Stephen Bernstein, a.k.a. the world's only slide-trumpet virtuoso, is up to his lovable pop-culture subversion on this follow-up to the Sex Mob's 1998 "Din of Inequity," and the effect is similarly inspired. On "Solid Sender," Bernstein approaches familiar tunes with irony on his mind and no shortage of affection in his heart. In other words, he blows 'em up real good.
Nirvana's "About a Girl" centers on a guttural exchange between Bernstein and alto saxophonist Briggan Krauss. There's a dirge-speed wah-trumpet take on Buffalo Springfield's "For What It's Worth," and a melodramatic, boozy version of the Stones' "Ruby Tuesday."
Bernstein's instrument is all sexual angst on a stroll through James Brown's "Please, Please, Please." His horn rises from the profane to the nearly sacred on a hymnlike approach to the Grateful Dead's "Ripple," complete with understated cello work.
With Solid Sender, Bernstein, as usual, leaves us pleading for more.