Sexotica (Thirsty Ear Recordings)

Sex Mob

Released August 1, 2006

Grammy Nominee for Best Contemporary Jazz Album 2007




Mob has consistently made music that is innovative and fresh. Their latest album, “Sexotica” features original Sex Mob music in the spirit of Martin Denny and the Exotica genre. Joined by the production team Good and Evil, Sex Mob has created an album featuring modern electronic production, while maintaining their usual acoustic brilliance. The result is an acoustic -electric mindbender of an album that features the best parts of both mediums.

“Sexotica” is an entertaining ride, incorporating humor, unique production and an overall feeling of exuberance. With solid compositions and interesting twists throughout the album, Sex Mob is clearly forwarding their mission of making jazz music engaging and fun.

Track Listing:

1. Pygmy Suite (Steven Bernstein / Danny Blume / Christian Castagno) 5:10

2. Martin Denny (Steven Bernstein / Danny Blume / Christian Castagno) 6:31

3. Exotique (Steven Bernstein / Danny Blume / Christian Castagno) 5:44

4. Luvin’ Blume (Steven Bernstein / Danny Blume / Christian Castagno / Briggan Krauss / Tony Scherr / Kenny Wollesen) 4:56

5. Quiet (Steven Bernstein / Danny Blume / Christian Castagno) 5:33

6. Oakland (Steven Bernstein / Danny Blume / Christian Castagno) 3:40

7. Dick Contino’s Blues (Steven Bernstein / Danny Blume / Christian Castagno) 5:45

8. Kid Rock Deluxe (Steven Bernstein / Danny Blume / Christian Castagno / Briggan Krauss / Tony Scherr / Kenny Wollesen) 5:18

9. 7 Bars (Steven Bernstein / Danny Blume / Christian Castagno) 4:47


Steven Bernstein: slide trumpet, mellophones, vocals

Briggan Krauss: alto saxophone, baritone saxophone

Tony Scherr: acoustic bass, acoustic guitar, vocals

Kenny Wollesen: drums, percussion, bird whistles, vibraphone

Mike Dillon: tablas Good and Evil (Danny Blume and Chris Kelly): programming hijinks

Recorded live at GoodAndEvil studio in Brooklyn on Nov. 28 and 29, 2005

Produced by Good and Devil

Executive Producer: Peter Gordon


Sexotica showcases a unique band performing in an even more unique genre. Sex Mob, New York City’s best band, according to a 2000 poll, has made a name for itself with jumping live shows and pop song-full setlists. Led by trumpeter Steven Bernstein, the quartet draws on the music of exotica pioneer Martin Denny for this sultry recording.

In addition to Bernstein, Sex Mob features altoist Briggan Krauss, bassist Tony Scherr and drummer Kenny Wollesen. The band turned to the production team of Good and Evil to give this record an electronically glossy Blue Series touch. Matthew Shipp’s Good and Evil Sessions is probably the best record to date in Thirsty Ear’s Blue Series, but Sexotica isn’t far behind.

Taking a nod from the methods of jazz’s founding fathers, Sex Mob made a name for itself by performing tunes penned by other musicians—ubiquitously called “covers in the parlance of our times. But Sexotica doesn’t exactly feature cover songs. Denny’s late-’50s ensembles inspire the overall sound.

Recording for Liberty Records, Denny pioneered the “exotica genre, beginning in the late ’50s and continuing on into the ’60s and early ’70s. His group incorporated instruments and ideas from the Pacific Rim nations as well as Africa, churning out easy listening albums that dared to be different.

One of Denny’s innovations, if you can call it that, was incorporating natural sounds into his compositions. Allegedly inspired by bullfrogs croaking in a nearby pond, percussionist Augie Colon would often imitate bird calls on stage while performing with Denny in Hawaii. In Sex Mob’s music, these natural sounds (electronically produced in this case) give the pieces unique depth. This music is layered, some sounds creeping in from unseen backgrounds while Bernstein’s signature slide trumpet cuts through the thick.

“Pygmy Suite opens with a signature head-bopping Good and Evil groove punctuated by Bernstein’s trumpet blasts and some painful skat from the bandleader. When the next piece, “Martin Denny, first oozed from my speakers, I didn’t know what to think: it’s legitimately unlike anything I’ve ever heard before. The drums are electronic in nature, but tribal in feel. The trumpet drips with sensuality. This song is as intense and sexual a tune as I’ve ever heard. The music just begs to be touched. The horns cry for attention.

“Luvin Blume has a bass line that pounds you in the gut over and over, while “Quiet prowls the neon-lit floors of an oh-so-cool lounge, like Björk hanging with Goldie on viagra sipping vodka. “Dick Contino’s Blues has a San Francisco poets vibe, just begging for Kerouac incarnate to read from his Book of Blues.

“Kid Rock Deluxe also seems to beg for lyrics, but of a different sort—Black Thought of Roots crew-fame could easily boogie down to this Philly groove. “7 Bars closes the record with an out-of-place and unnecessary Chili Peppers-type of funk rock.

Sex Mob prides itself on keeping jazz what it was intended to be—popular music, club music, dance music—and Sexotica is all these things.

James Taylor (All About Jazz)