Steven Bernstein (born October 8, 1961) is an American trumpeter, slide trumpeter, arranger/composer and bandleader based in New York City. He is best known for his work in The Lounge Lizards, Sex Mob, Spanish Fly and the Millennial Territory Orchestra. 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."
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