The world of music in the Caribbean is once again in mourning. This Friday, August 20, Martinique was suddenly plunged into great sadness when it learned of Jacky Bernard’s death at the age of 69.
This talented pianist, composer and arranger was one of the many victims of Covid-19. Those who saw the ambulance come to pick up the musician never thought that he would not return home after overcoming this terrible disease. Unfortunately, that was not the case.
We cannot talk about Creole Jazz in Martinique and the Caribbean without mentioning the band Fal Frett that Jacky Bernard created in 1976 when he was 24 years old with his brothers Alex Bernard (double bass) and Nicol Bernard (percussion and vibraphone) as well as two friends Bib Monville (saxophone) and Jacky Alpha (drums), a quintet joined in 1979 by Ralph Thamar (vocals). These young people wanted to launch a new musical colour and they succeeded. In the years that followed, other musicians (Robin Vautor, Tony Chasseur, André Woodvine etc.) played with the famous band but the “Bernard Brothers” (whose father was also a musician), as they were called, were the backbone of Fal Frett.
Until 1984, these worthy successors of another great pianist from the Island of Flowers, Marius Cultier, regularly released albums : Untel (1977), In the Wake of the Sunshine (1978), Ziriguidum (1981), Contemplation Pipiri (1983), Cha Pistache (1984). After, it took about ten years to appreciate new compositions, including with the albums Déferlante (1994), Live Atrium (2001), Bleu Outremer (2002) and Histoire d’une Vie (2013). However, national and international tours (Caribbean, North America, South America, Africa) enabled the Martinique-based musical band to build a solid reputation.
Jacky Bernard will remain a great defender of the musical heritage of Martinique and the Creole Caribbean.