ROBERT WALTER : SUPER HEAVY ORGAN (MAGNA CARTA '05)

"Adelita," the first track of this new studio release, chugs right out of the gate with Robert Walter trademark organ groove and builds into the funk experience you've come to expect. Listen on and you'll discover varied compositions that truly distinguish this recording from Walter's previous releases with other ensembles. Super Heavy Organ is a new side project for this keyboard king, and it reflects his commitment to seeking out new musical partners and stretching boundaries. Walter set down roots in New Orleans last year to be closer to many of the musicians with whom he most wanted to play. His new neighbors - Stanton Moore (who shares drum duties with Johnny Vidacovich), James Singleton (bass), and Tim Green (tenor sax) imbue subtle but distinct bayou influences to Walter's keys, and the result is wicked jazz.

I've been eager to hear Walter outside his 20th Congress. The Greyboy Allstars reunion shows were fun, but as someone said, "If you ain't growin', you're dyin'." With Super Heavy Organ, which is currently on tour across the country, Walter has crafted some excellent jazz compositions. Tim Green is a more than capable melody partner for Walter's organ as exhibited on "El Cuervo," which features some nasty solo interplay between the two. "Criminals Have A Name For It" throws numerous unique time signature rhythms into a winding groove. "34 Small" wanders through a loping bluesy refrain that just eases on by, and "Big Daddy" tips its hat to a more traditional N'awlins funky strut.

With such a rich mix of compositions, guest vocalist Anthony Farrell could have had a bigger role. Whether by design or not, his three vocal contributions come off like background ambiance, and these tracks are expansive enough to have allowed for Farrell to dig a little deeper.

"Hardware" showcases Walter bouncing his Hammond nastiness around a heavy bassline. The final track, "Cabrillo," is the longest and most improvisational jam of the bunch. Green's sax is given free reign across a minimal rhythm backbone, but his solo in "Big Dummy" is better. The cover of Zeppelin's "Poor Tom" is upbeat just like the original, with Walter playing clavinet as Page's guitar.

Super Heavy Organ is a rewarding step forward for Walter. With one part jazz, one part funk, and one part New Orleans, this outfit can tell a compelling and diverse musical story.

Click here to Stream Tracks and Pre-Order Super Heavy Organ, which will be released on Aug. 30th 2005.

Check out Robert Walter's Super Heavy Organ on tour this fall!

Haig Assadourian
JamBase | Colorado
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[Published on: 8/2/05]

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