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.
As a band, and as individuals, they have since 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), Karl Denson (Lenny Kravitz / Greyboy AllStars), Melvin Sparks (Blue Note Records), George Porter Jr (The Meters), Fred Wesley, Maceo Parker (JB’s), and Art Neville (Neville Brothers, The Meters)
On the record front, German label Legere Recordings released their compilation An Introduction to The New Mastersounds on CD and LP back in May, while Milan-based label Record Kicks was putting together an album of NMS tunes remixed by a host of talented underground funk and beats producers. “The New Mastersounds – Re::Mixed” was released on CD, LP and itunes on October 15th.
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.
The crew spent 7 days with producer Milton Davis (Neville Brothers, John Mellencamp) improvising and capturing their funky sound on 2″ tape. The band hits the road again going to Japan with their engineer Ben Bernardi. We are happy to have The New Mastersounds join the Faultline Family!