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Cure All

Robert Walter

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Album Review

Robert Walter has no problem getting into funky, down-home soul-jazz when he wants to, but the organist/keyboardist/pianist also has his intellectual side. He obviously appreciates the soul-jazz that B-3 icons like Jimmy Smith, Richard "Groove" Holmes, Johnny "Hammond" Smith, and Jack McDuff offered in the '60s, but he has also shown his appreciation of Medeski, Martin & Wood as well as the post-bop and fusion that Larry Young explored after he moved beyond soul-jazz. And both sides of Walter's artistry serve him well on Cure All. If Walter (who forms a trio with bassist James Singleton and drummer Johnny Vidacovich) set out to offer a healthy balance of intellect and funkiness, he achieves that goal on enjoyable tracks such as "Maple Plank," "Snakes and Spiders," "Measure Up," and "Coupe." Most of the material is more cerebral than a typical soul-jazz performance would be, but at the same time, Cure All is less cerebral than Medeski, Martin & Wood's albums. Whether he is on organ, acoustic piano, or electric keyboards, Walter usually avoids becoming either too simple or too abstract. Not that there is anything wrong with either simplicity or abstraction; the straightforward, groove-loving bluesiness of Big John Patton and Gene Harris is every bit as valid a part of jazz as the most challenging pieces that John Medeski has had to offer. But Walter obviously wanted to avoid going too far in either direction, and that outlook yields consistently worthwhile results on Cure All.

Biography

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Instrumental jazz-funk is the name of Robert Walter's game. The top-notch organ/piano player was a founding member of the Greyboy Allstars, with whom he played for five years and toured extensively throughout North America and Europe. He has also played and recorded with jazz and funk icons Fred Wesley, Melvin Sparks, Andy Bey, and Reuben Wilson, and he contributed to the soundtrack of the 1998 film Zero Effect. In 1996, Walter released a solo album featuring sax great Gary Bartz called Spirit of...
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Cure All, Robert Walter
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