"Chuck Bernstein is a drummer's drummer, a wise veteran of the San Francisco jazz scene, and a deep soul whose love of music informs everything he plays. Whether stoking a fiery tempo, caressing a ballad, or trading "fours", Chuck is in-the-moment with a *joie de vivre that always lifts the bandstand. Adept with hands, brushes and mallets as well as sticks, Chuck is a rhythmic Rock of Gibraltar. He's also a passionately lyrical soloist in the tradition of Shelly Manne. What's more, he's got taste. Drummer-musician par excellence, Chuck Bernstein's the real deal."
Chuck Berg - Professor & chair of Theatre & Film at the Univ. of Kansas
Downbeat, Jazz Times, Jazz Educators Journal,
Coda, and the Oxford Companion to Jazz
Drummer Chuck Bernstein was born in San Francisco California on October 28, 1940. He studied tap dance (1951-1953) and sang in the Beth Israel Junior Choir (1954-1955). Mainly self-taught, Chuck began playing drums in August 1955. Later, he studied with Art Flower at Drumland (1964-1965), John Rae (1964), George Marsh (1979-1981), and Scott Morris (1994-1995). Chuck was also a contributing writer for Modern Drummer magazine (1981-1985)--best known for his interviews with Shelly Manne, Billy Higgins, and George Marsh. A highly adaptable musician, he has performed in a variety of musical settings, from Blues to Rock to Jazz: (Blues) Charlie Musselwhite, Luther Tucker, Freddie Roulette, Mike Henderson, Lisa Kindred, and Nick Gravenites; (Rock) Barry Melton, John Cippolina, Peter Albin, Mike Wilhelm, John Kahn, Billy Roberts, and Greg Douglas; (Jazz) Roswell Rudd, Norma Teagarden, John Rae, Don Prell, Smith Dobson, Mel Graves, Mike Formanek, Chuck Travis, Don Alberts, Al Obidinski, George Maribus, Jon Erikson, Vince Wallace, Steve Weber, Max Perkoff, Paul Breslin, and Sweetie Mitchell. Chuck has also performed in Japan with pianists Sadayasu Fujii, "Tad" Sakai, Vibist Hiroshi Matsumoto, and guitarists Takeshi Yamaguchi and Satoshi Inoue. Major influences: Shelly Manne, "Papa" Jo Jones, Kenny Clarke, Max Roach, Roy Haynes, and Thelonious Monk.
The following is a complete list of drummers who have also had a major impact on my drumming. Everyone of these drummers is a Jazz Master. I have spent many hours learning and listening to each of these marvelous individuals create magic and beauty from behind their drumsets. I am forever in their debt: Benny Barth, Dick Berk, Art Blakey, Roy Brooks, Frank Butler, Big Sid Catlett, Jimmy Cobb, Alan Dawson, Warren Baby Dodds, Frankie Dunlop, Vernell Fournier, Louis Hayes, Billy Higgins, Osie Johnson, Philly Joe Jones, Connie Kay, Gene Krupa, Vince Lateano, Mel Lewis, Lawrence Marable, George Marsh, Scott Morris, Buddy Rich, Ben Riley, Mickey Roker, Grady Tate, Ed Thigpen, Shadow Wilson, and Specs Wright.
From 1969 to 1985, I played Blues, Rock, and R&B. During those years, the following individuals were very influential: Tim Davis (Steve Miller), Jim Gordon (Derek and the Dominoes), Spencer Dryden (Jefferson Airplane), Richie Hayward (Little Feat), Levon Helm (The Band), Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart (Grateful Dead), Mitch Mitchell (Jimi Hendrix), Joseph Zigaboo Modeliste (The Meters), Bernard Purdie (Recording Legend), Ringo Starr (The Beatles), Butch Trucks and Jai Johanny Johanson (The Allman Brothers), and Charlie Watts (The Rolling Stones).
Before I attended California Brazil Music Camp in August 2004, I had never heard of Brazilian guitarist-composer Guinga. One afternoon.... (click here to read more).
Chuck Bernstein plays DW Drums and Bosphorus Cymbals exclusively.
Chuck's Drum Setup
1-5x13 American Classic DW snare drum (Remo Fiberskyn 3 FD --- Batter and a Diplomat snare head)
1-8x12 Tom Tom (Top head: Remo Fiberskyn 3 FD. Bottom head: Remo Clear Ambassador.)
1-13x13 Floor Tom (Top head: Remo Fiberskyn 3 FD. Bottom head: Remo Clear Ambassador.)
1-14x16 Bass Drum (Batter side: Remo Coated Emperor with a strip muffler. Front Head: Black DW Remo)
I have three DW Exotic Wood Collector Series drumsets: Birdseye Zebrawood finished in Dark Sunburst, Mapa Burl finished in Burnt Toast, and Kurillian Birch finished in a clear lacquer.
What I find really interesting about those drumsets is that, even though they are all the same exact sizes, each drumset has its own unique personality and sound.
1pair 13" Bosphorus Ultra Light Master Series High Hat Cymbals
Left Side: 1- Bosphorus Traditional Series 20" Flat Ride (This cymbal is a prototype--very light)
Right Side: 1- Bosphorus Master Series 22" Flat Ride with three rivets. Or, 1- Bosphorus Master Series 20" Flat Ride with four rivets.
Drumsticks: Regal Tip 7A Nylon Tip. Or, Regal Tip 7ANE
Brushes: 583R Regal Classic Brush