed the sound and entered a club called Visiones. The sound was that of a guitar-organ-drums trio and it was the most swinging, original, soulful guitar playing I had ever heard. And it came from someone who couldn’t be much older than me. It was Peter’s trio with Larry Goldings and Bill Stewart. That experience brought the music that I only knew from a distance, belonging to an older generation, forward in time and made it relevant to me. Clearly I have been an admirer of Peter’s playing since and many years later we met and started playing together occasionally. Peter is the kind of improviser I try to be as well: impressing by not trying to impress anyone, always chasing melodic development, not relying on prepared material and 'being in the moment’."

Jazz guitarist Peter Bernstein (b. 1967, New York City) has been a part of the jazz scene in New York and abroad since 1989. During that time he has participated in over 200 recordings and numerous festival, concert and club performances with musicians from all generations. As a leader, Peter has released 12 albums and a DVD, Live at Smoke. He got his first break while attending the New School when he met the legendary guitarist Jim Hall. Hall asked Peter to participate in his Invitational Concert as part of the 1990 JVC Jazz Festival. The event featured such guitarists as John Scofield and Pat Metheny and was released as “Live at Town Hall Vol. 2” by Music Masters. Hall noted that Peter “…has paid attention to the past as well as the future. He is the most impressive guitarist I’ve heard. He plays the best of them all for swing, logic, feel and taste.” Also in 1990, Peter Bernstein was discovered by alto saxophonist Lou Donaldson and took part in the first of four recordings with him. He was a regular member of his group throughout the 1990s. “Some people just have it.” Donaldson said. “…most of the time you have to teach someone what to do, but Peter knows it all.” Peter has also enjoyed long musical associations with legendary drummer Jimmy Cobb (Cobb’s Mob), as well as organist Larry Goldings and drummer Bill Stewart as a member of their highly acclaimed trio. The New York Times called them “the best organ trio of the last decade”. Together they recorded a dozen of records. From 1995 through 1997, Peter was a member of Joshua Redman’s band and played on Redman’s Freedom in the Groove CD. He played with Diana Krall’s quartet from 1999 through 2001 and with Dr. Lonnie Smith, the legendary organist who made his debut on the George Benson Cookbook albums. He has also recorded five CDs with organist Melvin Rhyne, known for his association with Wes Montgomery. In addition, Peter has appeared in groups led by Sonny Rollins, Bobby Hutcherson, George Coleman, David Fathead Newman, Etta Jones and Nicholas Payton. 

 

Band Line Up

Peter Bernstein (guitar)

Jesse van Ruller (guitar)