The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

April 22, 2013

Bernie Dresel brings home big band beat

Sharon native in Y-town date

SHARON — When music historians look back on the big band revival that hit in the ’90s, they will find one name that connects some of the biggest of those big bands - Bernie Dresel.

The Sharon native put in several years as the drummer for the Brian Setzer Orchestra, has sat in with Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, and now anchors Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band.

An in-demand session drummer who keeps the beat for movie and television soundtracks and award-winning performers, the 51-year-old Dresel considers himself one of the elite drummers in the world as a result of hard work, but doesn’t believe he has reached his peak.

“I’m getting better and better,” he said.

Dresel will play with the 20-piece Phat Band at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Stambaugh Auditorium, Youngstown.

“This is the closest I’ve ever played to Sharon with one of these major bands,” he said, encouraging music and drum fans to make the effort to see the show.

“I may never do it again,” he said.

Dresel has cut back his touring since he exited the Setzer band a number of years ago in order to concentrate on session work. However, he is willing to turn down more lucrative session work to play with Goodwin.

“This is a special group,” he said. “It is probably the best big band of all time and probably forever, based on the quality of individual musicians. You will be blown away.”

He called the Phat Band a “modern big band” because of how it dips into samba, funk and Cuban rhythms.

“It’s not your granddad’s big band,” said Dresel, whose younger brother Jonathan, is the house drummer for “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”

While some granddads enjoy Goodwin’s stylings, the music has more than its share of younger fans, and has become a staple of school bands, Dresel said.

“All age groups love this big band sound,” he said. “This is very accessible to the public. It’s not intellectual like a lot of jazz. It’s deep but it’s fun. This isn’t pop music but if definitely is not going to go over people’s heads.”

The band is heading to Australia in May, affording Dresel his first visit down under.

Goodwin actually doesn’t tour all that much, leaving Dresel plenty of time for session work. “He’s been working on “Planes,” an upcoming Disney movie; the next “Star Trek”; the new Superman flick, “Man of Steel”; and “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol.”

For television, he’s regularly heard on “Family Guy,” “The Simpsons,” “American Dad” and “The Cleveland Show.”

He played behind Norah Jones on “Everybody Needs a Best Friend,” her Oscar-nominated song from “Ted,” and on her recent appearance on “The Tonight Show.”

He’s booked for a couple of gigs with tenor Andrea Bocelli.

When Dresel is not otherwise engaged, he leads a 12-piece funk band called Bern. It has four vocalists, four horns and four rhythm instruments that play ‘70s classics from the likes of Chaka Khan, Steve Wonder and Tower of Power.

More a concert band than a dance band, Bern is even known to do something that Queen never did - perform “Bohemian Rhapsody” all the way through on stage.

The father of two teenage daughters also is breaking in a new drum company, Craviotto, after years with Drum Workshop. Unlike most commercially available drums, which are made of shells of thin layers of wood glued together, Craviotto employs single-ply shells.

“These drums are amazing,” Dresel said. “It’s pretty rare to hear them, now, but they’ll be like Stradivarius,” a reference to the storied violin maker.

For tickets to Goodwin’s Wednesday concert, call 330-259-0555, or log on to www.stambaughauditorium.com

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Intruder hurts woman, takes $5

    A home invasion in Hermitage Friday night sent an elderly woman to the hospital and netted the robber $5.

    July 27, 2014

  • national night out March against crime set for Aug. 5

    At the last Southwest Mercer County Regional Police Commission meeting, Chief Riley Smoot Jr. presented the number of incidents for each of the four communities in May.

    Farrell topped out at 819.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • high street trail Peaceful pathways

    History buffs and picnickers in the Shenango Valley won’t have to drive to Sharpsville to hang out at the old Erie Canal extension lock. They’ll soon have the option to walk or roll in on bicycles and even powered chairs to visit Canal Park near the outflow of Shenango Dam.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • balloonquest1 Balloon Quest celebrates 25 years

    Today is the final day of the 25th annual Western Pennsylvania Balloon Quest at Scotland Meadows Park.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • News briefs from July 26, 2014

    Man faces bomb threat charges

    June building tops $4 million in Hermitage

    July 26, 2014

  • Elderly man survives plane crash

    An elderly man survived wrecking his plane into a bank, then landing into a wetland, about 200 feet south of Runway 28 at Grove City Regional Airport in Springfield Township on Friday.

    July 26, 2014

  • Dontae Rashad Pinkins Man arrested for April gunfight

    Federal marshals and local police arrested Dontae Rashad Pinkins Thursday on a warrant accusing him of involvement in an April gunfight with another man in a Sharon alley.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hearing changed in starving case

    The time and place for the preliminary hearing of a Greenville mom accused of starving and beating her 7-year-old young son has been changed.

    July 26, 2014

  • Schell working on mural Drawn to Mexico

    Jason Schell probably is not exaggerating when he says that millions of people have seen his art.

    July 26, 2014 4 Photos

  • Farrell man, 24, arrested on warrant in connection with April shooting

    Federal marshals and local police arrested Dontae Rashad Pinkins Thursday on a warrant accusing him of involvement in an April shootout in Sharon.


    Pinkins, 24, of Farrell, is in Mercer County Jail after failing to post bond on gun charges.

    Additional details to follow.
     

    July 25, 2014

  • Firm will study timing of traffic signals

    Hermitage commissioners on Wednesday hired Whitman, Requardt and Associates LLP to study the timing scheme of traffic signals along parts of Hermitage Road and East State Street.

    July 25, 2014

  • 3 area fire depts. awarded grants

    Three area fire departments will share in more than $590,000 in grants meant to help Pennsylvania’s rural communities guard against the threat of fires in forests and other undeveloped areas, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Ellen Ferretti announced.

    July 25, 2014

  • One suspect in home shooting is jailed

    The first of three suspects police say were involved in an attempted robbery that ended in a shooting is in jail.

    July 25, 2014

  • Dancing kids K.I.D.S. day

    Hoping to reach children at just the right age, when they are old enough to understand but not past the point where it may be too late, Mercer County Behavioral Health Commission counselors held an “alternative activities” day at the courthouse Thursday, complete with music and dancing, hot dogs and treats, games and T-shirts.

    July 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • Better security Grant available to boost security in district courts

    County officials are looking to quickly upgrade security systems in the five district judge offices, not due to an increase in risk, but because current systems are antiquated and there is a short window to apply for some financial help with the costs.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo