Walter_span3
June 2008

Robert Walter
Cure All
Palmetto Records

Hammond-organ maven and jam-band icon Robert Walter joins the longstanding New Orleans rhythm tandem of upright bassist Jim Singleton and drummer Johnny Vidacovich—charter members of Astral Project and members of Walter’s 20th Congress—for a slamming, groove-heavy throwdown that pays tribute to the influences of the Meters, Professor Longhair, Thelonious Monk and Jimmy Smith as it celebrates the spirit of dance. From the opening funk vamp on “Snakes and Spiders,” with Walter doubling on B3 and clavinet, to the quirky “Money Changes,” which changes rapidly from shuffle to mambo to bop, to the traditional New Orleans parade beat number “Parts and Holes,” these three kindred spirits show uncanny flexibility and an ability to groove with hand-in-glove tightness.

On the title track, a funky B3 showcase for Walter that sounds reminiscent of an irreverent Medeski, Martin & Wood jam, Singleton stomps on a distortion pedal to make his upright bass growl with nasty intentions. And on the catchy “Coupe,” Vidacovich provides the second-line flavoring beneath Walter’s jaunty ’Fess-style piano tinkling. “Scores of Spores” is another revved up jam-band number with Walter doubling on B3 and distortion-laced clavinet to affect a raw garage-band appeal, while “Rivers of Babylon” is a buoyant, hip Fender Rhodes vehicle reminiscent of mid-’70s Herbie Hancock (think Thrust) that hangs on the driving momentum of Singleton’s “Footprints”-like bassline and Vidacovich’s swinging, slyly interactive drumming.

The N’awlins-flavored “Box of Glass” is a tour-de-force of lazy, loose-limbed, funky streetbeats by Vidacovich, a Crescent City drumming icon who is also highlighted in all-swing mode on the uptempo burner “Maple Plank.” This infectious collection closes on a poignant note with the introspective, “Naima”-style ballad “T.”

Originally published in June 2008
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