Robert Walter / Robert Walter's 20th Congress

Giving Up the Ghost

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Robert Walter continues to balance on twin peaks of dance and jazz cultures with Giving Up the Ghost, whose breezy grooves cool sizzling keyboard and sax lines down to a simmer. The band includes alumni from Black Eyed Peas, T.J. Kirk, and Walter's own Greyboy Allstars, which means that the playing is consistently top-notch. There's enough angularity in the arrangements to bear occasional comparison to Medeski, Martin & Wood. And there's a cinematic aspect to some of the track sequences, as in the movement from an Eno echo in the filmy shimmer of "Underbrush," to the holy-rolling handclaps that follow on "Sacred Secret"; listeners with long memories might discern a whiff of Beaver & Krause in this formula. But these elements serve mainly to paint Giving Up the Ghost as an audio adornment, whose varied colors seem fashioned more to enhance the ambience than to draw any particular attention to themselves.

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