Jim Beard

About Jim Beard

Jim Beard was raised in Philadelphia but went to New York in 1985 intent on a career as a pianist. Soon, however, he found his work as a composer in demand and thereafter pursued both aspects of his work. He toured worldwide with John McLaughlin in 1986, Wayne Shorter in 1986-1987, and Pat Metheny in 1992, and he also worked with John Scofield and Randy and Michael Brecker. While it might be apt to describe his as a jazz-rock repertoire, this fails to demonstrate its astonishingly eclectic nature. He drew upon several jazz forms as well as Latin, modern pop, rock, funk, and country, and there was also an always-present atmosphere of joie de vivre in Beard's music. Much of his recorded work stemmed from his own compositions, and many of his arrangements sought to underline the uninhibited enjoyment and impish pleasure he clearly had in his music. In the early to mid-'90s, he was associated with Didier Lockwood, Mike Stern, and Chuck Loeb, playing on the latter's 1996 session The Music Inside. As a record producer, he worked with Bob Berg (1991's Back Roads) and Stern (1994's Is What It Is), both of which were Grammy nominated. In addition to piano, he made extensive use of synthesizers in his playing and as a hobby collected old synthesizers. Beard died on March 2, 2024, at the age of 63.

Ridley Park, PA, United States
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