Thursday, November 6, 2014

TRIBUTE TO THE NEW MASTERSOUNDS * Groove to Move Your Body Irresistibly

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By Patrick Van Denhove for

Starting in 2000 with a new set-up ( hence the "new" ), the New Mastersounds were launched by producer and guitarist Eddie Roberts in Leeds, UK.

It is my favorite group, why ?

It must be a question of harmony of moods… when you need tonicity, you seek tonic music like funk; add improvisation allowed by talent and some jazz features (sometimes a singer with warm tones, sometimes  horns …) and you have them.

Key to the funk music:  the groove, you know, that rhythm pattern that makes the south part of your body move irresistible… it’s always there…beware, the virus could get you also.

Funk and Blues, a parallel.

We are here a bit off-centre compared to the pure blues… in fact somewhere between jazz and funk music, but several bridges exist between all these styles and their histories, as we will see.

In the finishing 20th century, many thought also that funk music was ending, with the founders of the style, James Brown and others, having passed away, or strongly declining... and the success of the style followed the downward trend : "has been".

Eddie Roberts
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In the sixties we had a similar situation, with many black blues artists in the US getting older, the Beatles and other pop artists squatting the first places in the charts and on TV...

And then came some young British guitarists and groups, reinterpreting the blues their own way...Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, John Mayall, no hope to name them all...40 years later, Eric still leads the "Crossroads Festivals", which fill stadiums for days.

Well, beginning with the new century, our British friends repeated the scheme with the funk music! Respecting the heart of the style, but modifying it slightly: more jazzy, more instrumental, you can name it nu-funk, jazz-funk, soul jazz… as you like.

The taste came back in the UK thanks to BBC people like Craig Charles, whose weekly radio show is still increasing the number of its listeners-fans. The Leeds College of Music also has some “culprit” in this revival, and several groups mushroom in the area; other cities in the UK have also their champions and the momentum can be felt even in Australia, with groups such as Deep Street Soul, Cookin’ on Three Burners, and more.

Want more short circuits between both styles? Name the importance of New Orleans as root of both. Another one: it is in fact close to “energy blues”, like several Texas blues .

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The New Mastersounds The first single “ One Note Brown”, in 2000, set the pace for 11 albums so far, but the explosion happens on the scene. Four high level musicians: Simon Allen on drums, Pete Shand on bass, Joe Tatton on keyboards and Eddie Roberts on guitar (1965 model Gibson 330, for the specialists).

So success spread, at first all over Europe: UK, France, Spain, Belgium,…then a bit the US.

In 2005 big bad Katrina destroyed New Orleans. Partly for humanitarian help our Leeds crew set sail to the cradle of jazz, blues and funk… getting a big success there. Hence the prized 2007 documentary “Coals to Newcastle” showing them reinitializing the quest for the groove in New Orleans.

In Germany you would call it “ sausages to Frankfurt”… or “Paella to Valencia” here at our Costa Blanca.

Patrick with Eddie and the New Mastersounds
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After this turning point, we poor Europeans saw the group less and less, as it toured frantically in the US, but not only: the Fuji Rock festival saw them also. To fertilize the creation, Eddie jams also with several other bands: Eddie and the West Coast sounds (San Francisco), Eddie and the Fire Eaters (Madrid)… The group has a high presence in all the specialized festivals around this style: Bear Creek (Florida), Saint Paul Soul Jazz (France), Jam Cruises (Florida),..but also Music Halls (House of Blues, Chicago).

By the way, there is also a funk festival in Spain : Imaginafunk, close to Jaén… of course with Eddie or the New Mastersounds.

Want another of our common points with them? Pete enjoys a house on the Balearic Islands.

 Featured Video

So difficult to choose one when you love them all!!
Finally, this one is a good introduction to their unique style, the talent of every musician is clearly appearing ; only, the use of the piano instead of the Hammond organ or synth gives a more boogie-like flavor than usual…but it is a little jewel, as they produce so often….enjoy !