Shake It from The New Mastersounds in stores tomorrow, 9/13

The New Mastersounds, the funk and groove band from Leeds, England with a deep affection for New Orleans music, will release their latest recording, Shake It, on Friday, September 13. The album will be available on vinyl as well as other formats on producer and guitarist Eddie Roberts’ label Color Red.

The new record is a departure from their well-known focus on slinky instrumental grooves. Shake It features a singer, Lamar Williams Jr., the son of late Allman Brothers bassist Lamar Williams, on most of the cuts. Williams brings a powerful presence to his tunes and gives longtime listeners fascinating insights into the band’s perspective through the lyrics.

The band also enlists a horn section featuring Mike Olmos on trumpet, a regular guest who has already appeared on albums such as Renewable Energy and Made For Pleasure, and New Orleans’ own Jason Mingledorff on saxophone and flute. The horns add a lot to the proceedings through compelling solos and strong section work.

While the additional musicians including Williams, Jr. freshen up the band’s signature sound, The New Mastersounds don’t leave fans of the old school jazzy soul in the lurch. The production opens up plenty of space for Eddie Roberts’ sterling guitar work and the punchy organ playing of Joe Tatton.

Standout cuts include “Let’s Go Back,” a swampy mid tempo tune that instantly invokes a Meters groove complete with a horn section call-and-response, and “Kings and Queens,” a sweet love song with great section breaks and a stellar guitar solo.

“Layin’ Low” takes the four-piece band back to their instrumental roots with a keyboard part seemingly right out of the Art Neville school, and a groove filled with wide open spaces from the rhythm section of bassist Pete Shand and drummer Simon Allen. Another instrumental, “Permission to Land,” positively percolates while the horns add lines right out of the soul jazz playbook.

It’s nice to see a band take chances with a proven formula. With Shake It, The New Mastersounds retain everything that makes them such a powerful band while also stretching out into a more pop direction with the addition of Williams, Jr.

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