Bernstein Cuts Diaspora Hollywood


Steven Bernstein will release Diaspora Hollywood on Sept. 21. The trumpeter and composer borrowed from early Jewish-American film composers for the album, which is the third installment of his Semitic Diaspora series for Tzadik,

Bernstein recorded the album in Hollywood at engineer Woody Jackson’s home. His band comprises drummer Danny Frankel, reedman Pablo Calogero, vibraphonist D.J. Bonebrake and bassist David Piltch.

Diaspora Hollywood contains originals, traditional numbers and cantorial 78s like “V’Shamru” and “B’rich Sh’me.” Featured composers include Franz Waxman and Alfred Newman.

“All these Jewish cats moved from Poland and Germany to Hollywood,” Bernstein said. “Dig it, man. Have you ever been to Poland? It’s pretty dark. Can you imagine being in Hollywood?”

In his arrangements, Bernstein tried to embody that combination of dark melodies and sunny environment, which resulted in, according to Bernstein, “Counterlines, melodic drumming and soft palettes. The improvised mellismatic sections heard in Diaspora Blues combined with the multi-voiced through-composed sections heard on Diaspora Soul.”

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