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Saturday, July 2, 2011



                                                                GIL BERNAL

Gil Bernal was born in Watts, California. The son of an Italian father and a Mexican mother, Gil attended Jordan High School and enrolled at Los Ageles City College for one year before going on the road with Lionel Hampton.

  From an early age, Gil became totally absorbed in the black culture that surrounded him particularly, jazz. The neighborhood was rich with jazz talents such as Britt and William Woodman, Charlie Mingus, Big Jay McNeely and Buddy Collette.

  He picked up the tenor sax, began singing and joined local neighborhood bands playing at parties and dances.

   Gil’s reputation grew and soon thereafter, jazz legend, Lionel Hampton, heard him and hired him.  Gil spent the next three years touring the U.S. and Canada with the band as a featured tenor -sax soloist and vocalist.

  It was while taking classes at Los Angeles City College that Gil met Mike Stoller, a young, struggling songwriter. Stoller and his partner Jerry Leiber started Spark Records who signed local group the Robins.

  Gil would play sax on a number of Robin's songs most notably "Riot In cell Block No. 9" and Smokey Joe's Cafe". In 1955 Atlantic records signed Leiber, Stoller and the Robins & moved them all to New York. The Robins would be renamed The Coasters and go on to have many hits including "Yakety Yak" and "Poison Ivy".

  Before departing from Los Angeles Gil would record for sides for Spark Records. "Easyville" and "The Whip" Spark 102 and "Strawberry Stomp" and "King Solomon's Blues" Spark 106.

Later Bernal would play sax on the Duane Eddy hit "Rebel Rouser"

  Other notable Gil Bernal recordings are "Keep Those Wandering Eyes Off My Baby" for American Records and "Tower Of Strength" for the Imperial label.

You may listen to Gil Bernal "The Whip" here:

You may listen to Gil Bernal "Keep Those Wandering Eyes Off My Baby" here:

You May Listen To Gil Bernal "Tower Of Strength" here:


Solely for historical, educational and listening pleasure.


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