Steven Bernstein (musician)

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Steven Bernstein
Steven Bernstein at jazz festival in Saalfelden, 2009
Steven Bernstein at jazz festival in Saalfelden, 2009
Background information
Born (1961-10-08) October 8, 1961 (age 61)
New York City
LabelsTzadik, Impulse
Steven Bernstein (2007)

Steven Bernstein (born October 8, 1961) is an American trumpeter, slide trumpeter, arranger/composer and bandleader from New York City. He is best known for his work in The Lounge Lizards, Sex Mob, Spanish Fly and the Millennial Territory Orchestra.[1][2][3][4] Sex Mob's 2006 CD Sexotica was nominated for a Grammy.

Bernstein has been the musical director for the Kansas City Band (from Robert Altman's film Kansas City), Jim Thirlwell's Steroid Maximus and Hal Wilner's Leonard Cohen, Doc Pomus and Bill Withers projects. Bernstein has released four albums under his own name on John Zorn's Tzadik Records: Diaspora Soul, Diaspora Blues, Diaspora Hollywood and Diaspora Suite. He has performed with jazz giants including Roswell Rudd, Sam Rivers, Don Byron and Medeski, Martin & Wood, as well as musicians ranging from Aretha Franklin to Lou Reed, from Linda Ronstadt to Digable Planets, from Sting to Courtney Love. Since 2004 Bernstein has been a member of Levon Helm's Midnight Ramble band, playing in Helm's Woodstock home, as well as touring with the band. As an arranger Bernstein has written for Bill Frisell, Rufus Wainright, Marianne Faithfull and Elton John among others. He has composed for dance, theatre, film and television, and with composer John Lurie, arranged the scores to many feature films, including Get Shorty.

Bernstein is perhaps best known for playing the slide trumpet. As he indicated an interview with PostGenre, "with the slide trumpet, you have complete freedom. There’s not really anyone to compare your sound to. And that lack of comparisons gave me the freedom to not worry much about what other people did before me."[5]



  • Diaspora Soul (1999), Tzadik
  • Diaspora Blues (2002), Tzadik
  • Diaspora Hollywood (2004), Tzadik
  • Diaspora Suite (2008), Tzadik
  • Baby Loves Jazz: Go Baby Go! (2006) Verve
  • Tattoos and Mushrooms (2010), ILK Music - with Marcus Rojas and Kresten Osgood
  • Viper's Drag (2014), Impulse - with Henry Butler

Sexmob (Sex Mob)[edit]

  • Din of Inequity (1998,) Columbia/Knitting Factory
  • Solid Sender (2000), Knitting Factory/Rex
  • Theatre & Dance (2000)
  • Sex Mob Does Bond (2001), Atlantic/Ropeadope
  • Dime Grind Palace(2003), Ropeadope
  • Sexotica (2006), Thirsty Ear
  • Sex Mob Meets Medeski/Live in Willisau (2009), Thirsty Ear
  • Sexmob Plays Fellini (2013), Royal Potato Family
  • Cultural Capital (2017), Rex

Steven Bernstein's Millennial Territory Orchestra[edit]

  • MTO Volume 1 (2006), ADA Global
  • We Are MTO (2008), Mowo Inc
  • MTO Plays Sly (2011), Royal Potato Family
  • Tinctures in Time (Community Music, Vol. 1) (2021), Royal Potato Family

With Nels Cline

With Mario Pavone

TV appearances[edit]

  • SOLOS: the jazz sessions (Bravo! Canada - 2005)


  1. ^ Layman, Will (2006) "A Reluctant 'Jazz' Hero: An Interview with Trumpeter, Composer, and Arranger Steven Bernstein", PopMatters, November 1, 2006. Retrieved November 8, 2014
  2. ^ "Steven Bernstein's Millennial Territory Orchestra: On Sly", NPR, September 27, 2011. Retrieved November 8, 2014
  3. ^ Layne, Joslyn "Diaspora Soul Review", Allmusic. Retrieved November 8, 2014
  4. ^ Westergaard, Sean "Sex Mob Biography", Allmusic. Retrieved November 8, 2014
  5. ^ "Changing Molecules: A Conversation with Steven Bernstein (Part Two)". 3 September 2021.

External links[edit]