Legendary jazz-funk keyboard player, singer, and songwriter Bernard Wright has died at the age of 58, according to his family.
A friend of the family shared the news on social media saying, “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 a brilliant talent from his early days. He toured with Lenny White at 13 and played with Tom Browne in 1979. He got such a strong response that he was signed to GRP in 1981.
He released his debut LP, ’Nard in 1981, when he was only 18 years old. The album reached No.7 on the Jazz Albums chart in the US. On the project, he played keyboards, synthesizer, piano, melodica, and handled vocals.
It was followed by Funky Beat and Mr. Wright, the latter of which was a massive hit thanks to the strength of his single “Who Do You Love,” featuring guest vocals by singer Marla Adler. “Who Do You Love” was covered by The Winans in 1999, as well as by co-writer Lenny White in 1995. Since the song’s release, it has been sampled in numerous other songs, including “Never Been in Love B4” by Shinehead, “If It Ain’t Love” by Tichina Arnold, “Tell Me (I’ll Be Around)” by Shades, “Who Is a Thug” by Big Pun, “Is It Kool?” by Luniz. It was also featured in the remix of “Loungin” by LL Cool J.
Wright also co-wrote and sang with La La on “We’ll Keep Strivin.” He recorded with Cameo, Bobby Brown, Pieces of a Dream, and Charles Earland, among others.