Local guitarist and producer John Bercik has come together with R&B-funk band Chucktown to release the ensemble’s first original jazz album, Bounce, out of Sun River Studios at his Johns Island home.
“We picked our favorite tracks of our favorite jazz and funk musicians and didn’t stop until we got a similar sound,” he said of the crew that includes longtime pros Larry Ford on keys, synth and percussion; Jeff Holt on vocals and bass; Chris Williams on alto sax and keys; Paul Gelpi on guitar; and Princess Crawford on vocals.
With an array of multi-instrumentalists and seasoned vocalists, the songwriting process was as eclectic as their specialties. “Sometimes we just started with a swing rhythm. Sometimes it’ll be a bass groove that Jeff has that fits really well. Other times Larry will have a jazz chord progression. It starts with different styles,” he said.
With Sun River Studios at their fingertips, studio time could stretch on without limit. “We spent hundreds of hours polishing it and getting it to the quality we wanted,” said Bercik. He has had the home setup for over 10 years, but after a 2015 tornado destroyed the original house, he rebuilt from the ground up. Chucktown affectionately refers to the old studio as “tornado house.”
As for Ford, he’s all about the creative input of local musicians for future endeavors: “We plan to do more recordings and express the experience of living in Charleston, growing up in Charleston. That’s the sound we want to make known nationally.”