December 13th, 2008
Steven Bernstein’s Millennial Territory Orchestra West, Wednesday, November 5, King Cat Theater
For a Seattle photographer, this was so much fun to watch and photograph this group play to these old movies. I wish they had a regular gig doing this.
New York-trumpeter Steven Bernstein conducts his fine nine-piece band, which typically explores the largely-lost music of the bluesy, loose-territory bands. Tonight he performed in accompaniment to three Laurel and Hardy silent films on the screen behind him at the King Kat Theatre and he and the band had a lot of fun with it as did the audience. The Laurel and Hardy films were classic treasures. Steven Bernstein likes to have his cake and eat it too. The Grammy-nominated trumpeter is one of the hardest-working musicians to come out of New York’s “downtown scene.” He recently released three critically-acclaimed CDs on John Zorn’s Tzadik label and has had his music featured on MTV, Saturday Night Live, and National Public Radio. His ensemble, the Millennial Territory Orchestra, is an outgrowth of his immersion in the sound of the Midwestern swing bands from Robert Altman’s movie Kansas City. The ensemble was formed in 1999 for a series of midnight shows at New York’s Tonic nightclub, and they subsequently spent a year and a half in residency at the Jazz Standard. The group, a collection of distinctive musical personalities, recently released its debut recording, MTO Vol. 1, on Sunnyside Records. This is sure to be an edge-of-your-seat performance, featuring swing band adaptations of several rock and soul genre classics, led by this wonderfully “left of center” musician.