Bert started playing guitar professionally in Illinois in 1976. He worked the downstate region, playing jazz, blues, shows, and commercial gigs. He also did some teaching at Illinois State University and Lincoln College.

Photograph by Bert CarlsonIn 1985, Bert moved to Washington, D.C., where for the next 14 years he averaged over 300 engagements a year, doing music in a variety of styles and venues. His recording in D.C. included commercials, television spots, film music, and studio work on various CDs. He taught privately, did school programs, and played in a wide spectrum of bands.

At times throughout his career Bert has traveled to various parts of the country doing concerts. In 1999 he moved to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and is still actively engaged full-time in performing. Most of his playing in recent years has been in jazz and blues, but he still frequently plays material from past experiences in rock, country, bluegrass, traditional jazz, and pop. He often performs as a soloist, but also plays in many bands as both a leader and a sideman. Since 2009, Bert has taught guitar as a member of the adjunct faculty at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, VA.

Since 2003, Bert has contributed guitar work and arrangements on two CDs with jazz vocalist Jennifer Kirkland. They are available at

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