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Steven Bernstein, Diaspora Soul CD cover artwork

Steven Bernstein, Diaspora Soul

Audio CD

Disk ID: 213455

Disk length: 1h 6m 54s (12 Tracks)

Original Release Date: 1999

Label: Unknown

View all albums by Steven Bernstein...

Tracks & Durations

1. Manishtana 4:38
2. Chusen Kalah Mazel Tov 3:45
3. L'Chaim 7:51
4. Mazinka 4:31
5. Shalom Bimromav 5:39
6. Let My People Go 4:09
7. Roumania Roumania 8:46
8. Cha 4:50
9. Rock Of Ages 6:41
10. ANI MAMIM 4:45
11. Habet Mishomayim 5:27
12. Dybbuk Dub 5:44

Note: The information about this album is acquired from the publicly available resources and we are not responsible for their accuracy.


The word "eclectic" is thrown around a lot, but seldom does a record in this post-everything era live up to that billing. Judging by its title, Diaspora Soul would seem to be another klezmer record--in fact, its raison d'ĂȘtre is as one of a series of albums foisted by John Zorn as part of his "Radical Jewish Culture" series. But apparently, Steve Bernstein--who's logged time in the Lounge Lizards--was doing some radical cultural-thinking of his own. This album came about as a result of Bernstein's desire to combine what he described as "the Gulf Coast sound, encompassing Texas and Cuba" with traditional Hebrew music. The result is a totally twisted and brilliant affair that pairs greasy organ with Cuban percussion (think Willie Bobo or Mongo Santamaria) and bears little resemblance to the rock-influenced experiments of sometime collaborator Marc Ribot. Bernstein's own trumpet leads the way on most of the compositions--which are principally made up of traditional Hebrew tunes like "Shalom Bimramov" and "Manishtana"--and it's a lot closer tone-wise to the clarity of a Booker Little than, say, the muted wheeze of Miles Davis. A great example of the genuine eclecticism displayed here by Bernstein and his cohorts can be heard on "Roumania, Roumania"; Brian Mitchell's whirring Wurlitzer organ, which is suitably smoldering throughout, provides much of the ride, beginning with a sustained sizzle that actually, for about 10 seconds, evokes the pyrotechnic pomp of organ-laden bands like Deep Purple before slinking into a sleazy groove. What's even more amazing is that this song was recorded. On five tracks, Bernstein expands the lineup to include a big band of sorts featuring the underrated Briggan Krauss, who plays baritone sax here and duels it out to good effect with tenor man Peter Apfelbaum on "Mazinka" before Bernstein gets that Cuban thing going once more. Jews with the blues or urban toreadors, take your pick. Who said it couldn't happen here? --Joe S. Harrington

Other Versions

Albums are mined from the various public resources and can be actually the same but different in the tracks length only. We are keeping all versions now.

Diaspora Soul

Tracks: 12, Disk length: 1h 6m 55s (+0m 1s)

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