MTO Plays SLY: Steven Bernstein's Tribute to Sly & The Family Stone
New York City's favorite "little big band," Steven Bernstein's Millennial Territory Orchestra, cracks open wide the monumental songbook of Sly & The Family Stone on its third studio album, MTO Plays SLY, due September 27 from Royal Potato Family. For this freewheeling and jubilant 13-track tribute, MTO is propelled by a dynamic cast of special guests, including vocalists Antony Hegarty, Dean Bowman, Martha Wainwright, Sandra St. Victor and Shilpa Ray, organist Bernie Worrell, guitarist Vernon Reid and remixer Bill Laswell. By re-imagining the music of Sly Stone through the filter of their own "downtown NYC" aesthetic, Bernstein and company illuminate the melodic and harmonic sophistication of Sly's timeless body of work, while upholding the Day-Glo soul and psychedelic funk that's the backbone of classics like "M'Lady," "Everyday People" and "Family Affair."
"I've been thinking about Sly's music for a long time. He represented endless possibilities by bringing creative freedom and experimentation to popular music. Sly took the whole of American sounds: blues, gospel, rock, jazz, country and gave it a fresh look through his own rose colored glasses," explains Bernstein. "Harmonically, rhythmically, linguistically, socially -- he broke ground on all fronts. Sly was multiculti before we even knew that was a possibility. The biggest lesson I've received from him is that it's all part of the musical gumbo and it's up to each individual to create their personal combination."
Steven Bernstein's Millennial Territory Orchestra is: Steven Bernstein (trumpet and slide trumpet), Curtis Fowlkes (trombone), Doug Weiselman (clarinet and tenor saxophone), Peter Apfelbaum (tenor and soprano saxophone), Erik Lawrence (baritone and soprano saxophone), Matt Munisteri (guitar and banjo), Charles Burnham (violin), Ben Allison (acoustic bass) and Ben Perowsky (drums).
In addition to MTO, Steven Bernstein fronts Sexmob and leads The Levon Helm Band horn section. Over a distinguished 30 year career, he's performed and arranged for the likes of Lou Reed, The Lounge Lizards, Sam Rivers, My Morning Jacket, Rufus Wainwright, Elton John and Marianne Faithful among numerous others.
The track listing for MTO Play SLY is:
1. Stand (featuring Sandra St. Victor, Bernie Worrell and Vernon Reid)
2. Family Affair (featuring Antony Hegarty)
3. Sly Notions
4. Que Sera, Sera (featuring Martha Wainwright)
5. M'Lady (featuring Dean Bowman)
6. You Can Make it If You Try
7. Everyday People (featuring Shilpa Ray)
8. Bernie Interlude (featuring Bernie Worrell)
9. Skin I'm In (featuring Sandra St. Victor)
10. Sly Notions 2/Fun (featuring Dean Bowman)
11. Time (featuring Dean Bowman and Vernon Reid)
12. Thank You For Talkin' To Me Africa (Bill Laswell mix translation)