Tag: The New Mastersounds

Formed by Eddie Roberts and Robert Walter founding members of The New Mastersounds and The Greyboy AllStars respectively, The Rare Sounds is a new act that also features The Greyboy All Stars’ Chris Stillwell and Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe and The Greyboy AllStars’ Zak Najor.

The Rare Sounds’ debut single “Yeah You” is a gritty and urgent bit of 70s-like jazz funk and fusion centered around a relentlessly funky groove and some inspired soloing that to my ears is a slick mix of The JBs Booker, T and the MGs and Headhunters era Herbie Hancock. And at its core, is the knowing familiarity, comfort and esteem held by musicians who have played together for years in a number of different projects and configurations.

Interestingly, the Robert Walter penned composition had been workshopped in several different projects but its found a home during the band’s session at San Francisco‘s Hyde Street Studios last August. Walter describes “Yeah, You!” as “70s jazz-funk and fusion before the edges and dissonance were smoothed over to make it more commercial.” 

The band will be releasing additional tracks from their Hyde Street Studios session in the coming months and plan on booking additional performances in select markets to showcase the material.

The New Mastersounds — currently, Eddie Roberts (guitar, production), Simon Allen (drums), Pete Stand (bass) and Joe Tatton (keys) — can trace their origins back to the late 1990s: Roberts was promoting a club night in his native Leeds called The Cooker. When The Cooker moved into a new venue with a second floor in 1999, there was both the space and opportunity to put a live band together to compliment the night’s DJ sets. 

Coincidentally, Roberts and Allen had previously played together in the similarly named The Mastersounds, an act with a completely different bassist and without a keyboardist. Because of the intimate nature of the Lejeds scene, Roberts and Allen met and recruited Pete Hand and Bob Birch (Hammond) to join what would become The New Mastersounds. Since the release of two limited edition boogaloo leaning 7 inch singles back in 2000, the Leeds-based outfit has released 24 more 7 inch singles, 13 studio albums, three live albums, a remix album — and three compilations released in the UK, Japan and The States. And the band has done that while going through a major lineup change with grizzled Leeds scene veteran Joe Tatton replacing Bob Birch on keys and organ.

The band and its individual members have collaborated with an eclectic and diverse array of musicians, DJs and producers throughout their history, including Lou DonaldsonCorinne Bailey RaeQuanticCarleen Anderson, Keb DargeKenny DopeMr. Scruff, LSK, Lack of AfroPage McConnell, Grace Potter,Karl DensonMelvin SparksIdris MuhammadFred WesleyPee-Wee EllisMaceo ParkerBernard PurdieGeorge Porter, Jr.Zigaboo ModelisteArt Neville and Ernest Ranglin

Over the past few months, the members of The New Mastersounds have been collaborating with a number of incredible vocalists including Josh Hoyer and Soul Colossal‘s Josh Hoyer and Ojai-born, Long Beach-based vocalist Adryon de León. The acclaimed soul and funk act’s latest single sees them collaborating with Macon, GA-born, Atlanta-based singer/songwriter and musician Lamar Williams, Jr.

Lamar Williams, Jr.’s father, Lamar played bass with The Allman Brothers and Sea Level, and as a result, Williams grew up in a very musical home: the younger Williams can trace the origins of his own music career to his childhood, singing in church and at school functions. Although the younger Williams lost his father at a very young age, he can say that he started his career independently with the help of friends and advisors throughout the years.

Williams landed his first record deal in Miami, after winning many talent shows and working with a number of sings of bands in the early 90s. He spent the next handful of years working with more bands and artists and various recording opportunities. During that period, Williams — through those various projects — shared stages with Little Richard, 112, Jagged Edge and a lengthy list of others.

By 2000, Williams began working with then-Macon-based act Revival. After moving the band to Athens, Williams began opening with Demun Jones — for Rehab in 2007. This lead to years’ long ongoing collaboration with the band that included played with, opening for and recording with the band while working on and developing his own sound and solo projects. Along with that, Williams has been extremely busy: Following in his father’s footsteps, he has sat in with The Allman Brothers Band and with Oteil and Friends. He’s the lead singer of Les Brers. And he’s currently working on a solo album with Mike Hartnett.

The collaboration can trace its origins back to when New Mastersounds bandleader and Color Red founder Eddie Roberts met Lamar Williams, Jr. at a Denver-based benefit show in early 2018 coordinated by The Gregg Allman Band‘s Peter Levin. As the story goes, Roberts and Willliams instantly connected. So when The New Mastersounds were touring through Atlanta, Williams joined the band for three songs, which lead to a deeper musical relationship.

Recorded in November 2018, Williams’ and The New Mastersounds’ latest single is a testament to their musical bond. Featuring some gorgeous yet hypnotic pedal steel by John Macy, “Trouble” is a slow-burning, bourbon and regret tinged blues with gently padded drumming, funky organ blasts and a strutting groove. And over that soulful arrangement, Williams contributes assured yet silky smooth vocals. While sonically hinting at What’s Going On era Marvin Gaye and B.B. King‘s “The Thrill Is Gone,” the song manages to be centered around a socially-charged, conscious message: “In general, the song inspiration came from how I think people perceive each other without giving love a chance for them to learn and lend their abilities to each unique situation,” Williams explains.

The New Mastersounds — currently, Eddie Roberts (guitar, production), Simon Allen (drums), Pete Stand (bass) and Joe Tatton (keys) — can trace their origins back to the late 1990s: Roberts was promoting a club night in his native Leeds called The Cooker. When The Cooker moved into a new venue with a second floor in 1999, there was both the space and opportunity to put a live band together to compliment the night’s DJ sets. 

Coincidentally, Roberts and Allen had previously played together in the similarly named The Mastersounds, an act with a completely different bassist and without a keyboardist. Because of the intimate nature of the Leeds scene, Roberts and Allen met and recruited Pete Hand and Bob Birch (Hammond) to join what would become The New Mastersounds. Since the release of two limited edition boogaloo leaning 7 inch singles back in 2000, the Leeds-based outfit has released 24 more 7 inch singles, 13 studio albums, three live albums, a remix album — and three compilations released in the UK, Japan and The States. And the band has done that while going through a major lineup change with grizzled Leeds scene veteran Joe Tatton replacing Bob Birch on keys and organ.

The band and its individual members have collaborated with an eclectic and diverse array of musicians, DJs and producers throughout their history, including Lou DonaldsonCorinne Bailey RaeQuanticCarleen Anderson, Keb DargeKenny DopeMr. Scruff, LSK, Lack of AfroPage McConnell, Grace Potter,Karl DensonMelvin SparksIdris MuhammadFred WesleyPee-Wee EllisMaceo ParkerBernard PurdieGeorge Porter, Jr.Zigaboo ModelisteArt Neville and Ernest Ranglin

“A Brighter Day,” can trace its origins back to just after the 2020: Roberts had written a buoyant and uplifting composition that sonically nods to civli rights era Curtis Mayfield and classic Motown soul. Roberts then invited some of Color Red Music‘s top vocalists to contribute lyrics to the song. Earlier this year, I wrote about the first version of the song, which featured Josh Hoyer and Soul Colossal‘s Josh Hoyer. Hoyer had penned some uplifting lyrics and put them in the can for whenever the right opportunity would call for them. For Hoyer, that opportunity came when Roberts called the Omaha-based artist and invited him to contribute lyrics. Hoyer’s version thematically is centered around the hope fo a fairer, more just and inclusive world for all, after a brutally difficult and uneasy few years.

The newest version of “Brighter Day” features Ojai-born, Long Beach-based vocalist Adryon de León. de Leon has managed to have a vast and varied career. She’s been a backing vocalist for the likes of Lady GagaGeorge ClintonMacy Gray and others. de León also has a seven year stint as the frontwoman of Orgōne. Currently, she’s one of the vocalists in the soul collective Matador! Soul Sounds alongside Eddie Roberts, Alan EvansKim Dawson and Nate Edgar. Additionally, de León contrrbitued vocals to a track on Trent Reznor‘s score for the Netflix biopic Mank

de Leòn’s version of “Brighter Day” has a completely different tone and feel while retaining the uplifting composition of its predecessor. While Hoyer’s version focused on the larger outside world, de León’s version, which features lyrics written during pandemic related lockdowns and restrictions of last year, focuses on the personal — a glorious reunion with friends and loved ones. Interestingly, the song is underpinned with a simple yet profound call to check in on your loved ones, including the strongest ones because shit was mad real out there. But no matter what, both versions of the song are fueled by an optimism that brighter days will come, even if we don’t know when exactly.

The New Mastersounds — currently, Eddie Roberts (guitar, production), Simon Allen (drums), Pete Stand (bass) and Joe Tatton (keys) — can trace their origins back to the late 1990s: At the time Roberts was promoting a club night in his native Leeds called The Cooker. When The Cooker moved into a new venue with a second floor in 1999, there was both the space and opportunity to put a live band together to compliment the night’s DJ sets.

As it turned out Roberts and Simon Allen had previously played together in The Mastersounds, an act that featured a different bassist and no keyboards. Through friends and the intimate nature of the Leeds scene, Pete Shand and Bob Birch (Hammond) were recruited to join the band, which became The New Mastersounds. Their earliest material was raw and leaned heavily towards boogaloo — but their first rehearsal was so memorable and so hot that Blow It Hard Records released it on two limited-edition 7″ singles in 2000.Since then, the band has released 24 more seven inch singles, 13 full-length albums, three live albums, a remix album and three compilations released in the uK, Japan and the States. During that same period, the band went through a major lineup change with grizzled Leeds scene veteran Joe Tatton replacing Bob Birch on keys and organ.

As a band and individually, The New Mastersounds have collaborated with an eclectic and diverse array of musicians, DJs and producers including Lou Donaldson, Corinne Bailey Rae, Quantic, Carleen Anderson, Keb Darge, Kenny Dope, Mr. Scruff, LSK, Lack of Afro, Page McConnell, Grace Potter, Karl Denson, Melvin Sparks, Idris Muhammad, Fred Wesley, Pee-Wee Ellis, Maceo Parker, Bernard Purdie, George Porter, Jr., Zigaboo Modeliste, Art Neville and Ernest Ranglin.

The New Mastersounds’ latest single “A Brighter Day” can trace its origins back to just after the 2020 election: the band’s Eddie Roberts had written a buoyant and uplifting composition that sonically seems indebted to Curtis Mayfield and classic Motown soul. Roberts then invited some of Color Red Music‘s top vocalists to contribute lyrics to the song. As the story goes, Josh Hoyer and Soul Colossal‘s Josh Hoyer had written down some uplifting lyrics and put them in the can — for whenever an opportunity would call for them. Little did he know, that the occasion would be Roberts calling him to invite him to contribute lyrics. Lyrically, the song is centered around the hope of a brighter, fairer and inclusive new day for all, after a brutally difficult and uneasy few years.

We got work to do y’all. Let’s get to it!



Lucas de Mulder is a Madrid-based guitarist, composer and bandleader. de Mulder recalls having The New Mastersounds‘ “Fancy” on heavy rotation during a particularly hot Spanish summer. Interestingly, de Mulder’s debut single as a bandleader — with a backing band of Chris Spies (keys), Nate Edgar (bass) and Alejandro Castano (drums) — “Warm Nights” featuring Color Red label head, New Mastersounds’ creative mastermind and founder and producer Eddie Roberts. Centered around a shuffling reggae riddim, a sinuous bass line and a conversational solos between the pair that sees Roberts passing the proverbial torch to a new generation of artists. But at it’s core the song — to me, at least — evokes a sultry summer night, much like tonight, where you’re desperately trying to keep cool but also enjoying the fact that everyone is wearing a lot less.

de Mulder’s Eddie Roberts-produced debut album as a bandleader is slated eat.for a Fall release.

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In 2004, Chicago-based producer David Vandenberg brought the Leeds-based funk act The New Mastersounds to the States as an opener for Greyboy All-Stars for what would be the acclaimed British act’s first Stateside tour. And as the story goes, Vandenberg took The New Mastersounds’ guitarist, bandleader and producer Eddie Roberts out to Rosa’s, a legendary blues club on Chicago’s West Side on Roberts’ first night in town to catch local blues legend Omar Coleman, who had been playing Rosa’s for decades. Interestingly, almost two decades later, Roberts would wind up producing Coleman’s forthcoming album Eddie Roberts Presents Omar Coleman: Strange Times.

Slated for release this summer through Roberts’ own Color Red Music, the album’s title is an ode to The New Mastersounds 2001 debut, Keb Darge Presents: The New Mastersounds — and in many ways Coleman’s album finds Roberts, an acclaimed musician, bandleader and producer taking on the role of curator and influencer, championing and supporting artists he believes should be heard and love, essentially paying Keb Darge’s support forward to a worthy act.

Earlier this year, I wrote about album title track “Strange Times,” a strutting and gritty synthesis of The Payback-era James Brown funk and Chicago blues featuring a looping bluesy guitar line, bursts of shimmering strings and a funky bass line that would Bootsy Collins‘ proud paired with Coleman’s powerhouse, soulful vocals. Lyrically, the song’s origins can be traced to a series of conversations Coleman had with Roberts during the album’s recording sessions about the bizarre, infuriating and tragic state of America during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unsurprisingly, the exchange between the two kept turning back to the fact that we were all living in very strange times. Coleman took that and ran with it, immediately scribbling out incisive and fiery lyrics that accurately describe life in our very moment with the song talking about the abject poverty, desperation and uncertainty that hardworking and decent folks everywhere face. As the old saying the rich get richer while the poor get sicker.

“Chicago,” Strange Times‘ latest single is a fiery song that hews to Chicago’s beloved blues tradition while brashly refusing to be pigeonholed. Much like its predecessor, it’s a bit of synthesis of Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf-like blues and James Brown-era soul featuring an enormous horn line, a blazing harmonica solo and a strutting grove paired with Coleman’s soulful wailing. Starting with Coleman proudly announcing that he’s from Chicago’s West Side, the song talks about the things I love about that city: its a town inhabited by tough, hardworking people, who like countless people across the world are struggling to survive to keep their dignity intact, despite the despair, shittiness and inequity and inequality thrown in their path.

For the album, Roberts recruited an accomplished backing band that features himself, Ghost Light’Dan Africano (bass), Matador! Soul Sounds‘ Chris Spies (keys and organ), Dragondeer’s Carl Sorenson (drums), Lettuce‘s Eric “Benny” Bloom (trumpet), Michal Menert‘s Nick Gerlach (sax), Adrienne Short (viola) and Kari Clifton (violin) to help him with a sonic approach that would combine classic blues with funkier blues. And to capture the rawness and immediacy of the material, they recorded it straight to tape on Color Red Studios’ Tascam 388. “I hear Omar’s voice as a cross between Muddy Waters and Charles Bradley,” Roberts says. “I tried to reflect those qualities in music approach and songwriting as well as the way we recorded the album and built the instrumentation of the tracks.

Growing up in a small island community in Florida, the Florida-born, Denver-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jeff White believes the experience is imprinted onto his soul and his work. Inspired by the likes of Sublime, Bob Marley, Stevie Wonder, Sam Cooke, Jack Johnson, Barrington Levy, and Paul Simon, the Florida-born, Denver-based artist has developed and honed what he has dubbed “acoustic roots soul” with Jeff White & Soul Taxi, The Casual Strange and as aa solo artist.

White got the vision for his latest single — a recreation of Peter Tosh‘s classic “Treat You Right” — while surfing in Costa Rica. He recruited his friends and longtime collaborators JJ Grey and Morfo‘s Todd Small, Magic Beans‘ Casey Russell and Joey Lanna to record two versions of the track with Color Red Music founder and The New MastersoundsEddie Roberts: The A side is a soulful reggae version that slows the tempo down but still manages to hew closely in spirit to the original. The B side is a shuffling Motown meets Muscle Shoals-like take on the song that makes the song sound as though it could have been released in 1972 or so. Interestingly, while both versions prominently feature White’s soulful crooning, they manage to pull the hurt and betrayal at the center of the original, even more into the spotlight.

Back in 2004, Chicago-based producer David Vandenberg brought the Leeds-based funk act The New Mastersounds to the States as an opener for Greyboy All-Stars for what would be the acclaimed British act’s first Stateside tour. As the story goes, Vandenberg took The New Mastersounds’ guitarist, bandleader and producer Eddie Roberts out to Rosa’s, a legendary blues club on Chicago’s West Side on Roberts’ first night in town to catch local bluesman Omar Coleman, a local blues legend, who had been playing Rosa’s for decades. 17 years later, Roberts wound up producing Coleman’s forthcoming album Eddie Roberts Presents Omar Coleman: Strange Times.

Slated for release this summer through Roberts’ own Color Red Music, the album’s title is an ode to The New Mastersounds 2001 debut, Keb Darge Presents: The New Mastersounds — and in many ways Coleman’s album finds Roberts, an acclaimed musician, bandleader and producer taking on the role of curator and influencer, championing and supporting artists he believes should be heard and loved.

Eddie Roberts Presents Omar Coleman: Strange Times‘ latest single, album title track is a strutting and gritty synthesis of The Payback-era James Brown funk and Chicago blues within a classic 12 bar blues structure featuring a looping bluesy guitar line reminiscent of B.B. King, Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters, an enormous horn line, bursts of shimmering strings and a funky bass line that would make Bootsy Collins‘ proud paired with Coleman’s powerhouse, soulful vocals. Lyrically, the song’s origins can be traced to a series of conversations Coleman had with Roberts during the album’s recording sessions about bizarre, infuriating and tragic state of America during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unsurprisingly, the exchange between the two kept turning back to the fact that we were all living in very strange times. Coleman took that and ran with it, immediately scribbling out incisive and fiery lyrics that accurately describe life in our very moment with the song talking about the abject poverty, desperation and uncertainty that hardworking and decent folks everywhere face. As the old saying the rich get richer while the poor get sicker.

Roberts’ recruited an accomplished backing band that features himself, Ghost Light’s Dan Africano (bass), Matador! Soul SoundsChris Spies (keys and organ), Dragondeer’s Carl Sorenson (drums), Lettuce‘s Eric “Benny” Bloom (trumpet), Michal Menert‘s Nick Gerlach (sax), Adrienne Short (viola) and Kari Clifton (violin) to help him with a sonic approach that would combine classic blues with funkier blues. And to capture the rawness and immediacy of the material, they recorded it straight to tape on Color Red Studios’ Tascam 388. “I hear Omar’s voice as a cross between Muddy Waters and Charles Bradley,” Roberts says. “I tried to reflect those qualities in music approach and songwriting as well as the way we recorded the album and built the instrumentation of the tracks.”

Crowd Company is a rising, London-based acid jazz/jazz fusion/funk octet featuring core members Rob Fleming (vocals, guitar), Emil Engstrom (bass), Claudio Corona (keys), Esther Dee (vocals), Jo Marshall (vocals) and Robin Lowrey (drums) with a horn section including a rotating cast of top local players like Piers Green and Ed Benstea that specializes in sound that draws from and features elements of 1960s soul, 70s jazz fusion, contemporary funk, the blues and jam band rock: their material is centered around arrangements that feature Hammond organ, a virtuous horn section, soulful vocals and three part harmonies and funky grooves paired with razor sharp hooks.

The British octet has also built up a reputation for a powerhouse live show, while opening for an impressive list of acclaimed and legendary artists including The MetersGeorge Porter, Jr., JOVM mainstays Soulive, The New Mastersounds, Saun & Starr, James Taylor Quartet and Monophonics among others.

Earlier this year, the band released their most recent album, the Alan Evans-produced and mixed Lowdown, which The Big Takeover lauded as an album “that bursts at the sonic seams with rich, vibrant and varied compositions.”  The rising British act’s latest single “Orbital” was recorded during the Lowdown sessions at Evans’ Iron Wax Studios. And although the track sees the members of Crowd Company continuing their collaboration with Lettuce’s Ryan Zoidis and Eric “Benny” Bloom, it wasn’t included as one of Lowdown‘s album tracks. Clocking in at a little under 5:30, the funky and intergalactic composition sees the act bridging acid jazz, jazz fusion, retro-futuristic funk and psychedelia in a way that reminds me of Switzerland’s merchants of jazzy grooves L’Eclair— but with an enormous Parliament Funkadelic-like horn section.

Currently comprised of founding duo Soulive‘s Alan Evans (drums) and The New Mastersounds’ Eddie Roberts (guitar), along with Chris Spies (keys), Kevin Scott (bass), who’s a member of Jimmy Herring‘s backing band, Adyron de Leon (vocals) and Pimps of Joytime’s Kimberly Dawson, Matador! Soul Sounds can trace their origins to when Evans and Roberts were touring together with their respective main gigs, and as Roberts explains in press notes, “The idea came about one night while we were drinking wine in a bar in DC, when I turned to Alan and asked ‘can we start a band together?’ Alan obviously shared the same sentiment, as we are here today launching the debut album!”

Interestingly, the band is loosely centered around the concept of Spanish bullfighting. A common American misconception of bullfighting is that it’s the feat off one man versus one bull; but rather, bullfighting is largely a team effort in which the matter is backed by his cuadrilla, his team, his corner — and its actually much more like boxing. Additionally, the band’s name is partially a nod at Grant Green’Matador, which both Evans and Roberts had liked immensely. Sonically, Matador! Soul Sounds approach draws from its founders shared musical passions including jazz, funk and soul, but in a subtly different fashion than the individual band leader’s previous work.

The act’s latest single  “Theme for a Private Investigator” finds the act drawing from crispy, Southern fried funk, soul and blues in a way that may remind some listeners of Matthew Stubbs and the Antiguas, as Matador! Soul Sounds nods at the work of Booker T and the MG’s, as well as Muscle Shoals and The Meters while possessing an incredibly cinematic, 70s TV theme song like quality; in fact, you can probably picture the show’s protagonist and his wise-cracking sidekick strutting to their badass car, fighting bad guys, saving the girl and what not to the song, and it makes perfect sense.

The All-Star act’s full-length debut Get Ready is slated for release next week — both digitally and on vinyl, and they’ll be embarking on a national tour to support the album, which will include a March 17, 2018 stop at Brooklyn Bowl. Check out the rest of the tour dates below.
Tour Dates
3/15 @ Rex Theatre – Pittsburgh, PA – tix
3/16 @ Union Stage – Washington, DC – tix
3/17 @ [Pacifico Presents] Brooklyn Bowl – Brooklyn, NY – tix
3/18 @ Fairfield Theatre Company – Fairfield, CT – tix
3/19 @ Brighton Music Hall – Boston, MA – tix
3/21 @ The Ardmore Music Hall – Ardmore, PA – tix
3/22 @ Martyr’s – Chicago, IL – tix – tix
3/23 @ Cervantes’ Other Side – Denver, CO – tix
3/24 @ Fox Theatre – Boulder, CO – tix
3/26 @ Great American Music Hall – San Francisco, CA – tix
3/28 @ Jack London Revue – Portland, OR – tix
3/29 @ Nectar Lounge – Seattle, WA – tix