Get thy Bearings

I don’t know who first put the “fun” in “funk,” but for the last 20 years that Robert Walter has been seated at his Hammond B3 organ, he hasn’t let any grass grow under his B3’s pedals. A founding member of The Greyboy Allstars, Walter has released a handful of albums during the past decade that feature him in various settings, as well as with the 20th Congress, and he employs his full keyboard arsenal here—B3, piano, electric piano and synthesizer—on what’s described as his “funkiest material since [the group’s inception] in 1999.” The disc gets off to a great and greasy funky start with “Hunk,” a sassy strutting tune that features a smooth tenor sax solo by Karl Denson, a co-founder of The Greyboy Allstars. Denson also shows his impressive flute chops on the sensual “Don’t Chin the Dog,” a tricky number with Elgin Park’s hypnotically repetitious bass line nicely fueled by Aaron Redfield’s drums and Chuck Prada’s percussion. The rhythm section get full marks for its tasty work on every one of the CD’s nine tunes—especially Redfield! Although the accent is on the funk, their ghostly version of Hendrix’s “Up from the Skies” (which also includes tenorman Cochemea Gastelum) shows another side of the group.