Steven Bernstein has been so much a part of the downtown cultural exchange, through which the usual suspects are transmitted from one band to another in an endless game of musical chairs where the last man standing has to get a real job, it was surprising to learn that his early-January appearance at Jazz Standard was his first in an upscale joint midtown—that is, north of Houston. Leading his nine-piece Millennial Territory Orchestra, he noted, repeatedly, what a novelty it was to work in a place with heat. Sporting earrings, a loopy smile, and lavender trousers, he relished the role of refugee at the ball, mocking midtown manners. Management made its customary request for minimal conversation, to which Bernstein remonstrated that conversation was encouraged: "If you're on a date it could be important; if you're married, talk loud, 'cause she isn't listening." Funnier was the way he used boho irascibility to sell a righteous dose of... More >>>