By Andy J. Gordon
Los Angeles area drummers, students, and funk music fans had an extraordinary opportunity to get an up close view of one of the world’s most prolific musicians from New Orleans. Stanton Moore, the brilliant master of the skins, and founding member of Galactic, brought his Stanton Moore Trio to the Mint for a Wednesday nights residency in July 2011. To add a cherry to the proverbial sundae, Moore gave free drum clinics before each of the Mint gigs. Twenty to forty aspiring drummers, and those just interested in seeing Moore’s incredible technique up close, attended each of the free sessions. Robert Walter, a wizard on the Hammond B3 organ, was a member for all of the Mint gigs, while a different guest joined the trio for each of the four shows.
Moore is regarded as a world class drummer and adventurous bandleader. His main outlet, Galactic (www.galacticfunk.com/), tours extensively, but Moore finds time for other projects like Garage A Trois, session work, and his trio. Robert Walter (http://www.robertwalter.com/) is known for his brilliant keyboard work in the jazz/funk crossover arena. His 20th Congress has been successfully recording and performing for 15 years, and he is also a member of The Greyboy Allstars, the Robert Walter Trio, and Super Heavy Organ. For the second Trio gig at the Mint (www.themintla.com,) Karl Denson (www.karldenson.us/) added his stellar saxophone, flute and vocal talents to the mix. Since Denson is also a member of The Greyboy Allstars and has performed often with Moore, the trio worked like a well oiled machine. All three musicians played off each other and took turns laying down impressive solos.
Many of the songs performed were from Moore’s solo and Trio recordings. The show opened with “Pie Eyed Manc” from 2010s Groove Alchemy, and was followed by “Maple Plank” from SM III. Karl Denson, who recorded with Moore on 2002s Flyin’ the Koop, was outstanding when they played “Magnolia Triangle” from that album. The band really had fun with “Who Took the Happiness Out,” a song recorded at various times by Dirty Dozen, Rebirth, and Galactic. Two more songs from Groove Alchemy, “Squash Blossom” and “Pot Licker” kept the funky groove smoldering.
The band also played some of Robert Walter’s songs that were recorded with help from Moore in the studio. Walter’s magic fingers mesmerized the crowd on “Rivers of Babylon” from Cure All, “Aquafresh” from the Robert Walter’s 20th Congress album Giving Up the Ghost, “The Yodel” from The Money Shot, and “34 Small” from Robert Walter’s Super Heavy Organ. The show closed with two additional Moore compositions, “Keep on Gwine” from Groove Alchemy and “(Late Night At The) Maple Leaf” from 2008s Emphasis on Parenthesis.
Stanton Moore is a technically and aesthetically brilliant drummer who loves to play with a variety of musicians, works extremely hard, and is generous with his time. The Mint show was a highly satisfying funk, modern jazz, and improvisational rock exploration by three musicians who love what they do, and do it extremely well. The drum students in the audience received a valuable lesson from Moore. The fans that were there for some great music witnessed three brilliant artists at work, and got an education as well.
Photos courtesy of ©2011 Jim Brock Photography www.eyeonthemusic.com