Personnel: Eddie Roberts (guitar); Joe Tatton (keyboards); Pete Shand (bass guitar); Simon Allen (drums).
Recording information: The Living Room, Gretna, New Orleans (01/2015).
Photographer: Jim Mimna.
Where in the World (or Maybe Just the U.S.) Are the New Mastersounds? could be a contest run by this Leeds, England band. From 2011 through 2014 alone, the New Mastersounds released studio albums recorded in Texas, California, and Colorado, as well as a live set performed in Hamburg, Germany. Made for Pleasure was laid down in New Orleans, Louisiana. Versed as they are in a multitude of groove-oriented jazz and R&B forms up through the '70s, the musicians naturally incorporate some acknowledgments of the city's contributions to the genres they honor. The title track leads the album with a greased-up, scratched-out instrumental that evokes the Meters, and there are other nods to the Crescent City, but the set roams more freely than any of the group's albums that preceded it. Three songs fronted and co-written by North Carolina native Charly Lowry, who competed a decade prior on the third season of American Idol, add heft and grit, while Spellbinder leads a vintage reggae version of Iggy Azalea's number one pop hit "Fancy" (with "irie," of course, in place of "fancy"). The remaining cuts are instrumentals that, all together, allow each instrumentalist room to shine, whether evoking a late-'60s George Benson date or prime Prestige-era Charles Earland. The quartet members, along with their guest horn players and percussionists, are so proficient at what they do that their output seems to simply flow out with minimal effort. Once they settle into a groove, the course they take always seems instinctive and often predictable, but they always deliver a good time. ~ Andy Kellman