The New Mastersounds have been making records for almost 20 years, and in that time have become world-class purveyors of classic funk and soul-jazz. The band released an album of new material (“Made for Pleasure”) last fall; this short-order follow-up isn’t another studio album per se, and not quite a live record, either. Instead, it’s what the title intimates: a single session, cut live to tape in front of a small (and, on record, silent) audience, with no horns, no guest singers, nothing but the band’s taut guitar-bass-organ-drums lineup in play. Aside from a new James Brown (by way of Grant Green) cover and a re-do of the title track from last year’s release, the set revisits and tweaks songs from the early years of the New Mastersounds catalog. The Meters-channeling B-side “Burnt Back,” the wah-wah goodness of “The Minx,” and the stinging permutations of Eddie Roberts’s guitar on “Coming Up Roses” are among the offerings; lean, tasty, one-take freshness is the result.
ESSENTIAL “Coming Up Roses”Stuart Munro can be reached at email@example.com.