Secret Place: The Story of Walter Finch
Surely one of the challenges that an instrumental artist faces in assembling an album is to clearly express the heart and the convictions.Producer: Walter Finch
album release date: late 2001
Veteran West coast master Walter Finch does exactly that on this project, marvellously titled Secret Place: The Story of Walter Finch.
His voice is his guitar (for the most part), and by the time the disk stops spinning, you know it, and his heart, very well.
Using the concept of stage play to testify his tale, Finch sets out 12 scenes (tracks), a combo of originals and remakes of Gospel standbys. In doing so, he moves from traditional jazz to hip hop influenced grooves and finds resting spots everywhere in between.
Compositions such as “Gospelbottomus”, “Get It Right” and “For A Lifetime” each written by the guitar specialist himself showcase his gift for composition and melody. Hook-laden and innovatively arranged, they span the range from quiet storm to more intense types of guitar weather, with tokens of hip hop rhythms and jazz factored in.
Finch’s version of “Wade In the Water” hones in on his electrified riffs to portray the well-known tune. Daren Motamade’s saxophone splashes in for support. “Say Amen” is a daring contemporary interpretation, with some nice layered guitar tracks to emphasis the groove. Finch also adds a dash of his own talkbox vocals to the mix.
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“Jesus Is On the Mainline” relies on more traditional vocals from Finch, packaged in stylized jazz format and propped up by busy organ and guitar.
Fellow Seattle artists drop into Finch’s story, with Gary Wyatt dropping guest vocals on the softly jazzed “That’s Why” and Sis. Alma vocalizing and Kev da Rappin’ Rev lending several rap lines on “Elohim”.
Finch is a master of all the styles offered on this disc. Here’s hoping this Secret Story gets very well known.
reviewed by Stan North —
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