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Three bands – one collective
The collective is basically the rhythm section and the engine room of the three bands. They musicians are Mike Sturgis (drums), Tony Remy (guitar), Ross Stanley (keyboards), Karl Vanden Bossche (percussion) and Stefan Redtenbacher (bass).
The STAKS Band also rotate the Hammond organ chair with Rich Milner and Stevie Watts. More on the Staks band and their complete line-up below.
The Masterlink Sessions house band collective also include Carter Arrington, Simon Johnson, Scott McKeon and Mike Outram on guitar as well as Pete Billington, Joe Glossop, Anders Olinder and Liam Dunachie on Hammond.
The band is covering a lot of musical ground and genres range from jazz, blues, soul, Americana, funk, pop , singer-songwriter, psychedelic rock, straight up Rock’n’Roll and everything in between. Always with full vigour, intensity and authenticity.
Redtenbacher’s Funkestra aka the Masterlink Sessions studio band
As the name would imply the Funkestra is run by Stefan Redtenbacher. It has by now clocked up nearly 5 million Spotify streams, 10 editorial playlists and over 1.5 million YouTube streams. Stefan has been the bassist, bandleader, arranger and principal composer since their 1996 album ‘Boozing Wizards (Searching for the Stone of Funk)’. The recorded was created in Winthrop, Boston MA.
As time went on his collaborations have also steadily grown. Not only has the Funkestra released about 20 albums by now, the core band has also recorded about 10 albums for other artists – produced or co-produced by Stefan. Notably, as of recent – Connor Selby, who on the strength of the album was signed to the Mascot Label group. This is a major coup for any blues artist.
The Masterlink Sessions
The later has all taken place after studio owner, audio engineer and producer James Welch (Masterlink Productions) and Stefan started the Masterlink Sessions. Videographer Leo Mansell (Shoot ‘n’ Splice films) joint shortly after their intitial idea and the three have been the core team since.
They have produced videos and recording for Grammy Award winning artists (Mike Farris), UK Voice winners, (Blessing Annatoria) multi-national companies, legends of the UK music scene (Hamish Stuart, Sarah Jane Morris, Jo Harman) and support seriously good upcoming talent from all around the world.
The STAKS Band
Started in 1999. The founder, bandleader and pianist David Fitzsimons – ‘the godfather’ set up the band with a few friends and pro musicians for a private party.
The first lead singer was Sam Brown of ‘Stop’ fame, daughter of Pete and Vicky Brown.
From there-on the quality of the band and ambitions grew steadily and one linch-pin event in the STAKS calendar became the Cornbury Music Festival, this year in it’s final and ‘last hurrah’ year. ‘Poshstock’ run from 2004 to 2022 and the band with it, some years ago elevated from the Songbird stage to the main stage.
They have featured a plethora of amazing artists form the rock and soul world – all to do with the godfather’s love for rock’n’roll and in particular Joe Cocker’s ‘Mad Dogs and English Men’.
Featured artists of the STAKS Band
Here a by no means complete list:
Sam Moore (Sam and Dave)
Gerry Beckley (America)
Steve Overland (FM)
Eli ‘Paperboy’ Reed
Louise Clare Marshall
In recent years they have recorded two album – the first ‘Hurricane’ and the latest one to drop later this year called ‘Journey Man’.
This album – produced by veteran producer Andy Wright (Simply Red, Simple Minds, Eurythmics) – marks a departure from all previous recordings as it features mostly original material written by key band members.
The complete STAKS Band line up is:
David Fitzsimons (piano), Malcolm Fitzsimons (rhythm guitar), Kevin Robinson & Noel Langley (trumpets), Andrew Ross (tenor saxophone, flute), Lottie B (bari sax), Lucy Morris (alto sax), Sonia Jones, Susanna Parry Michaelis, Katie Brewer & Sarah Mason (backing vocals), Steve Overland (lead vocals) and the musicians from the collective.
More about the band HERE from legendary rock’n’roll photographer Danny Clifford.