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Steven Bernstein - Jazz Composers Forum

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TICKETS ON SALE AT CINE-TEATRO CONSTANTINO NERYABOUT JAZZ COMPOSERS FORUMSEE ALL PROGRAM
  • Steven Bernstein
  • Steven Bernstein

    (US)

     

     

     

    If someday the controversial assertion is proven that jazz is dead, the musician Steven Bernstein will probably have the necessary powers to bring it back to life.  The north American trumpeter became aware of his “powers” when leading his band Sexmob, established in 1995, essentially playing his original compositions. In a special programme dedicated to the cinema, he led the venue to ecstasy with the theme from James Bond. He realized then that the audience tuned in more to the performance when it recognized the basic theme. From that point onwards, he began to explore familiar songs by Prince, The Grateful Dead, The Rolling Stones, Nirvana and other melodies strong enough to withstand the band’s deconstructions. Ultimately, he went back to what has always been the tradition of jazz, and what made Charlie Parker, Lester Young or Miles Davis popular: the use of popular music of the time to win over the audience and, from there, bring it into a new stylistic sphere. And this sphere is just as current in the case of Bernstein as were those of the artists who marked the history of jazz in other periods.

     

    The principle that underlies all this is simple: never forget fun when the music is jazz. It is also what happens in the Millennial Territory Orchestra, conducted by Steven Bernstein, which seeks lost pearls in the jazz of the 1920s and 1930s as easily as the funk/soul of Sly Stone or Stevie Wonder, or even the Beatles songs, disintegrates, carrying all this towards a language between free jazz and original grooves, where improvisation, the unexpected and communication on stage predominate. And, of course, evoking the “territory bands” that have circulated through various regions of the United States since the 1920s: formations with around ten members that were authentic “cover” bands, playing the hits of the day and popularizing the dance music of the time. Bernstein is an artist in constant demand for forgotten jazz music, jazz undergoing constant renewal.

     

    Steven Bernstein plays the slide trumpet, as well as the more common valve trumpet. In addition to the projects already mentioned, he has recorded in his own name for the cycle “Radical Jewish Culture Series” released by Tzadik under John Zorn, and is a composer also known for dance, theatre and cinema scores – the first soundtrack he worked on was Kansas City (1996) by Robert Altman. He has been repeatedly recognized by critics of Down Beat magazine, and is arguably one of the most original artists in American jazz in recent decades. He was born in 1961 and has played with jazz greats such as Don Byron, Roswell Rudd and Sam Rivers, and with Aretha Franklin, Lou Reed and Sting, plus bands such as The Lounge Lizards and Spanish Fly. His services as an arranger are in demand by musicians such as Bill Frisell, Marianne Faithfull and Elton John. As a member of the Levon Helm band, he wrote arrangements for the Grammy-winning 2009 album Electric Dirt. His most recent recording is Sexmob plays Fellini (2013).