School’s In – Maceo Parker Super Heavy Organ – Robert Walter
BHM Productions 1007-2
Magnatude Records 0514
Funk has many faces. Some old, some Robert Walter. Here’s what two of the funkiest dudes ever have been up to.
The Elder Statesman
In funk country, alto saxophonist Maceo Parker is it. Parker started out with James Brown, and later wound up in George Clinton’s camp. He released a string of solid albums as a leader in the early ’90s (including the now-classic Life On Planet Groove) and toured with Prince in 2004.
But can he still cut a record? You bet. School’s In!, out on BHM Productions, is full of the bright, funk-filled adventures that have come to define Parker’s solo career. Standout tracks include Sam Cooke’s “What A Wonderful World,” with guest Candy Dulfer on alto sax and vocals, and “Advanced Funk,” a showcase for Ron Tooley’s virtuosic trumpet playing.
The Young Gun
Pianist Robert Walter is all over the place. The former Greyboy Allstar has lead a number of his own bands, including the well-traveled 20th Congress, since the Allstars broke up in 1998; more recently, he toured with the original Head Hunters (taking over Herbie’s spot!) and Leo Nocentelli, of The Meters.
But how’s his new record? In a word: nasty. Super Heavy Organ, his first new project since moving to New Orleans, kicked things off right by featuring hometown heavyweights Stanton Moore (of Galactic) and Johnny Vidacovich (of Astral Project) on drums (they split the album), James Singleton (also of Astral Project) on bass and Tim Green on tenor saxophone. The result: a hard-hitting, organ-focused album of Walter originals (and “Poor Tom,” a Led Zep tune). Standout tracks include the new school boogaloo of “Kickin’ Up Dust,” the James Brown-derived “Don’t Hate, Congratulate,” and the vaguely Middle Eastern “(Smells Like) Dad’s Drunk Again.”
“I Want Some Funk. Whose Record Should I Buy?”
Go with Super Heavy Organ. Parker’s new record is great, but you’ve heard it before. It sounds like all his other stuff. Plus, Walter’s disc is pretty down and dirty. You’ll dig it.