Album Remarks & Appraisals:
"Trumpeter/composer Steven Bernstein's Diaspora Hollywood brings a Jewish tinge into a bluesy American jazz feeling; this mournful after-hours set brings some past sounds to mind while simultaneously pushing the vision forward.
The ensemble features an unusual front line of the leader's trumpet with Pablo Calocero's baritone saxophone, bass clarinet and flutes, along with D.J. Bonebrake's vibraphone shimmerings, adding the occasional pop of bongos from Danny Frankel to add another touch of the odd and exotic.
Past sounds that the disc brings to mind: Eric Dolphy's musings; Miles Davis's Blue Moods (Debut, '55), with Charles Mingus; Herbie Mann's Great Ideas of Western Mann , (Riverside, '57), on which the flute master plays bass clarinet; and Miles' atmospheric Asenseur Pour L'Echafaud (Fontana, '58), fittingly, since this somewhat obscure Davis disc was a soundtrack, and Diaspora Hollywood was inpired by Bernstein's interest in the first generations of American film composers.
Impressive in its continuity of mood - haunting atmospherics brightened a bit by the vibraphone glow - Diaspora Hollywood features four Bernstein originals alongside seven traditional compositions laid down in a fresh mode. An oddly entrancing sound, the baritone sax/bass clarinet/trumpet/vibes are arranged perfectly, a hypnotic flow of sound on one of those rare discs that pulls you into its world. A smoky, glinting jewel of a set that makes me want to check the trumpeter's previous Diaspora discs - Diaspora Soul and Diasora Blues (Tzadik, '99 & '02) and his Sex Mob band." -AllAboutJazz
The Wire (p.55) - "[B]eautifully realized, often mournful set....This one is a real gem of jazz noir.....An intensely evocative creation, encouraged by an exceptionally lucid recording."
Down Beat (p.75) - 4 stars out of 5 - "[A] slinky, seductive cycle of traditional and original Jewish songs, set carefully into artfully crafted quintet arrangements."
Composer: Josef Rosenblatt.
Personnel: Steven Bernstein (trumpet, flugelhorn); Steven Bernstein ; Dick Akright (trumpet); David Piltch (double bass); Pablo Calogero (flute, bass flute, bass clarinet, baritone saxophone); D.J. Bonebrake (vibraphone); Danny Frankel (drums, bongos, percussion).
Audio Mixer: Danny Kopelson.
Liner Note Author: Steven Bernstein .
Recording information: Solidstatesman Studio, Hollywood, CA (02/12/2004-02/20/2004).
Photographer: Peter Gannushkin.
Arrangers: Steven Bernstein ; Henry Rosenblatt.
Steven Bernstein's Diaspora series continues with Diaspora Hollywood, inspired by the great film composers who immigrated from Eastern Europe to New York and then to Hollywood, and also by the sound of cool West Coast jazz. Diaspora Hollywood has a great sound, like some kind of Jewish jazz noir with its rich, moody tones and haunting vibraphone. Pablo Calogero's woodwinds and flute mostly inhabit the low end, with delicious baritone sax, bass clarinet, and bass flute. Bernstein's playing will sound reserved to Sex Mob fans in comparison, but he's going for a very different mood here and his playing is exquisite. The songs are anchored by David Piltch's woody bass and the tasty and understated percussion of Danny Frankel with D.J. Bonebrake's vibes hanging in the air, adding cool colors throughout. It's a mostly laid-back affair that doesn't so much build in energy as it does in mood, totally immersing the listener by the end. Lovely. ~ Sean Westergaard
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