Primary Instrument: Bass
As bassist and composer, Chuck Bergeron is one of the most active and innovative musicians working in the field of jazz. Equally versatile on the acoustic and electric bass, his unique compositional style and approach to improvisation reflect a wide variety of musical influences and confirm a deep commitment to the rich polyrhythmic characteristics of his musical and cultural heritage.
Chuck’s newest CD, My Take - A collection of Friends and Standards, is his fifth as a leader. This recording is a collection of standards plus one Mingus composition produced in conjunction with his good friend and teaching colleague, Dr. Phil Strange. The arrangements, crafted to feature the melodic possibilities of the bass, showcase Phil’s unique approach to improvisation and feature guest appearances by New York jazz luminary Charles Pillow and vocalist Kevin Mahogany.
For the last five years Chuck has been bassist and co-arranger for Kevin Mahogany, Downbeat's male vocalist of the year. This work, together with long affiliation with the Woody Herman Big Band, keeps Chuck busy traveling and performing throughout the year.
As a faculty member of the University of Miami and member of the International Association of Jazz Educators, Chuck also teaches jazz history, conducts big bands and small jazz ensembles, performs frequently at yearly conventions, and is an active clinician at schools throughout the country. He has also released several educational videos and play-along CDs through DCI and RhythmTech Inc.
Born and raised in New Orleans, Chuck began studying music at the age of 8. After switching from drums to bass at 17, he began working professionally around town. Chuck continued his education by earning a Bachelors Degree in Music from Loyola University and a Masters Degree in Jazz Studies from the University of Miami. Upon completion of this work, Chuck moved to New York, where he resided for 12 years while touring, performing, and recording with a wide range of jazz luminaries including Joe Williams, Stan Getz, Randy Brecker, Ronnie Cuber, Steve Gadd, Carl Allen, Larry Coryell, John Fedchock, Dave Grusin, Dave Weckl, Art Lande, Joey Calderazzo, Dave Stryker, Steve Slagel, Tierney Sutton, Adam Nussbaum, Bob Moses... and the big bands of Woody Herman and Buddy Rich.
Chuck's wealth of performing experience and compositional skills led to the formation of The Chuck Bergeron Quartet and his 1996 debut release Loyalties. This ASCAP award-winning CD features great performances by Randy Brecker, Charles Pillow, and Adam Nussbaum with special guests John Hart and Johnny Vidacovich in a series of Chuck's original compositions.
From 1997 to mid-2000 Chuck spent a great deal of time in Seattle, producing recordings for other jazz musicians and developing his sound in the context of a trio format. The Chuck Bergeron Trio resulted--a unique and critically-acclaimed ensemble that has performed with many artists, including Brian Lynch, Bobby Shew, John Fedchock, Randy Brecker, Kim Pensyl, and Marvin Stamm.
The culmination of Bergeron's New York experience in congress with his tenure in Seattle produced his second CD, the '98 Challenge Records release, Compositions Coast to Coast, featuring the great trumpet work of Randy Brecker with Miles Davis alumni Rick Margitza on tenor and Challenge Records artist Charles Pillow on saxophone and bass clarinet.
In 2001 Double-Time Records presented Chuck's highly acclaimed Cause and Effect, featuring jazz greats John Abercrombie, Peter Erskine, and Bob Moses. Dr. Herb Wong praised it by saying, This new series of original compositions by Chuck is his most formidable to date, stretching the limits of the music to create an exciting recording that is emotionally stimulating both to the listener and the performer.
Never relinquishing his focus on performing, Chuck balances his educational endeavors with a continual schedule of touring, performing, and recording that keep him active year 'round.