Funky Sunday with New Mastersounds, Turkuaz

Tahoe Onstage
The New Mastersounds, shown at 2016 High Sierra Music Fest, play Sunday at the Crystal Bay Casino.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

British soul, New York City funk and a local musician’s homecoming will be celebrated Sunday night in the Crystal Bay Casino’s Crown Room.

The New Mastersounds

Formed in Leeds in 1990, headliners The New Mastersounds are more popular in the United States, where guitarist Eddie Roberts now resides. Paradoxically, Roberts was inspired by Grant Green, an American jazz guitarist who was more popular Britain.

The New Mastersounds has a special affection for the Sierra Nevada. It played its first two shows in the United States in 2004 and returned the next year for engagements in San Francisco and Los Angeles before debuting at the High Sierra Music Festival.

“To me, it felt like the Monterey Pop Festival,” Roberts said. “We had just played before four people at a show in L.A. We have a photograph of the envelope that held our settlement at the end of the night. It reads, ‘$5 times 4 equals $20. Four Masterminds.’ ”

But the tour soon became a most successful four-man British Invasion.

“What an incredible time,” Roberts said of High Sierra. “When we arrived, nobody’d heard of us and when we left, we had a fan base and the next time we came through San Francisco we had fans. So it’s a very special festival for us.”

The band played High Sierra for the fourth time last summer. In January, it released a 10th studio album, “Made For Pleasure.” Later in the year, just as it wrapped up a tour, the New Mastersounds made a live studio album, “Nashville Session,” which was only released on vinyl.

The original quartet remains together: Roberts, Simon Allen (drums), Pete Shand (bass) and Joe Tatton (organ).

The band’s name comes from the band Mastersounds, led by Monk Montgomery. That group’s best known record was released in 1958 and featured Montgomery’s more famous brother, guitarist Wes Montgomery.

The Turkuaz horn section: Truckee native Chris Brouwers, Josh Schwartz and Greg Sanderson.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

With nine people in its ranks, Turkuaz is built to bring a barrage of deep funk that hits you from all angles. On its latest album “Digitonium,” the band utilized its many moving parts to create a dense sound that was layered in horns, synths, guitars and moved with the daring energy of a whirlwind night through the neon grime of New York City.

The band includes Truckee native Chris Brouwers, who plays trumpet and keyboards.

“We wanted to do something different. This record is a slight departure from our previous sound and our previous records. A lot of those are us playing into our soul and classic funk roots. So this next album, “Digitonium,” we wanted to kind of move forward with that. New sounds, new songs. It’s just kind of the next step for us,” said trumpet and keyboard player Chris Brouwers told Tahoe Onstage.

The popping bass and squirming synths on the album harks back to the digital frontier that funk music was exploring in the late 1970s and early 1980s. You can hear the natural correlation between Turkuaz and bands such as Parliament/Funkadelic, The Gap Band and Rick James, who helped to program that kind of digitized funk. Brouwers acknowledged the influences and said the band was listening to more ’80s-style, synthesized music that they all loved growing up while they were recording the album.

Not only were Brouwers and the rest of Turkuaz drawing on those funk influences to help shape their sound, but they also wanted to play with the same instruments. Brouwers said the band used a lot of different analog synthesizers to help create these sonic soundscapes in the studio the band could explore. Pushing themselves musically with this new equipment, not everything made in onto the record. However, the album is littered with small snippets of grooves the band took from the cutting room floor that connect all the songs into a cohesive world of sound.

“A lot of different people brought in little things that maybe we didn’t turn into an entire song where we wrote out lyrics to them, but it was some kind of groove or progression we really liked and we’d think about how to try and get this in and how can we use this on a transition. We put a lot of effort with transitions between songs. Like I mentioned, soundscapes — having continuity flowing throughout the album from one song to another. Those little musical interludes were a really cool way to do that we thought,” Brouwers said.

Get your daily fix of Tahoe live music at Tahoe

  • New Mastersounds
    Openers: Turkuaz
    Red Room after-party: Mojo Green
    When: 9 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 13
    Where: Crystal Bay Casino
    Tickets: $22 in advance or $25 on the day of the show

    Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage
    Masters: Eric McFadden, left, and Eddie Roberts jam at 2016 High Sierra Fest.
    Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

    Mojo Green
    Mojo Green plays the after-party

ABOUT Tim Parsons

Tim Parsons
Tim Parsons is the editor of Tahoe Onstage who first moved to Lake Tahoe in 1992. Before starting Tahoe Onstage in 2013, he worked for 29 years at newspapers, including the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Eureka Times-Standard and Contra Costa Times. He was the recipient of the 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive award for Journalism.


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