Robert Walter (musician)

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Robert Walter
Robert Walter 2012.jpg
Walter performing The Greyboy Allstars at the Hangout Music Festival in 2012
Background information
Birth name Robert Walters
Origin New Orleans, San Diego
Genres Jazz, Funk, Soul Jazz
Instruments Hammond B3 organ, piano, keyboards
Years active 1990s–present
Labels Fog City Records
Associated acts Robert Walter's 20th Congress, The Greyboy Allstars, VW Duo, Creedle, Stanton Moore Trio
Website Fog City Records presents: Robert Walter

Robert Walter (born 1969) is a keyboard player specializing in instrumental soul jazz on the Hammond B3 organ. He is a founding member of The Greyboy Allstars, and has since led his own band Robert Walter's 20th Congress.

Biography[edit]

Robert Walter has built a reputation as one of America's heaviest jazz-funk keyboardists.[citation needed] As a founding member of The Greyboy Allstars, he toured throughout North America and Europe with the group for five years.[1] and has performed and recorded with such jazz and funk heavyweights as Fred Wesley, Gary Bartz, Skerik, Melvin Sparks, Andy Bey, Reuben Wilson, Harvey Mason, Red Holloway, Chuck Rainey, Phil Upchurch, Mike Clark, Johnny Vidacovich and Steve Kimock.

At the age of 30, Robert left the Greyboy Allstars and formed a new band, Robert Walter's 20th Congress. The group featured Robert on electric piano and Hammond B3 organ, Cochemea "Cheme" Gastelum on alto sax, electric sax and flute, Chris Stillwell on bass and Stanton Moore on drums. The 20th Congress released their debut full-length recording Money Shot on San Francisco's Fog City Records in 2000.[2]

He has also recorded a semi-tongue-in-cheek Christmas record, In A Holiday Groove for Fog City Records.

Walter moved from his native San Diego to New Orleans in 2003, and subsequently reunited with producer Dan Prothero to record Super Heavy Organ with local legends Johnny Vidacovich, James Singleton, Tim Green, and Stanton Moore.

In Spring of 2013, the Greyboy Allstars return to the road with Inland Emperor, their first album since 2007’s What Happened to Television?, but a recent move from New Orleans to Los Angeles has also jump-started Robert Walter’s 20th Congress, an outlet for the keyboardist’s funkiest material since its inception in 1999. Get Thy Bearings pushes Walter’s organ, piano, Rhodes and synthesizer to the front of a group rounded out by guitarist/bassist Elgin Park, drummer Aaron Redfield, sax players Karl Denson and Cochemea Gastelum, and percussionist Chuck Prada—an all-star lineup in its own right. Recorded in just a few takes at Elgonix Labs—the same studio where Walter has lent his skills to Get Thy Bearings producer Michael Andrews' film scores and productions—the album is full of raw boogaloo energy and cinematic color.

Since returning to LA, Walter has been on a creative hot streak. “I’ll have dry spells for a few months then go on a binge of writing, working every day,” he says. "Some looser ideas ended up on the Greyboy Allstars album because I expected collaboration from the other members of the band. The material that was more developed from the start went on mine." Playing on film scores has widened the conceptual palate of Walters work. “They’re templates to improvise on, but they also tell a story,” Walter says of the nine tracks, ranging from the Sly Stone-style soul vamp of “Little Business” to the heavy gospel of “Crux.” “Dog Party” might as well be the theme song to a cartoon of the same name, while “Don’t Chin the Dog” shifts from delicate shuffle to horn-drenched boogaloo. Things get eerie on “Up From the Skies,” a Jimi Hendrix cover rendered nearly unrecognizable in washes of electric Miles. Similarly, the album’s title track is a shrewd reworking of the 1968 Donovan tune Walter first discovered on compilation of sample-friendly breakbeats, full of fuzz guitar and a mercurial organ solo.

“All these things just crept into the record,” he says. “It’s my own voice, not so imitative anymore.” This same type of immediacy carried over into the way the band tracked the record, all at once in the same room. “A lot of modern music is over-considered, but if you fix every little edge there’s no mystery. We didn’t monkey around too much, just indulged in our musicalness.” It’s the same commitment that has made Walter such a live force. Between the 20th Congress and the Greyboy Allstars, there will be no shortage of opportunities to catch Walter onstage this spring.

Discography (as leader)[edit]

Discography (as a sideman)[edit]

Discography (with the GreyBoy Allstars)[edit]

Discography (with Creedle)[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wickstrom, Ann. "Robert Walter: Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 7 April 2011. 
  2. ^ liner notes

External links[edit]