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Interviews

Steven Bernstein: Proud Member of the Pre-Computer Absorption Generation

By Published: November 20, 2006

People ask, 'how do you write all this different music? You do so many different things.' But my philosophy is that I absorb it and I just put it out. Im always getting ideas because Im always listening to music, constantly buying new CDs.

Steven BernsteinTrumpeter/composer/arranger Steven Bernstein may be the ultimate Downtown jazz personality. Certainly, he's one of the most ubiquitous and hard-working since he began playing in New York in the 1980s after relocating from California. In addition to playing with, well, everyone, he was a member of the 1990s edition of John Lurie's Lounge Lizards and a co-leader of the 1990s trio Spanish Fly. Meeting producer/impresario Hal Willner (who produced the first Spanish Fly album) led to a long association that's continued to this day—Bernstein having become Willner's indispensable bandleader/arranger for many of his multiartist events, including tributes to artists like Doc Pomus, Harold Arlen and Leonard Cohen. Bernstein's scored films and television shows, done commercial jingles, worked with pop players such as Lou Reed, Marianne Faithfull and Sting—you've probably heard his playing even if you've never listened to a single jazz recording, and his reliability in all these musical situations has put him in the enviable position of being able to do what he wants.

In 1995, he formed the quartet Sex Mob, perhaps the archetypal hipster Downtown band, and the first Bernstein group to feature its leader on slide trumpet, a long-disdained instrument that resembles (and is played like) a small trombone. Sex Mob recently released its fifth CD, Sexotica, on the Thirsty Ear label. Bernstein formed his other current band, the nine-piece Millenial Territory Orchestra, in 1999. While this group was formed to pursue Bernstein's fascination with the territory jazz groups of the 1920s and 1930s, its repertoire covers a vast range and includes contemporary tunes like Prince's "Darling Nikki ; MTO's version of this song on the recently-released Sunnyside record MTO Volume 1 has gotten Bernstein attention in media circles not previously interested in the Downtown jazz scene.

Bernstein's easy to interview. He's a natural raconteur and as big a fan of music as he is a player. I spoke with him about Sex Mob, the MTO, his Baby Loves Jazz project, his role in the Levon Helm Band, and much more.

All About Jazz: Are you ready to be interviewed?

Steven Bernstein: Hold on, I'm going to go in the back yard. Let me put a little music on the record player. I still can't stop buying records. I keep saying I'm going to stop. But I went to this street fair and got this Duane Allman: An Anthology (Polydor, 1972). It's actually good, man. It starts with all his sideman stuff. He made a lot of records as a sideman. Hmm, how about this old George Duke album. I have so many records; I'm a little obsessive.

AAJ: Do you just buy used vinyl?

SB: Yeah. Well, I buy CDs. I keep saying I'm not going to buy any more CDs either, but then I'll find some great store when I'm on the road. I was just in Chicago for a day, and we had three hours between shows and I was back at the hotel. I said, "Hey, I think I'm right around the corner from Jazz Record Mart, and sure enough, I was. I had 45 minutes at Jazz Record Mart.

AAJ: Well, I live in Chicago, so I know firsthand that 45 minutes can be $450 spent if you're not careful.

SB: I know. But I walked out with a huge pile. Just getting one from each subject is a huge pile.

AAJ: I'm just glad to talk to a musician who still buys music. A lot of people I interview don't buy records anymore.

SB: Well, that's why I'm kind of a unique musician. People ask, "How do you write all this different music? You do so many different things. But my philosophy is that I absorb it and I just put it out. I'm always getting ideas because I'm always listening to music, constantly buying new CDs. Everything has some idea in it—"Oh, I never heard that before. I write so many arrangements, so I'll think, "Oh, I've got to write an arrangement of this song. Or "I've got to take this lick and throw it into the next thing I write.

AAJ: That's a very good thing to do.

SB: Of course, man! That's how you create a vocabulary. You absorb things. You hear something and use it, but when you retranslate it, it comes out different. It's like with Sex Mob—we'd play a song and people wouldn't even recognize it. And we'd have played it exactly like it was on the record. Literally—as far as the notes. The intention may have been very different, but harmonically, we'd have taken the exact same notes. But people don't recognize it because they're used to hearing the record, and I'm just taking the notes of the record.

AAJ: Context and tone are huge to people. But there's also the fact that some rock people only hear rock. Some jazz people only hear jazz. So if you play something from an area they've never heard, and it's out of the blue for them.

SB: Well, I'll tell you something interesting. The Millennial Territory Orchestra's been such a New York phenomenon—I mean, in the sense that a lot of people know us in this tiny community of people. In this tiny world we're talking about, people know what I do. But now that it's gotten out into other worlds, people have started—as they tend to do—to identify things and categorize them. And I think people have begun to hear what not just me, but a lot of people in New York have been doing. I think with this MTO record, I'm kind of putting out to the world this real combination of everything. We've absorbed everything. That's how we grew up. We're the pre-computer absorption generation.

AAJ: Right—the music has gone straight up to the original hard drive between your ears.

SB: Exactly. On the other hand, there's so much to absorb, and so much to learn, that I'm always getting embarrassed. I had some time off yesterday in the city, so I went to this one store—the only clothing store I like in New York City. They get these really cool clothes from England that nobody else gets. Anyway, they're playing this one song and I recognized it. I knew it was a really famous song. And I can't hear lyrics, so I can't ever tell what a song is by its words. It just sounds like the teacher in "Peanuts. I just hear the drum part, the bass part; I'm seeing the score in my head as I hear it. I looked at the people at the store, this really nice couple, and said, "This is a really famous song, right? What is it? They said, "'Whole Lotta Love' I said, "By The Who? They just gave me a look and said, totally flat, "No, Led Zeppelin. There are some things that everyone in the world knows that I just don't know. I never listened to Led Zeppelin or The Who, so when I hear that stuff, I know it's that kind of music, but I'm not quite sure which one it is.

AAJ: Well, you were in the right zone.

SB: Yeah, I knew it was that. We've been doing "I Can See For Miles for about three years now in Sex Mob. Originally, my wife was with me in the car—she likes to listen to classic rock—and the song came on, and I was like, "Wow, this is cool. What is it? She just looked at me and said, "The Who, 'I Can See For Miles.' It was like asking somebody what that red sign is that says S-T-O-P. But I actually had the song on a record, because I'll just buy a box of rock records for five dollars so I can have them. So I had this Who collection. So I found the song and wrote it out that night. That's a good tune, man.

AAJ: That's one of their best. I love the one-note guitar solo.

SB: Yeah. Anyway, we haven't even started the interview yet.

AAJ: This is the interview. But I guess I will get a little more formal. Let's start by talking about your longstanding nine-piece Millennial Territory Orchestra, which, after a couple of extended residencies at Tonic and the Jazz Standard, finally released its first record on Sunnyside, MTO Volume 1. This group, to some extent, is reflecting your interest in late 1920s-early 1930s jazz bands—the so-called territory bands from the Midwest.

SB:Yeah, and listen—I just got a new collection from Chicago. The first three songs that I transcribed for the band were all from Chicago. I don't think any of them ended up on the first record. Two Tiny Parnhams and one from a guy named Preston Jackson, who was a Chicago trombone player who played with Louis Armstrong. Even though it's not considered a "territory of the territory bands, Chicago had a lot of bands with violin in them. Violin, for whatever reason, was really big in Chicago bands in the twenties. And I really wanted to check out bands that had violin.

AAJ: Well, of course. You have a violin in the group.

SB: So I just listened to one of the records I got at the Jazz Record Mart in Chicago, called something like Black Chicago Bands of the Twenties. [Actually, Hot Stuff: Black Chicago Bands 1922-29, Frog Records], and there's a band called Fess Williams and his Joy Boys, that had three violins! Two trumpets, trombone, three saxophones, three violins, tuba, banjo, piano, drums. And it's unbelievable.

AAJ: Well, if you have three violins, what are they doing? Are they keeping time?

SB: No, sometimes they're playing unison melodies, sometimes they're playing little sax-like soli in harmony. It's an incredible sound. I think there were all these mob clubs with people dancing, and they wanted to dance to sweet tunes, too. So they had violin in the band. I'm pretty sure that's why they all had violins. So yeah, anyway—MTO started off with this twenties thing. I had this interest in the sound. I knew the stuff existed, because I'd seen about a million pictures in all these jazz history books I'd read; there were always these guys in the tuxedos, and they've got the violins, saxophones, clarinets. So I thought, "Let's just bring the sound back and see what happens. We'd take the sound, but not like in some recreation—not making some sort of examples for school programs.

AAJ: Well, MTO doesn't seem like any sort of tribute band that just recreates a style.

SB: No. It's a real band of friends and improvisers.

AAJ: Tell me how this group started out and how it works as a continuous entity.

SB: It started because I had been doing Friday nights at midnight with Sex Mob at Tonic since it opened. And it got really huge. It got to the point that our crowd starting going down, because the crowds were so big at one point that there would be a line of people waiting to get in—you couldn't move. It was that little moment where it was one of those things to do in the summer: go see Sex Mob at midnight. It was before no-smoking; Giuliani hadn't totally clamped down on New York yet. It was the end of having some sense of, "You're in New York. You can do whatever the hell you want. It's one o'clock in the morning in the Lower East Side. This is our zone. Actors, models, that whole thing. People who just wanted to be free to do whatever would come and hang. But then [bassist] Tony [Scherr] and [drummer] Ken [Wollesen] started working with [guitarist] Bill Frisell. Bill hired both of them as his trio; he basically hired my rhythm section.

AAJ: You were screwed.

SB: [Laughing] I kind of felt like that at the time. I've since come to appreciate the fact, but at the time I was like, "Fuck. And I wanted to keep playing. Meanwhile, I'd had this gnawing thing at the back of my head, thinking about this music. I'd been buying a lot of it, and it was like being sucked down this hole—I kept going out and getting these records, finding these collections of twenties and thirties music, and spending all my time listening to it. So I thought, "Fuck it, man, I'm just going to put together a band with this instrumentation. I'll keep the night, and start a new band. I had no idea what kind of musicians I was going to get. Literally until the night before, I probably didn't have a band. Or music—I didn't even know what music I was going to do. I just wanted to get this instrumentation. I wanted clarinet, tenor, a guy who played baritone and soprano—him, I knew.

One thing that really inspired me was the idea of the saxophones switching instruments. Mingus had done that on The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady (Impulse!, 1963), a record that I'd been listening to a lot at that time. And that record's got almost the same instrumentation, but it has a guitar in it. Jerome Richardson plays baritone and soprano there, so sometimes you have him playing the bottom reed and sometimes you have him playing the top reed, and that can really change how everything sounds. So you can change everything by pivoting one person. Originally, I was going to get really super-Downtown-ey rhythm guys and then straighter horn guys. But because you never know who's available, I ended up with this band with more of a groove type of drummer—it just ended up with this sound. And that's how it started. I had maybe two arrangements and we improvised the rest of the show. We just kind of went for it. And no real rehearsal. I think we just rehearsed downstairs right before the gig.

For the second show, we did the same thing. We met downstairs. And there were already two musicians that couldn't make it—you know, people are always subbing out in New York, because somebody's always on the road. And that was the night of [trumpeter] Lester Bowie's funeral in New York. And man, a bunch of us had been to the funeral and I was really emotional—and probably a little ripped too, in honor of Lester. I had a cigar and cognac and other things. It was a really emotional funeral. Some of the most stoic people I knew were breaking down in tears. People just couldn't talk; they were devastated. And so then we played this show. I started with "St. Louis Blues, and the show was incredible. After the show, this guy comes up to me—and remember, this was our second gig, we don't really have a personnel, we have like three or four songs, we've never had a real rehearsal—and says, "I run a festival in Norway, and I have to have you this summer; I'm going to get you a summer tour. So [laughing] I said, "Okay. So from that second gig, we got a little mini-European tour. We did three huge festivals in Europe that summer.

So after two gigs, this band already had this little thing happening. And it just kept going. The only two personnel changes, really, were when people went on the road for extended periods of time and someone else came in and the music just changed around the new person. I never really fired the other person, but when they came back, it was like, "Miss a beat, lose your seat. The music had just changed, and you can't really go back once the music evolves. It may seem kind of mean, but it's just the way it was. A new person came in and kind of rewrote the part. Chris Speed had originally played clarinet, and he had gone to Italy for three or four months. So Doug [Wieselman] came in, and that was it, man. I couldn't really go back. The music had changed. And it was the same thing with Roberto Rodriguez, the original drummer. He went on the road with Joe Jackson, and Ben Perowsky came in.

Originally, it was all twenties music—twenties and early thirties. But then, really early on, I'd done a "reefer song concert—where I made a whole concert of doing all reefer songs with guest vocalists. And afterwards [singer/guitarist] Doug Wamble said, "Oh, I can sing that song —[Fats Waller's] "The Reefer Song. So we started doing that, and people were loving Doug's voice. Doug's a young kid from Memphis, and he's never been part of the Downtown scene, and he's just flowering. He'd been in Chicago, actually, before, and then he came to New York to be with Wynton [Marsalis]. And so that's kind of what he knew about music. So now suddenly he's around all these people who are like, "Hey man, here you are, play—do whatever you want. Whatever you feel like playing, just play it. Have a good time. No judgment. And he's just exploding, man. This young kid. He's really amazing to watch, because he's from another generation—the post-Wynton generation.

I'm from the psychedelic generation, the Art Ensemble generation. The Rahsaan Roland Kirk generation. And I'm walking in the mall—there's this fucked-up mall where I live and sometimes you have to go there to get stuff. So when I'm at the mall, I suddenly hear this arrangement of [Stevie Wonder's] "Signed, Sealed, Delivered in my head; I hear the whole thing. So later I said to Doug, "Hey, can you sing this song? He said yeah, so I wrote this arrangement. And once I wrote that, I suddenly knew: "Oh, I can do any kind of music now.

AAJ: And there's no turning back after that.

SB: Yeah. Because I suddenly realized that it doesn't really matter. Any song I like, I can write for this band and it's going to sound like this band. It's going to sound like this new kind of music that is this old kind of music being interpreted by this group of people.

So when I'd bring in a tune, one time I'd bring in a twenties tune, and one time I'd bring in a modern tune. I try to keep mixing it up. If I'd bring in a couple modern ones in a row, I'd think, "Okay, I have to go back to the twenties stuff and pull out something new from there. I'm going do this Harry James from 1938 or '39, and it's kind of amazing—even though it's a little later, it references all that old riff stuff. I may even have to hit this 1928 Chicago one called "Nightmare [by Elgar's Creole Orchestra], which is really incredible.

Steven BernsteinAAJ: No one's going to know that song but you.

SB: No [laughing]. Exactly. But I'm actually surprised at how many people do know. Well, there aren't many, but there are these jazz historian guys like Will Friedwald, who know all this stuff. It's amazing.

AAJ: I think it's perfect to do any song you want. But as the group has gotten noticed outside of the Downtown thing, it seems that a lot of people have jumped on the contemporary tunes.

SB: Of course! Because those are the ones that they recognize.

AAJ: That's the hook for them.

SB: That's the hook. [Prince's] "Darling Nikki is the one. "Darling Nikki is the hit, and now I pretty much have to do it every week because people really want to hear it. It's also a very cathartic arrangement that people kind of love; it's a real voyage.

AAJ: It's a very, very good arrangement. It really uses a lot of different colors and voices really successfully, and it's true to the original song and original at the same time. Hey, I hear two guitars at the beginning of that one.

SB: No, it's violin. Charlie Burnham.

AAJ: Oh, of course. So all this stuff was pretty much recorded live.

SB: Everything was recorded live. There are no overdubs anywhere on the record.

AAJ: And the arrangements are all yours.

SB: Well, some of them are transcriptions, but I don't do exact transcriptions. There are people, like Don Byron or Dave Berger, where that's really part of their art. They make exact transcriptions. What I do is usually take the top melody and the bottom melody—and after that, I'm like, "Okay, what do I feel is going to work in my context with this?

So the "Pennies From Heaven arrangement is pretty damn close to the Don Redman arrangement. It's not an exact transcription, but if you listened to it, you'd totally recognize that it's that Don Redman arrangement.

AAJ: That's a reasonable way to work. It's just not slavishly literal.

SB: Well, it's just the way I like to do things. Like I was saying to someone: every musician's duty is to remake the music in their own image. And you also have to remake the process in your own image. So that's not part of my process; I don't feel the need to make exact transcriptions. That's not who I am. There are some people who are very exacting, and they live their lives that way. I'm just not that way [laughing].

AAJ: Well, everyone should just do what they want, work the way they want. You've said the group sound has changed over the years, and I understand that a lot of that is the result of the couple of new players that have come in. But do you think it has changed in any other ways?

SB: One of things I have to say that I think is really amazing about this record is that it's the first record I've ever made where people had been playing the music for a long time. And the parts have all evolved because the more people play the music; the more they personalize it and take it away from what's actually on the paper. So it's always evolving as these parts become more part of personnel expression and less part of something on a piece of paper. The more people play this music, the more it gets away from what I originally intended and the more it becomes what these guys are going to make it. Which is a great thing. I mean, there are some people who don't like that. There are people who like it to stay the way they intended it. But my thing is that I've got all these great musicians—so let them make this music more.

I used to say I had this theory called "superharmony. So there are lots of thirds, lots of things that are really bright, and then just let the people keep going, man, beyond harmony. Because it's not so much about conventional harmony. Not if you've not a guy like Peter [Apfelbaum]; he's a tenor player. It's interesting, because the reviews never mention him. I realized he doesn't have a lot of features—but on every song, he takes the lead.

AAJ: I actually think the reviews don't mention individual players on the record because the liner notes don't say who plays what on what song—so writers are afraid to say "great lead from Apfelbaum because, well, what if it was Doug Wieselman?

SB: Right. Interesting. But you know, Peter is almost like the secret weapon. I've known Peter since I was in the fifth grade. So I know these things that he's going to do that only he can do. So it's interesting, because when anybody else plays the book, there's no way that stuff's going to happen—because it's stuff that only he does. And he can't write it—but if I write something like it, he knows what to do [laughing]. So he gets this thing on the out chorus of "Soul Serenade, right at the end, and Peter's playing really sharp, really so on top of the pitch—something that no normal person who doesn't think like Peter would do, because it's so wrong. But it's also so right.

You know how you listen to The Band, and Richard Manuel's singing really sharp up there, or Rick Danko—how they would sing falsetto? Or even how the guys in the Beatles would sing falsetto. It's not in tune; John Lennon was always really sharp. Burning Spear is always really sharp. It's like this human way of playing an instrument. One of the things about this band is that everyone plays in a really human style of playing an instrument. Most of this generation of players have really developed this more literal, mechanical way of playing music, so they don't throw a lot of expression into each note. They focus more on long, more complex lines.

AAJ: They're a little Berklee-ified.

SB: Well, I don't know. It's not just Berklee, and it's not negative. It's an observation. Steve Coleman, John Coltrane, Woody Shaw. Woody Shaw's my favorite musician in the world, but he always had a lot of expression in his playing. But it was very pattern-based, and people would follow that pattern-based way of playing, but maybe not throw in as much uniqueness as Woody would. And then Steve Coleman's whole thing is very pattern-oriented, and so he has all his disciples. So there's all these people. Michael Brecker has all these disciples. Of course, you're talking about people like Michael Brecker and Steve Coleman, who have very unique sounds. But there are people who aren't that interested in that part and they just focus on these patterns. Which is fine; that's another way to play music. But the guys in my band really focus on each note. So one note comes out, and that's what it's all about.

AAJ: Well, that really makes for a band. When people do that, you have a really band-y band. Those are the special bands, and that's the way that some rock groups beat some jazz groups. They're sort of stuck with each other.

SB: I'm totally with you on that. They're bands. And again, that brings me back to Sex Mob. It's a band. It's like a rock band because of the way we relate to each other. And the thing about MTO—because of the reality of having nine people, I haven't played with the original nine since I don't even know when. There's always a sub. It always changes, man. But with Sex Mob, we really don't do with subs.

AAJ: Well, it's almost time to talk about Sex Mob. But about the MTO record: I take it that the nine songs on the MTO Volume 1 CD are just a few from a much larger book?

SB: Right. I have about fifty arrangements.

AAJ: And there was more stuff recorded that didn't make it onto this one?

SB: Yeah. We recorded two albums worth of music. We went in and just recorded for two days. So there already is another record of music ready. But I've done so many arrangements since then—since more than a year ago, when we made the record—that I kind of want to go back in the studio. I don't even need to get that many songs. There are a few new songs that I'd like to get to sort of round it out. I think you shouldn't make records any less great than you can as far as sequencing, and making it really well-rounded. So yes, I do have a whole record's worth of stuff.

AAJ: So there will be a Volume 2, but you're not worried about when.

SB: No, I never do. I've always done everything myself. No one's ever paid me to make a record, so when I have time, I just go on to the next project.

AAJ: This record can just work for you for now.

SB: I think so, man. I'll let it simmer there for a while. Maybe someone will even offer me some money to help me out. I had to pay for this first record. And it's funny—I thought this band would really get signed by a label. To me, it's pretty inside, you know? There's no noisy stuff at all, and that actually bummed out some people. "Oh man, I kind of wish you'd done more of that stuff you do live. But that doesn't always translate to CD.

AAJ: There is that tiny little section in the middle of "Happy Hour Blues.

SB: Right. There is. There's that one tiny section where it gets a little skwonkly. So anyway, I did that whole record myself. And [laughing] I wouldn't mind a little help!

AAJ: Just to cover the cost of tape, say.

SB: Well, we don't use tape anymore. We all just record onto hard drive. I mean, there was no tape for a few months—it was all gone. But they have started making it again. But tape is like $180 for 20 minutes, and a hard drive is $200 for two CDs. So everyone just buys the hard drive.

AAJ: Time to talk about Sex Mob. This is your longstanding quartet of you, saxophonist Briggan Krauss, bassist Tony Scherr and drummer Kenny Wollesen. This is a pretty popular band. If Sex Mob is a party band, it's the smartest party band of all time. The group's new CD is Sexotica, which came out on Thirsty Ear the same day as the MTO CD, right?

SB: Same day, yeah.

AAJ: Before we talk about this new one, just tell me about Sex Mob—what you like about playing with these three guys in this band.

SB: We really create a language that is so personal. It's kind of like all four of us feel that the way we play in this band is the way that we really play, and you have to change a little to play with anybody else. So everyone gets to do this really natural thing that they do. So it's incredible; me and Briggan have developed this total language together. Now when he plays the saxophone, he can sound like a slide trumpet—he can move between notes in this really ridiculous way. He's always had his own language, which I immediately heard and incorporated into the sound of the band. Then there's Tony, who's kind of this über-bassist. He can just do whatever he wants on his bass: he can be the guitarist, the pianist, the drummer, the horn player—and keep pounding away on the bass. Kenny knows all these different rhythms. So we play everything. We play some straight-ahead stuff, we play rock. It's funny, I talked with someone, and he said Sex Mob was my "funk band. I don't have a funk band! I don't have any band that's a style. I just have bands.

AAJ: You have a Sex-Mob-style band.

SB: Yeah! It's Sex-Mob-style band. It's just a band that's these guys. We have hundreds and hundreds of tunes. It's interesting—we hadn't seen each other for two months, and we played in Europe at this really cool little festival where you play in these old barns outside of this small town and people bike from place to place. It was nice, because when you play a big concert or festival, you kind of have to go for your hits, because you're playing for a couple thousand people and you have to make those grand gestures to make it work. But we were playing in a small environment for a couple hundred people in an enclosed space, and man, we did four sets and we never repeated a song. And we hadn't seen each other for two months. But before we played, I was just saying, "Hey, remember this one? "Oh, yeah. You remember that part of it? "Yeah, right, that part—I forgot about that.

We just have so many songs. There's such a huge library of stuff in that band after eleven years. I've written so many charts, and these guys all have incredible memories. They remember everything. Briggan's the only one who carries charts with him, and sometimes I'll carry some of the newer songs. Tony and Kenny don't carry anything; it's all in their heads. So it's amazing. We've had one rehearsal in eleven years, one actual rehearsal where we called a rehearsal at an actual rehearsal studio. Before we did Sex Mob Does Bond, we got together at the club that afternoon and ran some charts. But we did a concert of waltz music once, and I had these twelve-page charts, and they were exact transcriptions of Strauss waltzes. It was really complex—you had to go from this section to this section to this section. So I said, "You know, we're actually going to have to have a rehearsal. But in eleven years, that was our one rehearsal.

AAJ: That one seems kind of called-for.

SB: Yeah. But it's a pretty unique way of creating a band—it's being created onstage. With both bands, actually, but even more for Sex Mob, because we've been doing it onstage for eleven years.

AAJ: Sounds like some fortunate relationships to have.

SB: Yeah. Unfortunately, because everyone's so busy, we don't really play that much, but luckily now, whenever we play, we're either playing at Tonic for our friends or playing in Europe for a lot of money. We barely play the States; I've kind of given up on that. I don't really give a shit at this point. I'm not going to kill myself. I'm 44 years old; I make a really good living as a musician. If people don't want to pay me, I'm not going to go! I'm not going to bang my head against a wall. I can play with Lou Reed, and Levon Helm, and Rufus Wainwright, and write music for TV jingles, and make money doing that. I did it, I went on the road—Sex Mob paid serious dues on the road, man. We went out there. We've never had a tour manager; I drive the van and I check the guys into the hotel. It's all self-propelled. The guys just believe in me. "You lead, we'll be there, man. At this point, I feel like everyone knows at this point that we're one of the really cool, unique bands in the world. We just do what we do, and I don't have anything to prove.

There are people who really like this music all over the world, and I know that. When we play a festival in Europe, and it's like, World Saxophone Quartet one night, and us the next night, and Mingus Dynasty the next night—that's all you've got to say. And we're all part of the same community; when we're backstage, they all know Sex Mob. So I feel if the U.S. promoters can't figure it out, well then, forget it. Like I said, I'm not going to bang my head against a wall.

Steven BernsteinAAJ: It's tough touring in a van. And it's always harder for bands that play instrumental music.

SB: Yeah. There are very few people who get those art center gigs. And having a name like "Sex Mob —well, my wife always says, "You did it. It's your fault. The great thing is that everyone knows the name. No one's going to forget the name "Sex Mob. But on the other hand, the art centers are just a little afraid of a band called Sex Mob. And people have told me that, because I've said so many political things onstage, they're a little afraid of that too. But I just do what I do, and I think it's paid off for me, so you have to take the good with the bad.

AAJ: Yes, and it's just too late to change the name to "The NYC Eclectic Improvisational Gentlemen.

SB: Exactly [laughing]. Every once in a while, we do something—like, they say, "we want you to do something at the school, but can we call you something else? So I say, "Yeah, we're the Love Gang. We played some high school in Vermont once, in some really progressive town like Burlington or something, and it said, "the Love Gang, also [laughing] known as S*x M*b.

AAJ: The new record is Sexotica. One great thing about Sex Mob is that the same record has never been made twice. Like your previous CD, Dime Grind Palace (Ropeadope/Atlantic, 2003), these are original tunes. But there are two aspects kind of interacting on this one. First, the record is a sort of tribute to Martin Denny, the 1950s musician who made best-selling, faux-tropical instrumental albums like Exotica. Second, the record is marked by its after-the-fact manipulation of sound from the Good and Evil production team—the tracks are chopped up, filtered, altered, distorted and sped up. First of all, why Martin Denny? Second, why the post-production work from Good and Evil?

SB: Well, Good and Evil are friends of our who run a studio. We made a couple of our early records there, and before the very first Sex Mob record came out, there was a single—"Sign o' the Times, the Prince song, with a remix by Good and Evil. It was one of their first jobs, like ten years ago. So we've all known each other for a long time. One of the guys is this guitarist; we played in the Lounge Lizards together before he went more into producing. So I'd gone by their place to pick up some tapes and hang out—they'd said, "Look, we're getting rid of all our tapes, so anyone who has tapes here should come get them. So I came by, and they said, "Hey man, we want you to hear what we're doing. We've been making these records for Thirsty Ear, and we think it would be really cool to do one with Sex Mob. So they played me their records and it sounded really cool. They played me some of their more commercial dance music—they're really into all this bhangra stuff. They thought it would be really cool to do this kind of bhangra/Sex Mob record. They said, "On the way home, stop by this little Indian cabbie stand—you can get all these bhangra records for three bucks each. So I bought some, listened to them on the way home, and said, "Cool. Let's do it.

So we set up a meeting with Peter Gordon, the guy at Thirsty Ear. And I don't think this guy has ever heard Sex Mob. He knows who we are, but I know he's never seen us live. But he knew we were a band that had toured, and won awards, and made records, and blah-blah-blah, and he's excited, because it's good for his label. Now Peter is really into the idea of a concept. All his records are concept records. That's his whole thing, and he's very upfront about it. So he says, "You know what? I don't like this concept. I can't sell it. Bhangra—it doesn't make any sense to me. So I said, "Okay, and we're just sitting around talking, throwing ideas back and forth, and he says, "Martin Denny.

Now that's very interesting, because I had never heard of Martin Denny fifteen years ago, and [legendary producer] Hal Willner, who was my first supporter, who produced the first Spanish Fly record, said to me, "I love Spanish Fly; it really reminds me of Martin Denny. I said, "Yeah, okay, great. Hal would always mention things, and I had no idea what he was talking about, so I always had a pencil when I talked with him, and I would write things down. So I go and get this Martin Denny stuff and listen to it, and I like it. It's kind of cool, I like the vibe, and I know what he means; it's a kind of warm sound, and in Spanish Fly we used to a lot of these kinds of rhythms with our instruments, stuff like that. So, being a collector, I eventually ended up with every Martin Denny record.

So Peter says, "Martin Denny, and I just look at him and say, "Sexotica. Now we have to make the record, because we've got the title! Sexotica. So now the guys in my band are so busy that we couldn't find a weekend to do it for nine months. And Peter is so used to jazz musicians who need the thousand dollars they're going to make. I don't even think I've paid Tony or Kenny yet—they're so busy, they're out making tons with all the shit they do. So I think Peter was shocked.

AAJ: He thought you'd just walk to the car, get your instruments, and be ready to record.

SB: Yeah. He thought we'd just jump in and do the record. So he said, "When are you going to do the record? I said, "Listen, man, we're all busy making money. I can't go and make this little, cheap record for you because you want it! When we have some free time, we'll make your record. And it's so nice—I won't always be in this position, but right now I make my money doing music. I don't have to rely on these record company people with their little pittances. It's how I get my creative thing happening, but it's not how I make my living. I'm really lucky. I'm a trumpet player who works with Lou Reed, Marianne Faithfull, Sting—that's what I get to do for a living. But anyway, I wrote all this music and we went in and made the record. Kenny laid down all these percussion tracks afterwards, and it was really fun. We laid like two layers of percussion on every song. Basically, he had filled the entire room with percussion. Kenny has no time, every day he has two recordings and two gigs—so we'd get him for three or four hours at a time and we'd just go through every song. The first day, we did all wood percussion on every song. Then the second day, we did all metal percussion on every song. Then we did a third day with whistles, vibraphones, wind sounds. Every song has a minimum of two and usually three percussion tracks.

Then those Good and Evil guys just started doing their thing, reconstructing it all. I basically gave them total freedom. The only restriction was that we had this kind of manifesto that it would be equally divided between our natural sounds and the sounds that they created. It could be any kind of perspective—50/50, 80/20, 10/90, but overall it had to even out to 50/50 over the course of the entire record. One song could be all natural and the next one completely cut up. Which is pretty much how it is: one song is pretty much just the performance, and one song is all cut up.

AAJ: And then there are those ones that combine the two, like "Dick Contino's Blues, which is all sped-up and slowed-down, except for the breaks, which are left alone.

SB: Right, it's just the band playing. They did a great job. They gave me the rough mixes and I think I made like three comments, tiny comments, and said, "Fine. Finish it.

AAJ: You spoke about how Briggan can sound at times like a slide trumpet, and I think you two have always blurred your sounds. That's part of the band sound. But on this record, with all the Good and Evil production, and even without that, in the way the band is playing—there are moments where I can't even say what instrument I'm hearing.

SB: Yeah, if you weren't there at the recording session, there's no way you could know. Really. Because it's all been changed and altered, and because we're all sharing the same language.

AAJ: To me, "Kid Rock Deluxe and "Pygmy Suite feel like two versions of the same tune.

SB: Well, here's why you feel that. That vocal part from "Pygmy Suite is taken from "Kid Rock Deluxe. And here's how your ears are more open than some people: in some review, a guy referred to "the unfortunate scatting on "Pygmy Suite. Scatting! It's not like I'm sitting there going "shoo-be-do, it's like a sample from another song of me screaming that's been sped up and altered. [Disgustedly] Scatting. Obviously, this guy does not get what he's hearing [laughing]. But it's okay. It just shows where people are coming from when they're listening to things. This guy hasn't heard that much electronic music, so if he hears a voice on a jazz record, it's scatting.

AAJ: How do you deal with this material live?

SB: We haven't done it. We very rarely play songs from our records live. A lot of times, for the records, I'll just come up with some songs and bring them. And there are songs in our repertoire that we've been playing for years that have never been recorded. I did actually bring two of the songs from the record to the European tour. We played one, maybe two of them. "Dick Contino is actually one that we've been playing live. That's a live song. Things just get added to the repertoire. We just have so many songs that I don't feel the need to play the record. I just feel the need to do a good show.

AAJ: Tell me about the Baby Loves Jazz project. This is kids' tunes done jazz-style: jazz music for children. I know you just released the record Go Baby Go! (Verve, 2006), which you co-produced with [producer and Ropeadope Records head] Andy Hurwitz.

SB: Well, Andy had been talking about making a kids' record for a long time, and I had signed on to it. The original idea was pretty big: we'd get Blue Note to do it, and get Dr. John, Cassandra [Wilson], Macy Gray. That didn't happen; we couldn't get label support for it, so I said, "I'll just produce it myself. But the whole thing had been kind of unclear the whole time as to what we would do. So I said, "Okay, so what are we doing to do? Is it with two singers? I couldn't figure out if it was this thing where we go through the history of jazz. He'd talked about it being this multi-artist thing.

So I'd been hearing songs done with different bands—a Dixieland band, an Art Blakey band. And I suddenly realized we didn't have the option to do that. I had to come up with a record with one band that can do a bunch of different stuff. So the first thing I said was, "I have to have [keyboardist] John Medeski. People kind of don't really realize how great John Medeski is, because he's so famous for Medeski Martin & Wood. John Medeski is one of the greatest musicians on the planet; he's so heavy, he's so unbelievable. His skills are at such a high level. And I've played with a lot of great musicians. He just has an enormous level of skills. He commits 100% to what he does, and he can do more than just about anybody. He can play any kind of classical music, any kind of bebop music. Obviously, any kind of funk, R&B, gospel. And he's totally psychedelic.

AAJ: Yeah, everyone knows about that last part.

SB: Yeah, everyone knows that, but they don't know the other stuff. So once I got him, I got my band together and started writing arrangements. And we did it the same way I do everything—there was no rehearsal. The singers had never met anyone in the band, I had never met [singer] Sharon Jones. Everyone just showed up. And it just came out better than I could have imagined. I think it's really good. It's not dumbed-down, it's really entertaining. And we've got this great little live show that's really engaging with children and gets them going—but we're actually playing. We play these songs—I wrote a few more, and I use some songs from these books that Andy wrote that have CDs with them that I didn't do—[pianist] Aaron Goldberg and [saxophonist] John Ellis did them. So that's what it is. And I kind of see it as a way I can make some money over the next few years—it could be like Preservation Hall [laughing], and we could have a Baby Loves Jazz going out at all times.

AAJ: Well, Sharon Jones is a fantastic singer. You may not have gotten those huge names, but she's as good as anyone out there.

SB: She's better than anyone out there, because she's out there singing R&B every day of her life in front of huge audiences. There aren't a lot of people who can say that. In fact [laughing], I don't think there's anyone who can say that!

AAJ: And with no pitch correction. What do kids like? What do kids want in music?

SB: Kids like repetition. Kids like something where they can figure out what's happening—like if number one happens, then the next thing that should happen is number two. And it should be concise; there are no improvised solos on the record. Everything goes from event to event to event. I wrote these little solos, kind of like Dizzy Gillespie would use in the fifties. So instead of a solo, a kind of a bebop version of the melody is played, like a mini-big-band thing. So you can always hear the melody; the melody is always being referred to.

AAJ: When I was a kid, I just liked the words.

SB: We have the words there too, but I think the rhythm is really important. We had all the kids dancing at the shows. Some of the kids dance naturally to the music, this kind of crazy Little Richard meets punk-rock edition of the hokey-pokey. All the kids up there wiggling and dancing around.

AAJ: You're the bandleader for these ongoing tributes to singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen, Came So Far For Beauty. This produced the film I'm Your Man and the record of the same name. Were you a Cohen fan?

SB: Nope, nope. I'd never really heard him. Just another Hal Willner job. Hal called me up and said he wanted me to help him put together this concert, because he knows I'm good at organizing things. It was a multi-artist tribute, and Hal being Hal, he wanted us to do forty songs, he had three rehearsal days, and some of the musicians weren't coming in until the day of the concert [laughing]. So you have maybe nine, ten different artists.

So I think we had forty songs, with the contingency, you know, that David Bowie or some other ridiculously famous person might show up—we had to be able to handle that. So I put together this band which was basically Sex Mob and Charlie Burnham from MTO on violin, Marc Ribot on guitar and Rob Berger from Tin Hat Trio on keyboards. And we just did it, and it was a huge success, and this woman who was kind of related to our general family of musicians came up and said, "I've seen all the different things you've done for Hal, but this is different, this is brilliant, and blah-blah-blah. She produces Philip Glass, Laurie Anderson. She said, "I want to produce this. So I've done these things for Hal before that have happened once. You do a concert for Hal, and you do it for no money. Musicians are paid one or two hundred dollars each. That's for three rehearsals and an all-day gig. You do it because you love working for Hal; everyone loves Hal, and everyone knows that when there is money, Hal is happy to give it. And when there isn't, he just wants to do a project.

This is actually the first time I've done music where I can actually understand every word to every song. And I realize that's because they're not songs, they're stories.

AAJ: Yes, Cohen was a writer before he was a musician.

SB: Yeah, and so it's really easy for me to know what he's talking about. Oftentimes with songs, I'll start listening to the words and then I just get distracted. I start listening to the bass or the drums and then I realize I have no idea what they're saying. But with Leonard Cohen, you're just hearing the story go by, so it's very easy to stay focused on the story.

AAJ: You still had to arrange the songs musically.

SB: Yeah. But luckily, I had all my guys and gals up there, so it wasn't that hard.

AAJ: You're a member of former The Band drummer/singer Levon Helm's group. You're a big part of these Midnight Rambles up at his studio in Woodstock.

SB: People are beginning to hear about these now, I guess.

AAJ: Yeah, it seems like everyone is writing about these special, magical, musical happenings. Tell me about playing with Levon.

SB: It's been an incredible, educational, spiritual, musical part of my life for the last two years. I kind of ended up there for one of the early Rambles and he just took me in. My friend Erik Lawrence, the bassist from MTO, had been playing with him for a long time—back when Levon had no money and was doing really badly and couldn't sing [he had had throat cancer], my friend would do it as kind of a favor, because he loved Levon. Erik said, "Hey man, Le's doing these concerts up at his place. We don't really know what you're going to make, but if you ever make it, it would be great. I'd go, "Yeah, I'll try, I hope I can do it. So I did one once, and it happened to be the first one where Levon sang. He hadn't sung in five or six years, so it was this incredible thing. The Rambles were still pretty small at that point, and it was one of these magic moments. I was just back at Levon's house, and we were hanging out with some of the musicians, and I just ended up onstage with him playing, and it was like magic. It ended up on the first of these CD/DVDs Levon has out, and the stuff that's on it is from the first time I played with him. I didn't even know what song was, or what key it was in. It was like free improvisation—just listening and reacting.

But this kind of R&B music that he plays—I don't even know how to describe what he does. It's like folk-gospel-R&B-blues-jazz.

AAJ: That pretty much covers the music I'm into.

SB: Yeah [laughing]. It's been incredible. I've been doing these shows, and we've never had a rehearsal, but we hang out in his little place in the back before the gigs now and kind of talk about songs. And it's this really cool, tight band now. We do "Ophelia —I transcribed [Band organist] Garth [Hudson]'s arrangement. We do all these songs that have arrangements now, and it just gets better. It gets more and more powerful. The last show was interesting; it was the first time it was like a rock and roll crowd—before, it was really sedate, people just sitting there grooving—and people were just going insane after every tune. You felt like you were at a Rolling Stones show or something. Because originally, it was just locals.

AAJ: Yeah, it was a Woodstock thing, right?

SB: Yeah, it was a gig up in Woodstock that locals would come to, and now people are coming from all over the world to hear it. But it's really amazing to be around Levon. First of all, playing with him is so incredible, because he's such an incredible musician. And he's such an incredible person; he's so funny and so charming. Now, I take it for granted, but I really had to rethink the way I think about music to play with him.

The first time it was fine, because we just did a kind of New Orleans-ey type of thing and I kind of just went in that direction. But then, as we started doing more songs, more blues, I had to think about it. Because we'd be playing something, and he'd be like [imitating Helm's Arkansas accent], "Yeah, may-annnn, yay-ah! And then we'd be playing something and he'd be looking at me and going, "Nawww, may-an, naww! So I'm thinking, okay, there's the "Yeah-man and the "Naw-man and you don't want too many "Naws. Now we never get to "Naw-man ; we've kind of figured out what he likes and what he doesn't. But [laughing] you'd be playing something you were sure was the right thing, and he'd be standing there going, "Nawww, mann, naww!

It's interesting because, being a jazz musician, you think, "This is the same as this, because, you know, Count Basie did this. But as far as where Levon's coming from, there's a lot of my language that's not part of his language. It's great, because I started listening to a lot of the music Levon's into, all this blues music and R&B from Memphis and Nashville, so I could hear how all these guys played. When I played for Lou Reed the first time, the first horn arrangement I wrote for him, he said, "No, no, that's totally wrong! That's totally wrong! I'd written this thing that was kind of like an Allen Toussaint-style horn arrangement.

One thing about playing with Levon—my greatest record is probably Rock of Ages (Capital, 1973), where the Band played with Allen Toussaint. To me, it's up there with Duke Ellington and everything. But Lou doesn't feel things on the backbeat; he feels them on the front of the beat, he's a rock musician. So I've written this "boom-bah-doo, boom-bah-doo, and Lou wants "boom-chucka-boom-chucku. And I realized that's where his beat is. His beat isn't on the other side; it's not the New Orleans upbeat. It's the downbeat. Lou's definitely coming from Little Richard. There's definitely a lot of Little Richard in Lou Reed.

But anyway, it's been a great, spiritual thing for me to drive up north to Woodstock. Woodstock's a very magical place and Levon's property is very magical. And I used to be a hippie, so I spent a lot of time in parts of northern California and Seattle and northern Montana in an early part of my life. So it's a real return for me to that part of my life to be around that kind of environment. It's so cool, on a Saturday, instead of going to downtown New York, to go up to Woodstock. And it's part of a continual evolution as a person, just like listening to different music—it's bringing in different experiences which then give you different outlooks and a different perspective.

AAJ: And that sort of thing goes on forever.

SB: Hopefully. As long as you keep your eyes and your options open.

AAJ: So you're a trumpeter. But you're also a slide trumpeter. I did a random web search, just using the phrase "slide trumpet, and got an interesting hit. Here's what it said: "The slide trumpet is now rarely played with any serious intent. The only player of note that I know of is in a band called Sex Mob.

SB: Well, that's almost right. There's a guy in France, an Italian called Luca Bonvini. And he really plays the slide trumpet seriously. He was a trombone player and he basically stopped playing trombone; he only plays the slide trumpet. But he plays the opposite style that I do—he plays it very cleanly. I met him for the first time on a tour recently. He's a modern classical musician, that kind of modern classical that borders on improv, and he had this theory. There's a cello and a violin, right, and they're basically the same instrument—they have the same mechanics. But a violin's smaller, and violin players can play faster and more precisely than cello players. So his thinking was, "I play the trombone, but if I switch to slide trumpet, it's going to be the same concept: everything's going to be closer together, and I can actually be more precise.

So he plays very precisely. He made a record that he put out himself. And then there's Axel Dorner, who's a German, but I think he uses slide trumpet mainly for sounds. He plays it fairly regularly. And now it's beginning to crop up; there are some people in their twenties who are playing it. There's this guy named Brian Carpenter, who's from Boston. So people are beginning to play it, because of Sex Mob, basically—young people who came up hearing Sex Mob and said, "I'm going to get a slide trumpet. Even some professional trumpet players who are a little younger than me have recently bought slide trumpets and started to mess around. But yes—there is no recorded history to the horn, basically.

Steven BernsteinAAJ: So how did you end up picking it up?

SB: I got one in 1977. At that time, there were these horns that were very cheap that were made; they were kind of sitting around the music stores. They were like little novelty instruments, but they played okay. They didn't have a huge sound, they were kind of small—they weren't made of great metal or with great care. They were made to just sell to trumpeters, and you could get them at music stores very cheaply. So I saw one on a wall and it was like 25 dollars. Actually, Peter Apfelbaum and I were together and we both bought one in the summer of '77. Just 25 bucks, man! And I had it, and I'd keep it around—I'd always keep it around the house, even when I moved to New York from California. I could play a few things on it naturally; there were a few natural things I could play on it. And when I started Spanish Fly, I used to play it on a few songs. And I noticed that whenever I played it, there would be a big response. Obviously, it generated something with people. And I always give the credit to [trumpeter] Dave Douglas, man, because I was doing a gig in Austria, and Dave came up to the band. I don't know if you know Dave, if you've ever talked to him.

AAJ: I have talked to him.

SB: One of the smartest people I've ever met.

AAJ: Yes, he's obnoxious that way. He's so smart you'll feel dumb listening to him.

SB: Yeah [laughing], he can't help it. That's who he is. And he says to me, "Why don't you practice it? Practice it like a trumpet. And I said, "Yeah, you're right. So I just started practicing it, and I put together Sex Mob. The original idea behind Sex Mob was, what would happen if I had a band where I only had a slide trumpet? What could the slide trumpet do? And that's how it all started.

AAJ: Anything coming up for you we haven't mentioned?

SB: No, because whatever the next stuff is that's going to come up is kind of unknown at this point. I'd like to make a Spanish Fly record, because we started playing together again a year ago—we hadn't played for six years. We've got a new set of music we've put together. So I'd like to do that. And I have ideas for another project that I'm not ready to talk about yet, because it's not fully formed in my head. It's something I've been thinking about for a long time—another totally different thing. Something I haven't done yet. I don't really want to talk about it because I'm not quite sure what it is yet. I can see the outline of it in my head. But it has to do with some of my old New York friends from the eighties when I was part of this original punk-funk scene. That stuff was never really recorded, and I'd like to revisit some of that. Not revisit—but there's stuff echoing from that era that I'd like to re-explore.

Oh, and keep your eye out for Ropeadope's The Harlem Experiment. I did some really cool arrangements. Don Byron, me, and Carlos Alomar was the guitarist. He played all the guitar parts, and he's incredible.


Selected Discography

Baby Loves Jazz, Go Baby Go! (Verve Records, 2006)
Paul Shapiro, It's In the Twilight (Tzadik, 2006)
Steven Bernstein's Millenial Territory Orchestra, MTO Volume 1 (Sunnyside, 2006)
Sex Mob, Sexotica (Thirsty Ear, 2006)
Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Verve, 2006)
Paul Shapiro, It's In the Twilight (Tzadik, 2006)
Mario Pavone, Deez to Blues (Playscape, 2006)
Steven Bernstein, Diaspora Hollywood (Tzadik, 2004)
Bill Frisell, Unspeakable (Nonesuch, 2004)
Medeski Martin & Wood, End of theWorld Party (Just in Case) (Blue Note, 2004)
Mario Pavone, Orange (Playscape, 2003)
Sex Mob, Dime Grind Palace (Ropeadope/Atlantic, 2003)
Paul Shapiro, Midnight Minyan (Tzadik, 2003)
Max Nagl, Big Four (Hat Hut, 2002)
Marc Ribot, Soundtracks II (Tzadik, 2003)
Lou Reed, The Raven (Sire/Reprise, 2003)
Steven Bernstein, Diaspora Blues (Tzadik, 2002)
Mario Pavone, Mythos (Playscape, 2002)
Oren Bloedow and Jennifer Charles, La Mar Enfortuna (Tzadik, 2001)
Sex Mob, Sex Mob Does Bond (Ropeadope/Atlantic, 2001)
Karen Mantler, Karen Mantler's Pet Project (Universal, 2000)
Lou Reed, Ecstasy (Reprise, 2000)
Sex Mob, Solid Sender (Knitting Factory, 1999)
Kamikaze Ground Crew, Covers (Koch Jazz, 1999)
Steven Bernstein, Diaspora Soul (Tzadik, 1999)
Phillip Johnston, Music For Films (Tzadik, 1998)
Sex Mob, Den of Iniquity (Columbia/Knitting Factory, 1998)
Lounge Lizards, Queen of All Ears (Strange & Beautiful Music, 1998)
Spanish Fly, Fly By Night (Accurate, 1997) John Lurie, Excess Baggage: Original Score (Prophecy Entertainment, 1997)
Dreamtime, Dreamtime (Fibre Records, 1994)
Spanish Fly, Rags to Britches (Knitting Factory, 1993)
Medeski Martin & Wood, It's a Jungle in Here (Gramavision, 1993)

Photo Credits
Black and White Photos: Ziga Koritnik
Color Photos: Tony Rodgers



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