« Previous Post | Pop & Hiss Home | Next Post »

In Rotation: Steven Bernstein's Millennial Territory Orchestra, "MTO Plays Sly"

A series in Sunday Calendar about what Times writers & contributors are listening to right now...


Now apparently living out of a van in the Crenshaw district, Sly Stone hasn't been in the news for the best of reasons lately. But in a new collection led by slide-trumpeter Steven Bernstein, a brassily unconventional big band shifts the focus back to where Stone’s story is far less tragic: The music.

An eclectic sideman (that was Bernstein on trumpet during Radiohead’s set on “The Colbert Report”) and bandleader who fronted the party-in-a-bottle jazz ensemble Sex Mob, Stone’s psychedelic soul-funk is right in Bernstein’s wheelhouse. And he’s got help – in addition to New York City jazz hands that include an elastic rhythm section of Ben Allison and Ben Perowsky, the MTO enlists a range of guests. A quaveringly soulful Antony Hegarty turns “Family Affair” further inward alongside a bent wah-violin from Charlie Burnham, and Vernon Reid sprays his signature intergalactic guitar napalm under the bluesy "Time." Add in a few Sly-inspired improv interludes including a concrete-rippling translation of "Thank You for Talkin’ to Me Africa" by Bill Laswell, and you've got a rowdily unpredictable set that might not bring Sly to a better place, but your ears certainly get there.


Sly Stone homeless: Soul music star living in camper in L.A.

In Rotation: Aaron Goldberg and Guillermo Klein, ‘Bienestan’

Sly Stone says he wants to make a comeback

Steven Bernstein's Millennial Territory Orchestra
"MTO Plays Sly"
(The Royal Potato Family)

-- Chris Barton

Photo: The Millennial Territory Orchestra led by Steven Bernstein, right. Credit: Greg Aiello.

Comments () | Archives (0)


Recommended on Facebook

In Case You Missed It...


Recent Posts

Tweets and retweets from L.A. Times staff writers.



Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: