Steven Bernstein Releases "Planet B"

Article Contributed by The Royal Pota… | Published on Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Steven Bernstein's Millennial Territory Orchestra has released "Planet B," (listen / share) the latest single and opening track from the band's forthcoming album 'Tinctures In Time (Community Music, Vol. 1)' due September 3 on Royal Potato Family. The song is accompanied by a video created by Kit Fitzgerald.

"'Planet B' is one of the first original compositions I wrote for MTO after almost 20 years of arranging the American songbook for the band. The piece uses elements that I've been exploring for years: Ellington, Machito, Sun Ra and Gil Evans, a simple 'folk' melody, all over a true MTO-style groove," explains Bernstein. "When it came time to make my first music video, I reached out to Kit Fitzgerald, a pioneer in the video world who has collaborated with artists from many disciplines including drummer Max Roach, choreographer Donald Byrd and poet Anne Waldman. I asked her to make something beautiful, something she would make for herself. I wanted her to create her own narrative, different from anything I could imagine. And she did."

'Tinctures In Time (Community Music, Vol. 1)' is the first edition in Steven Bernstein's four volume 'Community Music' series. Every four months, beginning this September and stretching through September 2022, a new album will be released. Each showcases a different facet of the acclaimed arranger and trumpeter who over a 40 year career has worked alongside everyone from Levon Helm to Lou Reed, Aretha Franklin to Sam Rivers, Robert Altman to Radiohead. In addition to 'Tinctures In Time,' which marks the first occasion Bernstein has written original music for his long-standing nonet, the Millennial Territory Orchestra, the series includes 'Good Time Music (Community Music, Vol. 2)' with singer Catherine Russell that celebrates a handful of high-stepping, feel-good songs from the history of modern recorded music, out January 7, 2022; 'Manifesto of Henry-isms (Community Music, Vol. 3)' comprised by re-imaginings of Bernstein's inspired arrangements for the brilliant New Orleans pianist Henry Butler & The Hot 9 with guests John Medeski and Arturo O'Farrill, follows May 6, 2022; and 'Popular Culture (Community Music, Vol. 4),' a set of Bernstein-ian takes on The Grateful Dead, Charles Mingus, The Beatles and others, concludes the series on September 2, 2022.

Aptly titled 'Community Music,' Steven Bernstein's community is the essence of these recordings, made over four days in 2020 and featuring an ensemble of musicians who have been both integral to the New York City creative music scene and co-collaborators with Bernstein for the last 30 years. The acclaimed arranger and trumpeter has known pianist Arturo O'Farrill for well over 30 years and drummer Ben Perowsky for nearly 40; he's been playing music with saxophonist Peter Apfelbaum since they were twelve years old. And he's known everyone else in the Millennial Territory Orchestra for at least 25 years, starting when Bernstein moved from Berkeley to New York City in 1979 and soon found himself in the thick of the golden age of the downtown jazz scene, becoming a member of John Lurie & The Lounge Lizards. The initial spark for 'Community Music' concept can be traced back to his co-leader in The Hot 9, legendary New Orleans pianist Henry Butler, passing in 2018 and then Bernstein's mother the following year. Understandably, Bernstein began to consider his own mortality—and his musical legacy. Soon thereafter he won a Shifting Foundation grant (previous recipients include Bill Frisell, Craig Taborn and John Zorn) to document as many of his unrecorded and sometimes even unperformed arrangements as possible.

"I thought, 'While I'm still on the planet, I need to start documenting my arrangements,'" says Bernstein. "Levon Helm's not here, and Henry Butler's not here, and Hal Willner's not here, and Roswell Rudd's not here, and Lou Reed's not here. So I'm carrying forward all the stuff I learned from them, but through the way I look at it. Hal used to say, as our favorite musicians were passing, 'It's up to us now, we need to make the music with the same intent as our heroes. We have to be our own heroes now.'"

Release Schedule

Steven Bernstein's Millennial Territory Orchestra
Tinctures In Times (Community Music, Vol. 1)
out September 3, 2021

Steven Bernstein's Millennial Territory Orchestra
w/ special guest Catherine Russell
Good Time Music (Community Music, Vol. 2)
out January 7, 2022

Steven Bernstein & The Hot 9
w/ special guests John Medeski & Arturo O'Farrill
Manifesto Of Henry-isms (Community Music, Vol. 3)
out May 6, 2022

Steven Bernstein's Millennial Territory Orchestra
Popular Culture (Community Music, Vol. 4)
out September 2, 2022

Available on Digital and Vinyl Formats
Pre-Order Here