Jazz In the Bay

The best live jazz in San Francisco Bay Area

A curated calendar of the best jazz shows in SF Bay Area

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Steven Bernstein's MTO West

  • SF Jazz 201 Franklin Street San Francisco, CA, 94102 United States (map)

Tickets $25

Two Shows: 7:00 & 8:30

“When the time comes, Bernstein clicks an invisible switch and the band pops into semi-flawless unison. At that point, you might imagine yourself in Harlem in 1929,” says the Village Voice about trumpeter Steven Bernstein’s expansive Millennial Territory Orchestra, an ensemble inspired by the pre-swing era territory bands that crisscrossed the country in the 1920s and 1930s. Loose, rambunctious, and fun with an irreverent take-no-prisoners approach, the MTO grapples with tunes ranging from Basie and Mingus to Prince and the Grateful Dead to an entire album devoted to the funk of Sly and the Family Stone on 2011’s MTO Plays Sly. Presenting the West Coast debut of his MTO material, the New York-based Berkeley High alum pays homage to his early years by christening a new version of this unpredictable assemblage featuring a host of Bay Area jazz luminaries including clarinetist Ben Goldberg, saxophonist Howard Wiley, violinist Jenny Scheinman, and trombonist Jeff Cressman.

A master of the previously obscure slide trumpet, Berkeley-born Steven Bernstein is a fearless improviser, composer and arranger whose résumé includes collaboration with Bill Frisell, Levon Helm, Lou Reed, Linda Ronstadt, Henry Butler, and Allen Toussaint. He leads the cinematically inspired band Sex Mob, the Millennial Territory Orchestra – an ensemble rooted in the territory bands of the 1920s and 30s, and the Butler-Bernstein Hot 9 devoted to the early jazz of Fats Waller and Jelly Roll Morton.