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Bernard Allison

Idioma disponible: inglés
Bernard Allison is the guitar-slinging, singer/songwriter son of legendary blues guitarist Luther Allison. Like his father, the Paris-based Allison is an energetic showman, a prolific recording artist, and a road warrior who sometimes performs 250 dates a year. His playing style incorporates vintage and modern Chicago and Texas blues, along with R&B and roots rock. His debut album, The Next Generation, appeared in 1990. Between 1995's Funkifino, and 2006's Energized: Live in Europe, he issued nine albums for Ruf Records and was a featured performer on several others. He also issued one-offs for Tone Cool (Across the Water, 2000) and Cooking Vinyl (Storms of Life, 2002). He cut 2007's Chills & Thrills and 2013's Express -- the latter with Cedric Burnside for Jazzhaus. He returned to Ruf for 2018's Let It Go. Following a touring hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he returned to recording with 2022's Highs & Lows. Allison was born in Chicago in 1965 and moved with his dad between the Windy City and Florida. He accompanied his father to blues festivals while still in grade school, where he met Muddy Waters, Hound Dog Taylor, and Albert King. Luther was more than a casual record collector; Bernard benefitted from his father's and brothers' collections of classic blues and gospel. He taught himself to play guitar in Florida during the '70s while his father was touring internationally. At 12, he played for Luther for the first time. Impressed, the elder Allison brought his son a Fender Stratocaster but required him to remain in school. After turning 18, Luther allowed Bernard to join him on-stage at the 1983 Chicago Blues Festival. During that era, he furthered his skills under the tutelage of Johnny Winter (whom he'd known since he was a child), and Stevie Ray Vaughan. A week after graduating high school, he auditioned for and was invited to join Koko Taylor's touring band. He stayed with Taylor's band until 1985, and left to hustle his own gigs as Bernard Allison & Back Talk. He spent much time playing in Canada with his first band and later rejoined Taylor and her Blues Machine for another two years in the late 1980s. After accompanying Luther to Europe for a live recording, Bernard was asked to join his father's touring band as his European music director and bandleader. Luther tutored his son on the bandstand in the finer points of showmanship for several years. At Christmastime in 1989, while both were sharing an apartment in Paris, the elder Allison arranged for his son the most precious gift a budding musician could receive: Studio time to cut his first album. Bernard's debut, Next Generation, was recorded for Mondo Records using musicians from his dad's band. He issued No Mercy for In-Akustik in 1994, and signed a longterm, non-exclusive deal with Germany's Ruf Records. They issued Funkifino in 1995. In December 1996, Bernard Allison was contacted by Cannonball Records founder Ron Levy. Allison was home in Chicago visiting family at Christmas, and hadn't brought any of his guitars or other equipment with him. Levy wanted traditional electric blues, with a few guitar scorchers for newer fans of the idiom. Allison released his stunning U.S. debut, Keepin' the Blues Alive, in early 1997, receiving a great deal of critical acclaim. On his successful tour of clubs around the U.S. in the latter half of 1997, he was joined by drummer Ray "Killer" Allison (no relation) and Buddy Guy bassist Greg Rzab, among others. He returned to Ruf for Times Are Changing a year later. In mid-2000, Allison released Across the Water for the Minnesota-based Tone Cool label. Based in Paris full time, Allison had the comfort and security that the multitude of blues clubs and festivals around Europe could provide. He maintained a prolific touring and recording schedule, gigging steadily in Europe, the U.K., Scandinavia, and the United States. In 2002 he released Hang On! for Ruf and the globally acclaimed Storms of Life for Cooking Vinyl. He issued Kentucky Fried Blues: Live in 2003. His final studio album for Ruf during his first turn with the label was 2004's Higher Power. Allison issued the collaborative Triple Fret with guitarists Larry McCray, Carl Weathersby, and Lucky Peterson for JSP in 2005. Chills & Thrills appeared from Jazzhaus in 2007, and The Otherside for CC Entertainment in 2010. Allison seldom left the road during these years; in addition to playing prime slots at international blues festivals, he toured the States, Europe, and Japan. In 2013, Allison and guitarist Cedric Burnside teamed up to release Express on Jazzhaus. the pair toured the globe together. Allison returned to the road alone in 2016. In February 2018, the guitarist issued Let It Go, marking his return to Ruf Records, followed by an international tour. The jaunt teamed him up which fellow blues musicians Vanja Sky and Mike Zito, resulting in the audio/video package Blues Caravan 2018 on Ruf. In February 2020, a month before the COVID-19 pandemic put most of the world in quarantine, Allison issued the Songs from the Road, sourced from a German concert. In March 2022, the guitarist issued Highs & Lows marking his return to studio recording for Ruf. The 11-song set crisscrossed modern blues, funk, and R&B, and included guest spots by Bobby Rush and Colin James. It featured Allison playing Hammond B-3 organ as well as lead guitar.
© Richard Skelly & Thom Jurek /TiVo
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