Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The New Mastersounds bring a bit of Britain to Idaho

Funk-and-soul sound is a mix worth hearing

Express Staff Writer

Photo by Dan Medhurst Photography The New Mastersounds from Leeds, England, will bring their collaborative soul and funk sound to Ketchum.

Born out of Leeds, England, The New Mastersounds have been touring the U.S. so much that the band members said they might as well live there. The New Mastersounds will play Whiskey Jacques' tonight at 10 p.m. Tickets are $15, available at the door.

"We have been working musicians for over 20 years," said guitarist Eddie Roberts. "We have been the same band members with the exception of a new keyboard player since we started."

The band began from a club-and-DJ scene in Leeds, where Roberts said the music he played as a club producer was alternative jazz, funk, soul and Latin. He said it was a soul music scene.

"I put a band together to play at the clubs in the U.K.," Roberts said. "And it built from there."

The four-member band also includes Simon Allen on drums, Pete Shand on bass and Joe Tatton on keyboards.

The New Mastersounds played with the Grey Boy Allstars in Leeds in 1996 and found camaraderie among sound and music direction. Roberts said Robert Walters of the Grey Boy Allstars said The New Mastersounds are different because Americans learn to play music by going to shows and sitting in with people, while The New Mastersounds learned their craft by listening to records.

"I think we are a bit spiky," Roberts said. "We are a different sound because we recreated a role of a DJ while we are playing, because that is what we are used to doing."

The New Mastersounds play out-there music with improvisation, but with homage to vintage soul, jazz, funk and rock sounds from Jimmy McGriff and Jimi Hendrix, as well as their most closely associated mentors, The Meters.

"We prefer playing in the U.S.," Robert said. "There is a respect for musicianship in the U.S. which is far greater than in Great Britain."

The band has been featured in a documentary, played at Jazz Fest in New Orleans and have seven albums to their credit. The band has sold out The Filmore in San Francisco and will be traveling to Idaho from the High Sierra Music Festival in Quincy, Calif.

Sabina Dana Plasse:

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