People - Jazz Studies

Jazz Faculty: Peter Bernstein

Born in New York City, guitarist Peter Bernstein has been a part of the jazz scene in New York and abroad since 1989. During that time he has participated in over 60 recordings and numerous festival, concert and club performances with musicians from all generations. As a leader, Peter has made five recordings for the Criss Cross Jazz label. The latest, Heart’s Content, features the all-star rhythm section of BradMehldau, Larry Grenadier, and Bill Stewart.

While a student of 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 (NYU Jazz Faculty colleague) John Scofield and Pat Metheny and was released as a CD by Music Masters. Hall noted that Peter “…has paid attention to the past as well as the future. He is the most impressive young 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. Peter was a member of Joshua Redman’s band from 1995 through 1997, playing on Redman’s Freedom in the Groove CD. He played in Diana Krall’s quartet from 1999 through 2001 performing in North America, Europe and Asia.

Peter regularly plays with Dr. Lonnie Smith, the legendary organist who was introduced on the George Benson Cookbook albums. He has recorded five CDs with organist Melvin Rhyne, known for his association with Wes Montgomery. In addition, Peter has appeared in groups led by Nicholas Payton, Lee Konitz, Tom Harrell, and Eric Alexander.

Peter has been fortunate to gain the respect of his peers and mentors. He has been recognized in both the readers’ and critics’ polls in Downbeat Magazine for the past three years.