The New Mastersounds – Shake It (feat. Lamar Williams Jr)

Twenty years in the game is no small feat in the fickle world of music, especially for an instrumental funk band. With so many releases under their belt that their own promotion agency has lost count, and an amount of live shows that only dedicated musicians who truly love their craft could withstand, The New Mastersounds continue to play, compose and record with the enthusiasm and joy of teenagers, while having garnered the experience and skill of the seasoned veterans they are.

Celebrating two decades as a band, new album Shake It sees The New Mastersounds, shake it up, with a departure from the jazz-funk-fusion meanderings of their recent releases and a new entry in the form of singer Lamar Williams Jr (son of late Allman Brothers bassist Lamar Williams). Add to the mix Mike Olmos on trumpet (an NMS regular who has already appeared on their Renewable Energy and Made For Pleasure albums), and Jason Mingledorff on sax and flute (previously on tour with St. Paul and the Broken Bones), and you have yourself a very tasty cocktail indeed (shake it, don’t stir).

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Appearing on the majority of the album’s tracks, Lamar Williams Jr’s husky voice is a match made in heaven with the tight groove that NMS seem effortlessly to provide. Take title-track and album opener Shake It, a clear statement of intent whose infectious, feel-good beat lays the perfect foundation for Lamar to drop a soulful topline. Or press play on Let’s Go Back, a stirring slice of mid-tempo swamp funk with bluesy inflections that pays homage to the New Orleans scene. While Taking Me Down displays hints of Latin funk and oh-so-funky horns over a groovy backbeat, Live Life Free presses on the accelerator for a fast-paced, inspirational ride through soul-jazz territories, guided by Lamar’s rousing vocals.

Up-tempo instrumental number Permission to Land sees The New Mastersounds collaborate with Thievery Corporation drummer Jeff Franca to lay down a stone-cold groove that will easily make its way into many a b-boy circle. And love song Kings & Queens keeps things moving with its cheerful beat and a brilliant guitar solo at the halfway mark. But there are also more mellow moments: atmospheric slow-burner Too Late to Worry brings the tempo down to a simmering boil, Lovely Daze is a sunny piece of uplifting Summer soul and Layin’ Low provides a slab of lazy jazz-funk goodness centred around the swirling organ.

From the first to the last note Shake It is a treat for the ears. And why wouldn’t it be? In 20 years of activity, one thing The New Mastersounds surely are is a guarantee.

Mother Earth – Soona Than Much Layta EP

Mother Earth released their debut album Stoned Woman in 1992 on Acid Jazz Records quickly followed by their first single, a version of Santana’s Hope You’re Feeling Better. The next album, The People Tree, was hailed as a masterpiece and featured Paul Weller, James Taylor, and D.C. Lee. Further albums You Have Been Watching and The Desired Effect received critical acclaim before the band split in 1997.

Mother Earth are now back in 2019 with a new line up featuring Matt Deighton (Mother Earth / Paul Weller’s band), Mick Talbot (The Style Council / Galliano), Ernie McKone (Galliano), Crispin Taylor (Galliano) and Sulene Fleming (The Brand New Heavies).

Their new four-track EP features two new tracks, Soona Than Much Layta and Coming Unstuck Again plus a funked-up version of the Derek & The Dominos classic Got To Get Better In A Little While and their take on Good Things.

Ofenbach VS. Lack of Afro – PARTY (feat. Wax & Herbal T)

Club DJs and producers Dorian Lo and César de Rummel have been active as Ofenbach since 2014, the year the Paris, France-based duo fell under the spell of house music. The young musicians had a creative epiphany when they heard the productions of Robin Schulz, then set off on fusing elements of traditional rock and electronic dance music with pop appeal. After an assortment of singles and remixes Ofenbach broke through in 2016 with Be Mine, which landed in the Top Ten of several pop charts across Eurasia, including France, where it earned a diamond certification.

After collaborating with US songwriter Nick Waterhouse on KATCHI (6th on the European airplay chart and the most Shazamed dance track in the world for more than three months), the duo have turned the energy up a notch with a new musical revelation: PARTY. Presenting their own unique take on the Lack of Afro feat. Wax & Herbal T old school hip hop/funk classic with its rock, hip-hop and electro influences, PARTY does what it says on the tin!

Lack of Afro – Jack of All Trades

Never one to be constrained by musical genres, multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer Adam Gibbons (aka Lack of Afro) has taken it up several notches with his sixth studio album Jack of All Trades, a multi-genre tour de force that combines soul, funk, hip-hop, disco, rock and everything in-between, all wrapped up in his signature chunky production to create arguably his finest work to date.

The album is blessed with some incredible vocal performances. Regular collaborator Elliott Cole, Nick Corbin (formally of New Street Adventure), Ed Martin (formerly of I Am Giant), Wax & Herbal T, Alyssa Marie, Camila Recchio, Juliette Ashby and Emma Noble are all on scintillating form on an album that’s crammed full of infectious hooks, top musicianship, and more importantly, vibe by the bucketload!

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Classic soul (Back To The Day, Reach Out), hip-hop (Back In Business, Take It Up A Notch), disco (Only You & Me), rock (Over & Out), modern soul (Baby Be Mine), folk (Home) and a healthy dose of funk (The Messin’ Around Intermission, Good Love), all combine to create an album that is stuffed with gorgeous phonic gems of all varieties and represents a definite step up from anything he has done before.

Packed full of beautiful horns and lush strings (and all recorded onto tape through a 1970’s mixing desk), Jack of All Trades is Adam doing what he does best and then some – blending the old and new to come up with a crossover classic that’s entirely his own, whilst all the while ensuring that the songwriting takes centre stage.

Adam’s music continues to be in high demand across all aspects of film & TV by networks such as ABC, Fox, NBC, Sony Pictures & the BBC.

His debut album Press On (2007) has been given ‘classic’ status by Future Music Magazine.

Jack Tyson Charles – Glory EP

Jack Tyson Charles is a hugely dynamic musical force. Whether you’ve heard him on Lack of Afro’s hugely successful 2014 album, Music for Adverts or his EPs, Restoration & Best Friend you’re sure to have noticed the raw and individual quality of his voice.

2019 sees Jack continue to add more grooves to his music, Glory is his second release in collaboration with multi-instrumentalist & producer Danny Kane, firmly cementing a new direction for this talented singer.

Glory is a slick, Rhodes-laden chunk of modern boogie that wraps Jack’s superb vocal around mazy synth solos, plucked strings, dreamy chords and sharp, Chic-style guitars. Classic co-founder Luke Solomon delivers two tidy reworks, complimenting a bustling, string-laden house Remix with a bouncy, glassy-eyed Dub rich in sweeping strings and heady synth stabs. Arguably best of all, though, is Bonar Bradberry’s stripped back proto-house style rework.

The New Mastersounds – The Nashville Session 2

During a tour pitstop in June 2018 The New Mastersounds returned to Welcome To 1979 studios in Nashville, TN to record a follow-up to their 2016 live-in-studio album The Nashville Session. The band performed 15 tunes in front of a small invited audience, recorded them straight to tape using tasty vintage gear, and selected 8 favourites to go onto a vinyl LP, adding two more for the CD and digital releases.

Their live set was recorded and mixed directly onto ¼” stereo tape reels on a hot summer evening in front of an invited studio audience, members of whom took turns either to watch in the live room or listen from the control room. The first Nashville Session album was organ-only, so to give this one a different flavour Joe Tatton played acoustic upright piano, a Fender Rhodes, a Wurlitzer and a Prophet 5 synthesizer.

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With no edits and no overdubs – just bass, drums, guitar and keyboards – both albums capture the band’s heavily-improvised and energetic approach to live performance yet share the same warm, naturally crunchy, analogue tape sound of the classic soul-jazz and funk recordings of the late 60s and early 70s which first inspired the band to start making music together nearly 20 years ago. The compositions presented here are all NMS originals.

Lack Of Afro + Wax & Herbal T – Back In Business

Multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer Adam Gibbons (aka Lack of Afro) first saw Wax & Herbal T back in 2009 after being sent a video of them in their car freestyling over his cover of the Arctic Monkeys When The Sun Goes Down. Blown away by their incredible wordplay & lyrical dexterity, he immediately contacted the brothers about guesting on his album, My Groove Your Move, released in 2009. Luckily for him they said yes…

Fast forward 8 years and collectively they have appeared on 6 Lack of Afro originals including the monster hit P.A.R.T.Y (licensed by Adidas, Miller Lite, ABC and Fox to name but a few), whilst Adam has returned the favour by producing 6 originals for their own solo projects, with combined YouTube views totalling in excess of 10 million.

Kicking things off here is the irresistibly catchy title track Back In Business – a funk-soaked tour de force of live musicianship, huge drums and a chorus that will stay in your head for weeks!

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Cold Blooded sees the brothers go hard from the outset – their ferociously quick & aggressive wordplay perfectly complimenting Lack of Afro’s savagely funky instrumental. To call it ‘big’ would be an understatement!

Take It Up A Notch does exactly what it says on the tin, keeping the dance-floor packed and cranking the party vibes right up to 11.

Ride is reminiscent of hazy 70’s west coast radio – underpinned with a groove to make your head snap and combined with Wax’s wistful vocals, it’s the obvious soundtrack for your next road trip.

Balcony is the brothers’ ode to the joys of plant-based inhalation and herbal relief, all administered with just the right dose of funk. It’ll make you feel ‘lovely’ too…

And there you have it. 5 tracks. 5 winners. Game over!

*Balcony – unavailable for licensing.

Bernard Purdie & Friends – Cool Down

Bernard “Pretty” Purdie – the self-proclaimed “Most Recorded Drummer in History” – new album, Cool Down is his first release of original music in nearly a decade and features the legendary Bernard Purdie alongside modern funk, soul and jazz masterminds Ivan Neville, Pete Shand, and Brian J. Special guests include three inimitable vocalists: Cyril Neville (The Meters, Neville Brothers), Anthony Cole, and Mayteana Morales (Pimps of Joytime).

Ranked among the “Top 20 Drummers of All Time” by Rolling Stone Magazine and inducted into Modern Drummer‘s “Hall of Fame,” Purdie’s idiosyncratic drum work can be heard on a staggering number of classic albums produced by artists such as The Beatles, James Brown, Nina Simone, B.B. King, Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis, Hall & Oates and Steely Dan. His drum patterns, a unique merger of urban swagger and loose Southern funk, have all but defined early hip-hop.

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Cool Down takes the metropolitan sound of East Coast funk and intermingles it with New Orleans rhythms. Cool Down, Elevate and Keep on Shining are grooves that fans of The Meters and Funkadelic would come to expect Purdie to record with his fresh new band. The early 70’s-esque standout single Deep in Love featuring Brooklyn’s own Mayteana Morales is destined to become an instant classic.

Cool Down keeps true to its funk roots with standout instrumental numbers Shand Stand, Money Bags and The Golden Tie. And with Purdie straight on the beat and sparse as can be, Stranded elevates the blues tradition to historical proportions with Cyril Neville singing his heart out while Ivan Neville supports on Hammond B3.

On Cool Down, Purdie brings the same vibrancy and spontaneity that embodies the best work of his famed career. With his new core band and standout special guests … Cool Down marks one of 2018’s singular soul & jazz albums.

Matador! Soul Sounds – Get Ready

Matador! Soul Sounds are proud to announce their debut album Get Ready.

Matador! Soul Sounds are a band loosely based on the concept of Spanish bullfighting. A common misconception in America is that bullfighting is a feat of one man versus one bull—in reality, bullfighting is largely a team effort by a matador and his cuadrilla.

Born from the vision of Eddie Roberts (The New Mastersounds) and Alan Evans (Soulive) their fierce cuadrilla consists of keyboardist Chris Spies and bassist Kevin Scott (Jimmy Herring) as the band’s “banderilleros”. Adding a feminine energy to the band are Adryon de León and Kimberly Dawson (Pimps of Joytime) on vocals. Combining the dynamism of each band leader, the music they have created is brand new, hard hitting and drenched with their shared musical passions – jazz, funk & soul.