Born in 1999 during midnight sessions at the now-shuttered, avant-garde music hub Tonic, trumpeter and composer Steven Bernstein’s Millennial Territory Orchestra (MTO) got its name from regional dance bands of the ‘20s and ‘30s. Along with playing overlooked jazz gems of the same era, the nine-piece ensemble mixes in its own music with songs by other artists, like The Beatles and Prince.
Seventies funk pioneer Sly Stone is the latest recipient of an MTO tribute. The downtown jazz crew’s third CD, MTO Plays Sly, celebrates Stone’s songbook by covering the hits and offering up its own inspired originals. One such tune from the 2011 record is “Sly Notions,” a banjo-led beauty that's available for download above.
Steven Bernstein’s Millennial Territory Orchestra -- featuring 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) -- plays each Monday night at The Stone through the end of June.
In the video below, watch the group's rendition of Sly & The Family Stone’s 1968 tune “M’Lady.”