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July '04

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Andy Masters
Trek 440 Productions

Kansas City native and musician Andy Masters left KC (some surprise, uh) in the early ‘90s for LA. His first CD, Trek, had its beginning there. Some ten years later the project was finally put to plastic.

Trek is a very good listen, a creation Masters described in an email as one from “a bebop player who has been injected with large doses of R&B and funk.” True, as the first track “Trek” lays out the sounds with Kenny Hudson’s slap bass lines and Pete Cole’s drumming. But Masters left out the rock guitarist part, which pops up frequently on the disc.

The next track, “Cantaloupe Island,” (credited to Herbie Hancock) is a real delight. Though it smacks of being a total studio creation, with adroit mixing and experienced production talents, the piece moves across a big musical landscape. Cal Green Jr. accents quite nicely on rhythm guitar, especially when Wayne Hawkins takes the lead on the keyboard. And Todd Wilkinson on sax manages to move outside the funk rhythms without getting away from the beat. This cut alone makes it worth picking up Trek.

“Footprints” showcases Masters’ jazz chops. It’s a stripped down, straight-ahead sound that frees up Hawkins on piano to have some fun. Another reason to get this CD. For a genuine funk sound, it’s “Memphis Underground,” with some tasty exchanges between Masters on guitar and Hudson on bass. Masters’ rock guitar playing comes across on “All Blues,” balanced nicely with Hudson’s bass. Hawkins gives the piece its blues tinge on keyboards.

The last two cuts on the disc, “Autumn Leaves” and “Stella By Starlight” should have been left to another CD, something Masters says he’s working on.

It’s good to have this talented guy back in KC. —Bruce Rodgers (Posted 7/23/04)

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