CD Review: Stanton Moore

Groove Alchemy (Telarc)

In the old Dick Tracy comic strip, Diet Smith postulated, "He who controls magnetism controls the universe." A case could be made that he who controls rhythm is a major-league big cheese. I nominate drummer Stanton Moore of New Orleans jam-funksters Galactic as a likely candidate for Boss of Boss Rhythms. Accompanied by guitarist Will Bernard and keyboardist Robert Walker, Moore whips up a snazzy survey of and tribute to funk. Yet this record isn't a dry, academic project — it's a sizzling, slam-bang fusion of classic soul-jazz grooves, and rock- and R&B-rooted dynamics. The hulking Houses of the Holy-like opener "Squash Blossom" finds Moore pounding the tubs with all the delicacy of John Bonham, while the organ seethes and the guitar burns with blue intensity. "Pot Licker" is a tip of the collective hat to the wiry, churning 1960s funk of Soul Brother No. 1 James Brown. "Keep on Gwine" has dandy, rolling, Saturday-night piano a la Dr. John and Allen Toussaint, and a searing slide-guitar solo, while Moore's drums crack like a firecracker in a metal garbage can. All three chefs cook with their burners on high, and there's no fat — every tune is no longer than it needs to be. — Mark Keresman