Robert Walter — Super Heavy Organ
(Magnatude MT-2309-2, 2005, CD)
by Mike Grimes, Published 2006-05-01With the title Super Heavy Organ, my initial expectation was that this album from Hammond organ player Robert Walter was going to be filled with hella-distorted, seriously overdriven, tube saturated organ crunch tones... which would’ve been cool, of course. While the organ tones themselves aren’t as heavy as the title initially led me to believe, they are indeed beefy and sound great. The title more likely refers to the arrangements, which are certainly super heavy on the organ side. New Orleans transplant Walter is accompanied by drums and upright bass throughout and shares the melodies and soloing duties with Tim Green on tenor sax. Three tracks feature vocals, but the remainder of the album is instrumental. All the songs are Walter-penned except for an instrumental cover of the Led Zeppelin tune “Poor Tom.” Walter’s style contains elements of soul, jazz, blues, and funk in roughly equal parts. “El Cuervo” starts off with a jazz riff in 7/4 time and contains a nice drum solo. Some of the tunes like “Criminals Have a Name for It” showcase Walter’s piano and clav abilities. “34 Small” is rooted in old-school jazz while “(Smells Like) Dad’s Drunk Again” and “Cabrillo” are more experimental in their arrangements and harmonic content. “Big Dummy” shows off the group’s funk side. His backing band of New Orleans musicians it solid and Walter’s playing is tasteful throughout. He can definitely chop it up when needed, but the songs contain a nice blend of power and finesse.
Related artist(s): Robert Walter
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more