JazzTimes - "The closing cover of George Jones' country hit 'He Stopped Loving Her Today' concludes a mix of funk and fun eccentricities that works well enough to make GROOVE ALCHEMY an early year end-poll contender."
Personnel: Stanton Moore (drums); Will Bernard (guitar); Robert Walter (piano, Hammond b-3 organ).
Audio Mixer: Mike Napolitano.
Photographers: Allison Murphy; Dino Perucci.
Those expecting anything revolutionary or particularly new from Stanton Moore's trio with guitarist Will Bernard and Robert Walter on B-3 on Groove Alchemy will either be wonderfully relieved or woefully disappointed -- there isn't. The CD is aural evidence of the trio doing what it does best: being funky and playing in a relaxed, open style that keeps the grooves tight and the musicianship at a maximum. And it's enough.Check out the guitar and organ solos in "Squash Bottom," the first of these dozen tracks. The popping vamps create the vibe and give way naturally -- thanks to Moore's deadly breaks -- to Bernard's multi-string chord solo and the percussive organ flow Walter is so famous for. Things get downright Meters-esque on "Pie-Eyed Manic," with stuttering breaks and two sets of riffs answering one another after four bars apiece. And on it goes, though "Pot Licker" is the funkiest Walter has ever sounded on the B-3. Bernard pushes his chords and leads right through the melody to let the left-hand organ bassline stick out front. Moore just rolls through and develops his grooves as he plays. There is a cover of James Booker's "Keep on Gwine" on which Walter plays piano. Though he does so beautifully, it's more about Moore's ability to let his Crescent City, second-line swing develop and carry the tune. There's a longish cover of "Neeps and Tatties" that becomes an outright rhythm brawl between Walter and Moore, as Bernard just eases into the flow and lets the knottier side of his guitar style get into the fray -- all without letting the groove lilt. The real curve ball on this set is in its final track, a cover of the George Jones' country vehicle "He Stopped Loving Her Today." Bernard leads the way with his guitar on the melody, and Moore plays doubles on the front side rather than the backbeat. It's still a ballad, but one that carries a distinctly New Orleans feel as it swells toward the end. Groove Alchemy is simply a good-time funky record, full of great beats, killer guitar, and nasty organ by a trio that knows how not to mess up a good thing. ~ Thom Jurek