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Monday, Nov 30 2009 | 15:02 Buy this now at GoodToGo (B2B)

7064In 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.

As a band, and as individuals, they have since clocked up collaborations 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), and Karl Denson (Lenny Kravitz / Greyboy AllStars).

Ten years after Eddie Roberts has formed The New Mastersounds, the band managed to make their sixth studio album, in the midst of their busiest touring schedule to date. As with previous records, “Ten Years On” presents an impressive range of grooves and styles, all sheltering from the grey English drizzle under a big jazz-funk umbrella. There’s the familiar vintage-sounding production, courtesy of guitarist and bandleader Eddie Roberts. The core of the band is the same as on 2008’s “Plug & Play”, with Simon Allen on drums, Pete Shand on Fender P-bass, and Joe Tatton on organ, piano and various other vintage keyboards.

The album has guests aplenty, some of them sending in their performances by email from distant shores. JD73 plays Rhodes on Dusty Groove, lending it a distinctly Headhuntersish sound. Seattle-based sax experimentalist Skerik adds dark, lush textures to the eight-minute soundtrack opus OOOM. Fellow Leeds luminary Sam Bell brings the percussion to Eddie’s Benson-eque disco-jazz on Cielo while Madrid-based Chip Wickham toots a mean flute on Chocolate Chip.

The CD version features a very special bonus track with a vocal contribution from Grace Potter, the 24-year-old ascendant rock-star and friend of the Mastersounds from the US festival scene. “Nothing But the Water (II)” is an NMS cover of one of Grace’s own original tunes. Eddie came up with a new arrangement and the band recorded it in Leeds without Grace, who was busy writing her new album in L.A. We contacted Breakestra’s Miles Tackett who kindly agreed to record Grace’s vocal in his studio. Grace sang along to the backing-track, Miles sent back the vocal part over the ether, and Eddie mixed the finished tune – hey presto, and it’s funky as hell!

www.newmastersounds.com

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