The festival gods have been kind to the Bernard Allison Group this summer.
“We haven’t had any rainouts,” Bernard Allison said before his crowd-pleasing set at the Ninth Annual Morristown Jazz & Blues Festival on Saturday.
A year ago, he and closer Davy Knowles were not so lucky. The heavens deluged the Morristown Green and neither man got to play a note.
“We were ready,” Allison remembered. “Me and Davy were talking, we said we gotta come back. We blocked our calendars out.”
An estimated 2,500 spectators were rewarded for their patience with exciting, precipitation-free performances by both artists over the weekend.
Allison prides himself on incorporating many styles into his guitar work. His late father, bluesman Luther Allison, encouraged him to blaze his own musical trail.
To honor his dad, who would have turned 80 on Saturday, Bernard Allison covered his signature tune, Serious — spicing the blues with a twist of reggae:
At 53, Bernard Allison appears to be hitting his prime. Our camera caught this solo just as he was shifting into high gear:
The Allison household gave Bernard a priceless education in his youth. His father brought home pals like Willie Dixon, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Johnny Winter.
Bernard, the youngest of nine children, paid attention. Winter taught him to play slide guitar:
Bottom line: If Bernard Allison ever tells you he wants to let things slide, be very, very happy.
Slideshow photos by Kevin Coughlin. Click/hover on images for captions: