Steven Markus Bernstein
Distant Sky (n / a)
Reviewed by Jay Trachtenberg, Fri., May 30, 2008
Steven Markus BernsteinDistant Sky
The title, cover art, and title track are all incongruent with the true nature of this debut release. They conjure up a dreamy world of Western sunsets and happy trails. In fact, saxophonist Bernstein, a Friday-night member of Austin's Regulars, and some distinguished friends have molded a set of original tunes brimming with funk, blues, and sass. Nothing here you haven't heard elsewhere, but the spirit of the project is in the right place. Drummer Barry "Frosty" Smith cuts a deep groove on the two openers, including old-school tribute "Frosty." Malford Milligan lends his soulful pipes to R&B ballad "What Is Love." A sometime member of the Squeezetones, Bernstein has accordionist Ponty Bone join the fray on a couple of bluesy tunes, most notably "Into the Night." With Bernstein providing spot-on horn arrangements and tasty solos throughout, Distant Sky could still use a group concept and new cover.