257

Stanton Moore: All Kooked Out!

Douglas Payne By

Sign in to view read count
It takes a special kind of drummer to be a leader. Maybe a nervy one. There's the temptation to grandstand with showy over-domination or remain buried in a rhythm section and let someone else take the honors. The most successful drummer-leaders are either innovative melodists like Art Blakey, Shelly Manne and Tony Williams. Or they're artful percussionists like Louis Bellson, Chico Hamilton or Leon Parker.

Then there's Stanton Moore. As a New Orleans native, he's grown up on the Mardi Gras gumbo of the Meters and Professor Longhair. But as a drummer, he digs deep into the boogaloo bayou of James Brown and Lou Donaldson. He clearly does not believe drumming merely keeps time. When Moore motivates, you'll start moving. Actually, he makes it seem inhuman to sit still.

In other interesting spheres, Moore ignites the New Orleans Klezmer All Stars and scales the charts as a founding member of the popular funk band, Galactic. With All Kooked Out, the young drummer steps out on his own. This excellent debut offers Moore entrance to the funk pantheon (your hosts, Melvin Parker, Bernard Purdie, Idris Muhammad and Harvey Mason) and places him firmly in the same contemporary league of royalty heretofore occupied only by MMW's highly esteemed Billy Martin.

Unlike Galactic's keyboard-driven groove and occasional vocals, Moore opts for an all-instrumental guitar-sax groove on All Kooked Out. As he does elsewhere, he keeps it pretty simple- riding the snare, bass and occasional cymbal - but always with engaging funk at the source. Drum solos are kept to a minimum. But, thankfully, they're always in the context rather at the expense of the music.

Moore's real coup is recruiting guitarist Charlie Hunter for this party. Hunter adds the rhythmic kick and the melodic groove that gives Moore's beat real substance. Somehow, Hunter manages an eight-string guitar, giving him the ability to play bass and guitar parts at the same time. With a special attachment, he can even make his guitar sound like a Hammond B-3 organ. Hunter, who's paired less interestingly with Leon Parker on his latest Blue Note release, Duo, proffers a formidable partnership with Moore. The two like-minded hipsters display much interchange, well worth hearing: at least for those who think funk offers something of value.

A basic trio (supplemented at times by a small cast of New Orleans all stars including Galactic Matt Pierce on tuba and former Sun Ra trumpeter Michael Ray) is rounded out by the wacky, yet appealing John Zorn saxophonics of Skerik (doin' the Harold Alexander thing).

It's an exceedingly winning combination too. Plenty of shining is heard throughout, notably on the brass band boogie of "Blues for Ben" (a great millennial party tune and a choice slice of Hunter in Wes-meets-Grant mode), John Patton's "Boogaloo Boogie" (an ideal showcase for Hunter's amazing, tuneful facility), the date's lone ballad , the beautiful "Honey Island," and the nice surprise of Dudu Pakwana's "Angel Nemali" (Skerik's best moment).

All the while, the drummer puts out, completely in charge. No need to worry about giving this drummer some, he's earning every bit. Name check his influences as you grind through the Lou Donaldson rock of "Common Ground," Monk's clunky and chunky "Green Chimneys," and the James Brown jambalaya of "Nalgas," one of several memorable group originals/jams. Throughout, Moore keeps it funky. And since he keeps the environment limited to mostly just guitar-sax-drums - allowing truly excellent musicanship throughout - he winds up with something that ranks among the year's finer jazz releases.

So does funk make for good jazz? Hard to say. Some people just don't want to have fun. They're the ones who think something catchy has nothing to say. Stanton Moore knows better. Those who hear him will surely agree. And those who groove to All Kooked Out will be all the richer for it.

Songs:Tchfunkta, Common Ground, Green Chimneys (by Thelonious Monk), Nalgas, Kooks on Parade, Blues For Ben, Witch Doctor, Boogaloo Boogie, Stanton Hits The Bottle, Nobodys Blues, Farmstead Antiques, Angel Nemali, Honey Island.

Players:Stanton Moore: drums & percussion; Charlie Hunter: eight-string guitar; Skerik: tenor and baritone saxophones: Matt Perrine: tuba: Brent Rose: tenor sax, soprano sax; Brian Seeger: guitar; Ben Ellman: tenor sax; Michael Ray: trumpet; Craig Klein: trombone.

| Record Label: Fog City Records | Style: Funk/Groove


Shop

More Articles

Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read The Invariant CD/LP/Track Review The Invariant
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "Black Ice" CD/LP/Track Review Black Ice
by Mark Sullivan
Published: July 6, 2016
Read "Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground" CD/LP/Track Review Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 1, 2016
Read "Welcome Back" CD/LP/Track Review Welcome Back
by John Sharpe
Published: March 28, 2016
Read "Imagine That" CD/LP/Track Review Imagine That
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 30, 2016
Read "Tangle" CD/LP/Track Review Tangle
by John Eyles
Published: December 3, 2016
Read "Nuit Blanche" CD/LP/Track Review Nuit Blanche
by John Kelman
Published: February 14, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!