Word of mouth began to spread about their live shows, with Bernstein's on-stage antics and the band's amazing musicianship as the focal points. Bernstein is one of the more active bandleaders out there, constantly dictating arrangements to the other musicians, and letting them have it when they don't deliver what he wants. They never rehearse and they never have a set list, which keeps things constantly fresh. Their weekly gigs eventually led to them being voted New York City's best band in 2000.
Bernstein summed up the Sex Mob ethos as such: "Jazz used to be popular music. People would go out to clubs, listen to the music, go home, and get laid. Simple as that. We're bringing that spirit back."
Sex Mob's 1998 debut, Din of Inequity, was the only release of a short-lived agreement between Knitting Factory Records and Columbia Jazz. Augmented by two guitarists (Adam Levy and London McDaniels) and keyboard powerhouse John Medeski, Sex Mob romped through a program mostly of covers and a handful of Bernstein originals. 2000 saw the release of Solid Sender on Knitting Factory, as well as the self-released Theatre Dance. Solid Sender is another mix of covers (Nirvana, Rolling Stones, ABBA) mixed with more Bernstein originals, some of which serve as short bridges between tunes. Solid Sender also uses a wider variety of guests, including DJ Logic and a string trio featuring Charles Burnham. Theatre Dance is split between Duke Ellington compositions commissioned by choreographer Donald Byrd for a dance entitled In a Different Light: Duke Ellington, and Bernstein originals written for a revival of the 1926 Mae West play Sex.
2001 brought a change in label, from Knitting Factory to Ropeadope, and an album with a less kaleidoscopic selection of songs. Sex Mob Does Bond has the Mob (again with John Medeski) burning through the John Barry songbook, covering a host of tunes written for the first five James Bond movies. For 2003's Dime Grind Palace, Sex Mob focused on Bernstein originals with a myriad guests including trombonist Roswell Rudd. 2006's Sexotica on Thirsty Ear paid homage to the soundscapes of Martin Denny. In 2009, the live album with pianist John Medeski entitled Sex Mob Meets Medeski: Live in Willisau appeared. The group's next studio album, Cinema, Circus Spaghetti: Sexmob Plays Fellini, appeared in early 2013. ~ Sean Westergaard, Rovi
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