Get Thy Bearings

Robert Walter’s 20th Congress

Robert Walter has reconvened the 20th Congress, with Cochemea Gastelum and Karl Denson on saxes, Elgin Park on guitar, and others. The title track is Donovan’s jazzy piece, a showstopper in early King Crimson concerts, with the band splitting the difference in the two versions. The only other cover is “Up from the Skies,” with RW20C re-imagining Jimi Hendrix’s spacey swing tune as spacey funk. The other songs are originals, mining soul and gospel influences, starting with “Hunk,” followed by the New Orleans R&B of “Little Business,” reflecting Walter’s years in the Crescent City. “Dog Party” conjures up Leon Russell’s early sanctified sound, and “Crux” lacks only a vocal amen corner. “Don’t Chin the Dog” features Denson’s lilting flute. The nine songs in 39 minutes feel like sketches waiting to be filled out with live jamming, a mainstay of the early RW20C.