Sexmob & Scotty Hard Prep New Album ‘The Hard Way’ & Share Single Featuring John Medeski

Hear Medeski join the jazz outfit on “Banacek.”

By Nate Todd Mar 17, 2023 4:01 pm PDT

Jazz outfit and producer Scotty Hard announced a new collaborative album, The Hard Way, due out on May 12 via unique Chicago imprint Corbett vs. Dempsey. The record is previewed by the single, “Banacek,” featuring keyboardist John Medeski.

Along with Medeski, Sexmob — founder/slide trumpeter Steven Bernstein, saxophonist Briggan Krauss, bassist Tony Scherr and drummer Kenny Wollesen — and Scotty Hard also welcomed Vijay Iyer and DJ Olive as guests on the album. While renowned producer Scotty Hard has helmed a number of Sexmob — albums over the course of the band’s 25-year history, the aptly named The Hard Way sees the producer taking a much more hands-on approach and providing the electronic foundation for the record.

“Steven really loved my last album,” Hard noted, “and I suggested we do something entirely different. A process record. We’ve already done the four musicians (sometimes more) in a room thing, so let’s do something totally unique and collaborative.”


The Hard Way is set to arrive via Corbett vs. Dempsey, which is actually a Chicago art gallery that curates albums and books. They also represent the estate of Sun Ra and other artists. Bernstein spoke about how he crossed paths with Corbett and Dempsey at a show by beloved producer Hal Wilner, who passed away from COVID-19 in 2020.

“I was introduced to [co-directors] John Corbett and Jim Dempsey at Hal Willner’s Nino Rota show in New York,” Bernstein recalls. “When I went on their site I saw albums by Hal, Don Cherry, Van Dyke Parks, Lester Bowie, Sun Ra and many more, and I realized that this was the home for The Hard Way. It’s what I call ‘a gift from Hal.’ I keep getting them.”

“Scotty and I realized,” Bernstein continued, “that since this is not really a ‘record label’ but an art gallery, let’s treat this album like an art piece. We start the album with the longest piece, ‘Fletcher Henderson,’ which began as an almost eight-minute through-composed electronic piece by Scotty that I composed melodies and harmony on top of. This process was used for the entire album: Scotty would send me loops, beats or electronic pieces and I would write compositions over them.”

Moreover, the artwork for the album was created by one of Corbett vs. Dempsey’s favorite artists, Corey Escoto. Preview “The Hard Way” with “Banacek” featuring John Medeski below:

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The Hard Way Tracklist:

  1. Fletcher Henderson
  2. King Tang
  3. Banacek
  4. Lawn Mower
  5. You Can Take a Myth
  6. Hit the Dirt
  7. Pepper Pot
  8. Tapestral
  9. Club Pythagorean
  10. Dominion
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