Michael Brecker, Steven Bernstein and the Art of Jazz-Hacking the Pop World - Part 2

Ludovico Granvassu BY

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This is the second part of our exploration of Michael Brecker's and Steven Bernstein's work as first-call musicians in the world of high-end pop productions.

Their capacity to adapt to the demands of these productions while remaining true to their jazz roots has offered millions of listeners that might have looked at jazz with a grain of diffidence an opportunity to re-assess their skepticism. Brecker and Bernstein musicians that have played and keep playing a prime role in bringing new fans to the world of jazz through these crossover projects.

In this segment we'll hear how they've left the mark in productions featuring U2 (in a rare collaboration with the Sun Ra Arkestra masterminded by Hal Willner!), James Brown, Frank Zappa, Levon Helm and many more legends of the pop and rock worlds.

Happy listening!


  • Ben Allison "Mondo Jazz Theme (feat. Ted Nash & Pyeng Threadgill)" 0:00
  • The Atlantic Family "Pick Up the Pieces (Live)" Live at Montreux (Rhino/Elektra) 0:16
  • Host talks 6:30
  • U2 and the Sun Ra Arkestra "Desire" Live at the Apollo, June 11, 2018 (YouTube) 9:36
  • James Brown "I've Got a Bag of My Own" Get On The Good Foot (Polydor) 13:53
  • Host talks 17:39
  • Rufus Wainwright "Release the Stars" Release the Stars (Geffen) 20:04
  • Aerosmith "Same Old Song and Dance" Get Your Wings (Columbia) 25:20
  • Levon Helm "The Battle Is Over (But the War Goes On)" Midnight Ramble Sessions, Vol. 2 (Levon Helm Studios) 29:10
  • Host talks 34:02
  • Frank Zappa "Black Napkins" You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 6 (Live) (Zappa Records) 35:35
  • Bettye LaVette "Yesterday Is Here" Thankful N' Thoughtful (Deluxe Edition) (Anti/Epitaph) 40:57
  • Donald Fagen "Maxine" The Nightfly (Reprise) 44:27
  • Host talks 48:14
  • Steroid Maximus "Tarmac a Gris-Gris" Ectopia (Ipecac) 50:15
  • John Lee, Gerry Brown "Strut 'n' Get Up" Still Can't Say Enough (Blue Note) 54:08
  • Shivaree "Lost In a Dream" Who's Got Trouble? (Zoe) 58:46
  • Host talks 1:03:19
  • Ornella Vanoni "Amarsi Un Po" Ornella E... (CGD) 1:06:33
Photo credit: Roberto Cifarelli (Bernstein)

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