New Mastersounds Release "Made For Pleasure", Playing at Isis Asheville November 6
Do these guys get around or what?
They’re the hardest working jazz-funk band on the planet, and they’re heading back to Asheville November 6 with a new recording “Made For Pleasure”
On October 2nd, 2015 The New Mastersounds returned with Made For Pleasure – their most sprawling and ambitious record to date, featuring collaborations with vocalist Charly Lowry, percussionist Mike Dillon, and San Francisco-based West Coast Horns (aka tenor saxophonist Joe Cohen and trumpeter Mike Olmos.) Recorded in New Orleans, The New Mastersounds high-step through the humidity and heat leaving no soul or funk touchstone unturned. Both the title track and “High & Wide” are drenched in The-Meters-meet-Lee-Dorsey Big Easy funk, while tracks like “Enough Is Enough,” “Joy” and “Just Gotta Run” are firmly rooted in classic soul sister rhythm & blues tradition; think Tina Turner, Ann Peebles, Bettye LaVette. Super-charged by Eddie Roberts’ stinging guitar leads, “Cigar Time” and “Sitting On My Knees” take a decidedly souljazz turn, diving headlong into Grant Green grit and groove. Capping off Made For Pleasure and further validating its title is a dubbed out reinvention of Iggy Azalea’s smash hit “Fancy” that cleverly turns the pop artist’s ode to materialism into a 21st century stoner anthem with the repurposed refrain, “I’m So Irie,” sung by Denver-based rastaman, Spellbinder. The New Mastersounds know what feels good and deliver it in spades on their latest long-player. It was, after all, Made For Pleasure.
A Little History
In the late 1990’s, guitarist and producer Eddie Roberts was running a club night in Leeds called “The Cooker.” When The Cooker moved into a new venue with a second floor in 1999, there was space and the opportunity to put a live band together to complement the DJ sets. Simon Allen and Eddie had played together in 1997 as The Mastersounds, though with a different bassist and no organ. Through friends and the intimate nature of the Leeds music scene, Pete Shand and Bob Birch were added on bass and Hammond respectively, and The New Mastersounds were born. Though it was raw, and more of a boogaloo sound at first, it was powerful from the start. Their first rehearsal was hot enough for Blow it Hard Records to release on two limited-edition 7” singles in 2000.
Fast-forward 15 years and the recorded catalogue boasts 24 more 7” singles, 9 studio albums, 2 live albums, 1 remix album and 3 compilation albums, released variously in UK, USA and Japan, where they continue to tour extensively. Joe Tatton, another veteran of the Leeds scene, joined back in 2007, replacing Bob Birch on organ and piano.
As a band, and as individuals, they have collaborated or jammed with an impressive array of musicians DJs and producers, including: Lou Donaldson (Blue Note), Corinne Bailey Rae(EMI), Quantic (Tru Thoughts), Carleen Anderson (Young Disciples / Brand New Heavies), Keb Darge & Kenny Dope(Kay Dee Records), John Arnold (Ubiquity), Mr Scruff (Ninja Tune), Snowboy (Ubiquity), Fred Everything (2020vision),Andy Smith (Portishead), James Taylor (JTQ), LSK(Faithless), Lack of Afro (Freestyle), Page McConnell (Phish),Grace Potter, Karl Denson (The Rolling Stones / Lenny Kravitz), Melvin Sparks (Blue Note Records), Fred Wesley,Pee Wee Ellis & Maceo Parker (JB’s), George Porter Junior, Zigaboo Modeliste, Art Neville (The Meters) and Ernest Ranglin.
As an example of the respect this band commands, Peter Wermelinger – DJ, collector, and author of the crate-diggers’ bible The Funky & Groovy Music Lexicon – places the 2001 NMS track ‘Turn This Thing Around’ in his all-time top-ten tunes, along with the likes of Eddie Harris, Funkadelic, and Herbie Hancock. The New Mastersounds are at the very top of an elite selection of acts that bring the true soul out of funk.