Stanton Moore - III CD

Having seen The Stanton Moore Trio (including old friends Cranston Clements on guitar and organist/keyman David Tarkanowsky) this past May touring in promotion of this new release, it’s great to finally have III spinning in my CD player; this is Moore’s third solo recording. Don’t expect to hear exact replicas of Galactic or Garage A Trois (Skerik guests on Tenor Sax) material from this one, but you can anticipate the familiar invasion of fine bayou funk in every note. Robert Walter (Hammond B3 Organ) and Will Bernard (Guitar) are the other two lead musical personnel on Moore’s organ trio, and while it would have been great to have seen them along for the tour back in May, what’s more impressive is realizing the positions Clements and Tarkanowsky had to fill on stage without much practice time.
A completely home-style meal from Moore, III was recorded in New Orleans' Preservation Hall, which was temporarily out of operation after Hurricane Katrina. He grabbed the opportunity to make the best out of a bad situation and what a gift!

The most exciting thing about hearing III is taking in every studio-crisp pop from Moore, as well as his teammates, but Moore is the real draw throughout. In the live setting it was jaw dropping to watch his flurries, but here we get to revel in his ability to completely own a studio setup, even a temporary one thrown together in the midst of disaster. It'd be great to hear all of the golden takes that had to be omitted for the album's sake.

Ten songs made the cut, though, and it's a belly full. "Licorice" is a full on duel between Walter and Bernard, Skerik and trombonist Mark Mullins put a deep swing in the elephantine strut of "Chilcock" and "Weak Sauce" is nothing of the sort, just complete funk, with enough change ups to keep the music nut in us all cheering away. "Maple Plank" allows for a series of short, but choice, Moore solos that are a great finish to the original material on this album.

The final three songs act as a tribute to the ravaged town in which Moore and III were born. South African pianist/composer Abdullah Ibrahim's down tempo "Water From an Ancient Well" precedes a cloudy cover of Led Zeppelin's "When the Levee Breaks," layered in swirls of organ bass and the whine of a slide on Bernard's guitar, seeming to warn of an impending rush. The album closes with the traditional spiritual "I Shall not be Moved."

All in all, there's really nothing to moan about here. In the spirit of the album, I prefer to cheer for things accomplished where all seems to be lost. III just goes to show that even when things in the world seem so horribly wrong, all it takes is the right outlook and a little ingenuity to make the things whole again. Here we have an album inspired by loss and it's wonderful to hear the joy and hope behind it all.

- Jeremy Sanchez