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EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Steven Bernstein's Millennial Territory Orchestra: MTO Plays Sly

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Steven Bernstein's Millennial Territory OrchestraMTO Plays SlyThe Royal Potato Family2011 The Sly Stone songbook is a solid gold thing, and it is strange that it is so rarely revisited. Then again, repertory tributes are generally paid to artists who have passed. Stone is still with us, although, it sometimes seems, only just: over the last few decades, he has been ravaged by “personal problems" which would likely have finished off any ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sex Mob: Sexmob Meets Medeski live in Willisau 2006

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How best to describe slide trumpeter Steven Bernstein's singular quartet Sex Mob? Maybe we should start with mercurial musical magician Bernstein himself, whose exotic career as sideman, musical director, arranger and composer has included ten years with John Lurie's Lounge Lizards and stints alongside everyone from Bill Frisell to Sam Rivers, the Flying Karamazov Brothers and, oh yes, Bootsy Collins. Or maybe we should look at his career as bandleader, which includes the trumpet-slide guitar-tuba trio Spanish Fly and the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steven Bernstein / Marcus Rojas / Kresten Osgood: Tattoos and Mushrooms

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The line-up of slide trumpet, tuba and drums is, to say the least, somewhat unusual in jazz. As is the choice of Hank Williams' “So Lonesome I Could Cry" as a vehicle for improvisation. On Tattoos and Mushrooms, trumpeter Steven Bernstein, tubaist Marcus Rojas and drummer Kresten Osgood go boldly into aural regions where no man has gone before. To put it another way, this is not what Count Basie called “music to pat your foot to." ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Millenial Territory Orchestra: We Are MTO

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The Millennial Territory Orchestra, the lovechild of leader/arranger/slide trumpeter Steven Bernstein, is back with its sophomore release, We Are MTO, a typically boisterous romp through middle-Americana. Starring the same dramatis personae as its debut, the band is an unwieldy cast of character actors, strong individualists all capable of stealing the scene on any given song. Inspired by his researches for the film Kansas City, Bernstein continues to foment and signify on the sound of early '20s jazz ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steven Bernstein's Millennial Territory Orchestra: We Are MTO

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Jazz is fun again. Yes, in the hands of a showman like Steven Bernstein it can be a ball. Whether he is fronting his band Sexmob, playing sideman to Bobby Previte, or arranging tracks for Mario Pavone, he means to entertain us. And entertainment as in “that's show biz folks." Maybe it was his early work with John Lurie's Lounge Lizards or his experience researching regional jazz bands as the musical director for Robert Altman's film Kansas ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steven Bernstein's Millennial Territory Orchestra: We Are MTO

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From his career-defining work on the score to Robert Altman's film Kansas City to his recent arrangements for producer Hal Wilner's various projects, trumpeter Steven Bernstein has ascended from the ranks of the underground to attain a level of recognition that few musicians of his caliber receive.

Bernstein's rough and tumble Sex Mob quartet has been tearing down musical boundaries for well over a decade, but it is his large ensemble, the Millennial Territory Orchestra (MTO), that offers ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Festival International de Jazz de Montreal 2008: Days 6-8

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Days 1-3 | Days 4-5 | Days 6-8 | Days 9-11McCoy Tyner Trio with Ravi Coltrane/Bran Van 3000 Catherine Russell/Steely Dan Steven Bernstein's Millennial Territory Orchestra/McCoy Tyner Big Band Festival International de Jazz de Montréal Montréal, Quebec, Canada July 1-3, 2008 Now nearing its thirty-year anniversary, the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal continues to create a universe unto itself. With six square city blocks closed in the city's downtown core, it's an eleven-day party ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steven Bernstein: Diaspora Suite

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Diaspora Suite is the fourth installment of trumpeter Steven Bernstein's Diaspora series, which explores the connections between Jewish melodic traditions and contemporary styles. And it may be the most personal. The six-hour session was recorded in Oakland, California--Bernstein's hometown--and included musicians he's played with since grade school: multi-instrumentalist Peter Apfelbaum, trombonist Jeff Cressman and drummer Josh Jones. The nonet is completed with additional drummer Scott Amendola, electric bassist Devin Hoff, clarinetist Ben Goldberg and the twin guitars of Nels Cline ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steven Bernstein: Diaspora Suite

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Diaspora Suite is trumpeter and bandleader Steven Bernstein's fourth recording (and first of all original material) in a series dedicated to radical reinterpretations of traditional Yiddish melodies. After a memorial for the late director Robert Altman (Bernstein scored Altman's Kansas City), he reflected on a quote from Altman, “Create an event and shoot it like you have no control over it."

Inspired by Altman's words, Bernstein recruited a group of long time associates in the Bay area for ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steven Bernstein: Diaspora Suite

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Leaving behind the west coast cool of 2004's Diaspora Hollywood, Steven Bernstein travels 350 miles north along the California coast to Oakland for the edgier, left coast avant of Diaspora Suite. It's the freest, most aggressive disc in the trumpeter's Diaspora series, which began with 1999's Diaspora Soul and continued with 2002's Diaspora Blues, all four discs a part of John Zorn's Radical Jewish Culture on Tzadik.

Every Diaspora disc has had its own premise, and ...