Legendary funk, soul and jazz musician Bernard Wright has reportedly died. Guitarist and former Jamaica Boys bandleader Billy “Spaceman” Patterson confirmed he passed away on Thursday (May 19), although no cause of death has been disclosed.
“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,” Patterson wrote. “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, who is perhaps best known for his 1981 album ‘Nard, has been sampled by numerous Hip Hop artists over the years, including 2Pac, Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, Kamaiyah, Skee-Lo, Dr. Dre and LL COOL J.
For Skee-Lo’s hit song, 1995’s “I Wish,” he sampled Wright’s 1981 single “Spinnin” from the Nard album, while Snoop Dogg borrowed from the Nard track “Haboglabotribin'” for “Gz & Hustlas” from his 1993 debut Doggystyle as did 2Pac for “Lie To Kick It.”
The list goes on and on, carrying Wright’s legacy beyond just jazz, soul and funk. Wright’s final solo album, Brand New Gospel Format, arrived in 1993. Prior to that, he released two other R&B albums — Fresh Hymns and Fresh Hymns II — in the ’90 before moving to Texas and becoming a jazz and R&B session musician for Miles Davis, Marcus Miller and Cameo.
HipHopDX sends our condolences to all of Wright’s family and friends. Check out some of Wright’s sampled work below.