Friday, December 25, 2009

Best Jazz Albums Of 2009: The New Mastersounds

The Intersection: Best Albums Of 2009
Each day over the next week we will discuss the albums that have been on repeat on our stereo for the past 12 months (in no particular order).

The New Mastersounds
Ten Years On
(One Note Records)

With a combination of Jimmy Smith, Booker T. & The MG's and the Meters jazz/funk, The New Mastersounds have created a sound all their own. This Leeds based quartet has been around as their new album says--for 10 years, with only a few lineup changes but always remaining fresh and true to their funky jazz roots. While on first listen you may not think of the group as "jazz", the more you listen the more precise the jazz influences begin to appear.

The New Mastersounds definitely will set a party on fire but it's the tight the musicianship that has really turned me on over the last few years. Each album has the Hammond B3 and piano as its base point but with little swathes of sax, guitars and guest vocalists, NMS turn each outing into a new adventure. The current release Ten Years On is phenomenal. A rich and diverse selection of tunes that move from high intensity funk of the opening "San Frantico" to tantalizing and well composed "Cielo" featuring some very fine sax work.

The New Mastersounds may not be every jazz fans cup of tea but every once in awhile you have to let yourself go. The New Mastersounds to me are the Headhunters of the 21st century. And Ten Years On has become one of my late favourites of 2009.

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