Stanton Moore Trio : Emphasis! (On Parenthesis)

stanton_moore_emphasis.jpgStanton Moore never sits still, even (especially) when he’s on his drum stool driving the funk machine of his primary band Galactic, or getting kooky with the all-star group Garage A Trois.  He’s involved in seemingly dozens of projects.

But for this, his fourth “solo” release, he seems to have found a comfort zone with his most recent group of cohorts. Credited to the Stanton Moore Trio, Emphasis! (On Parenthesis) finds Moore, keyboardist Robert Walter (20th Congress, Greyboy Allstars) and guitarist Will Bernard in an ongoing and exhilarating exchange of ideas.

In contrast to Moore’s previous record, III, which utilized the same lineup, the Stanton Moore Trio sounds more like a band here. That likely has to do with regular gigs around New Orleans. On III, songwriting credits were split up among members, with Walter penning the lion’s share. Here, almost every song here being credited to the three of them. And together, they tap of a broad variety of grooves. The summon Frank Zappa’s jazz leanings on “(Proper) Gander.” “Wissons (Of Vu)” would sound at home on a James Bond soundtrack.  Bernard’s fluid guitar lines and Walter’s propulsive Hammond belie the bands soul jazz tendencies. “(Late Night At The) Maple Leaf” is a funky number that was borne out of a jam session with George Porter, Jr. at the Maple Leaf club in New Orleans.

As you might have guessed by now, the album comes with a gimmick, as has become an almost annoying custom with Moore. The title of the album refers to Moore’s propensity to insert parenthetical musical phrases in his playing. So part of each song title is in parentheses, as is the album title. Get it? Ho-hum.

Regardless of such silliness, it’s the playing that matters, not the titles. And with this group as confidently cohesive as ever,  Moore has produced his best solo outing since All Kooked Out!

Emphasis! (On Parenthesis) is out now on Tel-Arc.