Robert Walter (musician)
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Walter performing The Greyboy Allstars at the Hangout Music Festival in 2012
|Birth name||Robert Walter|
|Origin||New Orleans, San Diego, US|
|Genres||Jazz, funk, soul jazz|
|Instruments||Hammond B3 organ, piano, keyboards|
|Labels||Fog City Records|
|Associated acts||Robert Walter's 20th Congress, The Greyboy Allstars, VW Duo, Creedle, Stanton Moore Trio, Mike Gordon|
Robert Walter (born May 3, 1970) is a keyboard player specializing in instrumental soul jazz on the Hammond B3 organ. He is best known as a founding (and current) member of The Greyboy Allstars, Creedle, (an American post-hardcore and alternative rock band from San Diego), and his own band, Robert Walter's 20th Congress.
A founding member of The Greyboy Allstars  he 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, Mike Gordon and Steve Kimock.
In 1999, after six years with The Greyboy Allstars, Walter formed his own 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.
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 released Inland Emperor, their first album since 2007's What Happened to Television?. A move from New Orleans to Los Angeles jump-started Robert Walter's 20th Congress. 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. In April 2015, it was announced that Robert would be joining Phish's Mike Gordon as his keyboard/organ player.
- Spirit Of '70 - Greyboy Records, 1996 [with Gary Bartz]
- Health And Fitness [EP] - Fog City Records, 1999 [with The 20th Congress]
- Money Shot - Fog City Records, 2000 [with The 20th Congress]
- There Goes The Neighborhood - Premonition Records/EMI, 2001 [solo album]
- Giving Up The Ghost - Magna Carta Records, 2003 [with The 20th Congress]
- Super Heavy Organ - Magna Carta Records, 2005 [solo album]
- Cure All - Palmetto Records, 2008 [solo album]
- Get Thy Bearings - Royal Potato Family Records, 2013 [with The 20th Congress]
- The Clinton Administration - Magna Carta Records, 2004 (with The Clinton Administration)
- III - Stanton Moore - Telarc Records, 2006 (with Will Bernard)
- Emphasis! (On Parenthesis) - Stanton Moore - Telarc, 2008 (with Will Bernard)
- Back to the River - Susan Tedeschi - Verve Forecast Records/UMe 2008
- Mo Beauty - Alec Ounsworth - ANTI/Epitaph Records, 2009
- American Patchwork - Anders Osborne - Alligator Records, 2010
- Groove Alchemy - Stanton Moore - Telarc, 2010 (with Will Bernard)
- Overstep - Mike Gordon - ATO Records, 2014
With The Greyboy Allstars
- West Coast Boogaloo - Greyboy Records, 1995 (with Fred Wesley)
- A Town Called Earth - Greyboy Records, 1997
- GBA Live - Relaxed Records/ADA, 1999
- What Happened to Television? - SCI Fidelity Records, 2007
- Inland Emperor - Knowledge Room Recordings, 2013
- Half Man Half Pie - Cargo Music/Headhunter Records, 1992
- Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars - Cargo Music/Headhunter Records, 1994
- When the Wind Blows - Cargo Music/Headhunter Records, 1996
- Wickstrom, Ann. "Robert Walter: Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 7 April 2011.
- liner notes