New album ‘Old School’ by UK veterans The New Mastersounds

Mar 29th, 2024

Category: news

New album ‘Old School’ by UK veterans The New Mastersounds

UK soul-jazz heroes The New Mastersounds are back with a new album! Old School comprises 10 original instrumental tunes composed and performed at keyboard player Joe Tatton‘s studio in the heart of the English Peak District during a rainy week in July 2023. The tracks showcase the earthy essence of the band via its signature vocabulary of uncomplicated funk, soul-jazz, classic R&B and reggae-infused grooves.

Album opener “Down on the Farm” is a midtempo funk wah-wah trance groove that develops into an enjoyably silly game of stop-start question-and-answer back-and-forth between Joe’s Hammond organ and Eddie’s guitar.

Track 2 postulates that “Boogaloo Is Dead”, but it isn’t really, is it though? Or if it was, the lads have brought it back to life with this ditty in which Pete Shand does his best organ pedal impersonation on bass guitar, Eddie Roberts shreds dirty 16ths like Ivan ‘Boogaloo’ Joe Jones’ adopted son, and Joe Tatton pulls out all his drawbars and pushes them back in again.

“Breakfast T” is a straightforward homage to Booker T & The MGs with a lighters-aloft anthemic groove that chugs along like a freight train, while Smoothie goes down a treat with its uptempo, tambourine-driven soul-jazz groove sitting somewhere between Boogaloo Joe Jones and early James Taylor Quartet but with a much crunchier drum sound courtesy of the band’s rhythm keeper Simon Allen.

The title of “Two Fat Ladies (88)” is bingo-caller’s code, it refers to the tune’s tempo of 88bpm. A languid two-bar funk groove is the bed for some spacious Dorian jazz piano meanderings from Joe Tatton. Similarly tongue-in-cheek is Do The Sausage Roll, which was the first single lifted from the album, but someone needs to come up with a dance and call it the Sausage Roll for this to make any sense.

More funky crunchiness is present on “In Da Club”, with hypnotic one-bar James Brown guitar riffs punctuated by stops and a Duane Eddy twang, with piano on top, whereas we’re taken back to the glory days of Studio One with Buggin”, an early-70s soulful reggae number with some suspiciously inorganic overdubs.

“Scrappy Doo” is frantic, urgent, messy, scrappy, noisy nonsense. But on “Till The Cows Come Home” we find the sort of Meters-inspired midtempo malarkey that has become almost synonymous with The New Mastersounds, in this case with a Ziggy-esque 4-bar drum break landing almost exactly at the halfway point to herald the statutory Hammond solo. They could play this kind of thing till the cows come home, which is to say (if you happen to be a dairy farmer): all day long.

‘Old School’ out LP / CD / Digitally on March 29th 2024 via One Note Records