"Who Do You Love" hitmaker Bernard Wright dies at 58

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    (May 20, 2022) In 1983, R&B radio was jamming to an earworm of a song by a rising young keyboardist with a flair for the groove. The song was “Who Do You Love” and the artist was 19 year old Bernard Wright. We are sad to inform SoulTrackers of the passing of Mr. Wright at age 58, reportedly in a tragic traffic accident in Dallas. Wright was the Godson and former music director for legendary singer Roberta Flack.

    Noted bandleader Billy "Spaceman" Patterson posted on social media today: 

    (May 20, 2022) In 1983, R&B radio was jamming to an earworm of a song by a rising young keyboardist with a flair for the groove. The song was “Who Do You Love” and the artist was 19 year old Bernard Wright. We are sad to inform SoulTrackers of the passing of Mr. Wright at age 58, reportedly in a tragic traffic accident in Dallas. Wright was the Godson and former music director for legendary singer Roberta Flack.

    Noted bandleader Billy "Spaceman" Patterson posted on social media today: 

    On behalf of the family of Bernard Wright (Nard),
    We are saddened to announce that yesterday
    Bernard has been called home to the Most High.
    Many thanks for everyone's support, encouragement, and prayers for Nard throughout the years.
    Please keep the family in your thoughts and prayers through 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.

    Wright was born in the Jamaica section of Queens, NYC, and was a child prodigy, playing with both Jamaica artist Tom Browne and Lenny White when he was a mid-teen.

    At 17, Wright signed with GRP Records and he soon released ‘Nard, a smash on the Jazz charts and an introduction of Wright’s funky jazz sounds to the R&B world. He migrated to a more intentional R&B sound over the next few years, ultimately hitting the top 10 with “Who Do You Love.” Wright followed by issuing two early 90s gospel albums, Fresh Hymns and Fresh Hymns II.

    Wright went on to become a sought-after session musician in both jazz and R&B, working with such artists as Cameo, Miles Davis, Marcus Miller and Pieces of a Dream. He later relocated to Texas, where he continued to perform regularly.

    Wright’s 80s work has lived on, becoming among the most sampled by the hip-hop community, including LL Cool J, Snoop and Dr. Dre.

    Bernard Wright was a lifer musician who gave pleasure to fans for four decades. And for a generation of fans, the fun grooves of “Who Do You Love” and his electric 80s work will remain on “repeat” for years to come.

    By Chris Rizik

     
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