Chris Walters' release “Yay! Everybody Yay!” has Musitude. What? Yes, Music with Attitude! Musitude oozes confidence and cares not so much of the response. Musitude is happy in its “AS IS” state. Outside comments are nice, but never the reason for existence.
Of course Musitide appreciates kind commentary but does not require it. It is also elusive to categorization. Influences are present but Musitude never loses originality. Musitude seems excited to escape today’s pre-processed sonic production, but does not expect for kudos for doing so. Respectful thank you if it appeals and a sustaining confidence if it does not. Musitude comes from the deepest part of the artist’s heart and soul. All said… all done.
Mr. Walters writes storytelling lyrics which challenge ordinary thinking. Instrumentation and arrangements beg a “what was that?” inquiry. Ensemble playing shares the common “got your back” loyalty of a band of brothers and sisters.
Who should like “Yay Everybody Yay!”? The active listener who seeks creativity in the music. Anyone with a willingness to let the music capture the attention and garner the concentrated, eyes-closed listen should shout a “DAMN this dude is deep!” “Yay Everybody Yay” is refreshing and inspiring.
How about some specifics? Each track with or absent of vocals tells a story believable based on the passion of delivery. Whimsical, skeptical, introspective or dramatic, the picture painted presents something to be dealt with. Six originals and arrangements of three classics vary from straight ahead swing to interactive chanting to an old Victrola type mix.
Right out of the blocks Mr. Walters offers the original composition “He Ain’t Got You”. What a story! One of pride served with a healthy topping of sass. This composition clearly shows the accomplished swing-ability of Mr. Waters and his musical mates and Walter's ability to paint a musical picture.
Quickly things move on to Paris where the “La Chanteuse Josephine” is introduced. Here the words paint Josephine as a dangerous seductress. No emphatic advice to stay away is given indicating an encounter might be worth the risk. But wait, the message quickly changes in the later versus. Full string and woodwind orchestration weaves the web skillfully. Proceed at one’s own risk.
Get alone little doggies as the next composition “Bootsoles” tells a story open to many interpretations. Keeping the mystery of meaning intact, listen for oneself and happy trails. Where does the creativity come from?
"Yay Everybody Yay” a Vaudevillian interlude with a twist of improvisation by Denis Solee’s Baritone Sax, Rod McGaha’s Trumpet and Mr. Walter’s Piano. Notice Tuba on the bottom and kazoos (that’s right kazoos) on as part of the horn arrangements.
Moving on, we enter a Gypsy campsite (likely during the evening) complete with Mandolin, Mandola and Bayo Sexto. Walter's introduces a fortune teller here. Does this guy really know folks like this? The question asked “Do You Really Want To Know?” challenges the listener to deal with life's story revealed or not. Hmm!
Changing gears, Walters’ piano along with Jim Ferguson’s bass and R. Scott Bryan’s percussion and “machine” yields a light jazzy rendition of Latin America’s Classical composer Alberto Ginastera’s Malambo (1940) composition. The contrast in compositional and arranging style is brilliant and seductively dives more deeply into the storyline.
Up next is a very simple asnwer to the age old question: What is “Woman’s Greatest Weapon”? Answer: Man’s Imagination. Okay, now that this information has been shared, how easily does it explain so many heretofore unexplainable situations?
William Tyres published his composition “Panama” in 1911. Mr. Walters selects the duo of Jim Ferguson (bass) and Jim White (drums) to swing this 100 year old tune to the extreme. Mr. Ferguson and Mr. White are longtime musical collaborators. They know each other’s playing and it shows. Enough said, except give a special listen to Mr. White’s brush work on the drums.
Cole Porters “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye” is performed as if coming from a Victrola phonograph from an earlier era, complete with slight crackling common to the old 78rpm records. Accompanied by string quartet, the arrangement and unique audio mixing freshens the listening palate.
One look at the CD packaging along with Mr. Walters’ wardrobe and the cover design, “Yay Everybody Yay” is more than music. It is clearly a work of art which captures the listener’s imagination through the eye and ear. At the hit of the first note, the curiosity is maintained by music, lyrics, and arrangements with a totality of attitude. While it is not revealed from where such creativity emerges, it is inspiring to know that it exists in boundless quantity within Chris Walters.
Ah Music with Attitude – Musitude!
Tracks: He Ain’t Got You, La Chanteuse Josephine, Bootsoles, Yay Everybody Yay, Do You Really Want To Know, Malambo, Woman’s Greatest Weapon, Panama, Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye.
Musicians: Chris Walters, Piano, Celeste, Vocals, Kazoo, Jim Ferguson, Double Bass, Marc Torlina, Double Bass, Dennis Crouch, Double Bass, Bobby Durham, Tuba, Jim White, Drums, Chris Brown, Drums, Rod McGaha, Trumpet, Denis Solee, Baritone Saxophone, Pat Bergeson, Guitar/Bass Harmonica, R. Scott Bryan, Background Vocals, Kazoo, Percussion, Dave Aholt Background Vocals, Harrison Byran, Background Vocals, Natalia Paruz, Musical Saw, Jeff Taylor, Accordion David Davidson, Violin, Morissa Angel, Viola, Anthony La Marchina, Cello, Roger Martin, Flute, Ann Thurmond, Clarinet, Jim Lotz, Bassoon, Robbie Shankle, French Horn, Bill Woodworth – Oboe, Peter Mayer, Mandolin, Mandola, Bayo Sexto.
More Articles in Community Articles
Roy DeCarava-A Visual Artist Who Documented Images of Everyday People and Jazz Musicans is Celebrated at The Schomburg Center.
New England Conservatory Faculty and Grads Win 2015 JJA Jazz Awards for Musical Achievement
Pharoah Sanders: Reaching Himself
"Lost In Paradise"
Thomas W Moore
"Lost In Paradise"...
Thomas W Moore
Tim Hagans Quartet Performs at Jazz at Kitano