CMJ (p.7) - "[The album] showcases Bernard's technical proficiency, while accentuating his ever-improving songwriting skills."
Down Beat (p.85) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "On 'Folding Green' and 'Rattle Trap,' hints at funk are loose and bluesy, propelled by Wil Blades' surprisingly humble Hammond B-3 touches."
JazzTimes (p.93) - "[Bernard's] phrasing is amiable and fluid. His tone is reminiscent of Melvin Sparks but his arrangements manage to remain distinct."
Personnel: Will Bernard (guitar); Peter Apfelbaum (melodica, tenor saxophone); Cochemea Gastelum (alto saxophone); Joe Cohen (tenor saxophone); Mike Olmos (trumpet); Adam Theis (trombone); Michael Bluestein (electric piano); Paul Spina, Jan Jackson (drums); Josh Jones (percussion).
Recording information: San Pablo Recorders, Berkeley, CA.
Contemporary fusion guitarist Will Bernard always has his fingers in a lot of stylistic pies, and the music on 2007's PARTY HATS proves no exception. But while Bernard shows an inclination for post-bop, avant garde, and film music, his greatest allegiance is to funky, good-time grooves, and PARTY HATS shows no deficit thereof. Bernard and his sterling band have chops to spare, and the level of high-minded improvisation is dazzling throughout. But the music, which stays grounded in New Orleans roots, Blaxploitation riffs, and greasy R&B workouts, is never so cerebral as to leave the dancefloor.