Chris Walker

Chris’s Contributions

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May 2003    Features

The Jazz Crusaders & Joe Sample: The Next Crusade

We're in the midst of winter, but it's another breathtaking San Fernando Valley day, the temperature nestling in the mid-'70s. From the large conference room in the Verve Music Group's West Coast offices there is a gorgeous view of Burbank through the near...

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April 2003    Albums

Rural Renewal
Crusaders

Rural Renewal marks the return of the Crusaders, with keyboardist Joe Sample back in the fold after a successful 20-year solo career. Equally noteworthy, cofounder and trombonist Wayne Henderson declined to continue with the revamped Crusaders, which now...

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April 2003    Albums

Original Cinema
Spyro Gyra

After being 25 years, Spyro Gyra is having an identity crisis. The quintet views itself as being jazz innovators, but Spyro has long been strongly associated with smooth jazz, and many people view them as just another radio-friendly group. Putting out CDs...

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April 2003    Albums

Moon at the Window
Rachel Z

Rachel Z is known as a fusion keyboardist through associations with Al Di Meola, Wayne Shorter and Larry Coryell. Yet for Moon at the Window, which features renditions of Joni Mitchell folk-pop classics, she's chosen to work in an acoustic-trio setting...

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January/February 2003    Albums

Pump It Up
Les McCann

"Pump It Up" is title track of veteran keyboardist/vocalist/raconteur Les McCann's latest release, but the song "Tryin' to Make It Real" seems more appropriate. Through funk tunes "I Can't Stand it," "So What" (no similarity to Miles Davis' classic) and...

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December 2002    Albums

In Deep
Marion Meadows

Former New York City saxophonist Marion Meadows enjoys a more relaxed lifestyle now that he lives in Phoenix. Without question, that laid-back attitude permeates his latest CD, In Deep, because outside of the title track that brims with resounding tenor...

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December 2002    Albums

Someone To Love You
Kim Waters

Saxophonist Kim Waters' knack for conjuring up radio-friendly tunes has garnered him much success and made him a smooth-jazz staple. His latest release includes solid contributions from guitarist-producer Chuck Loeb, guitarist Wayne Bruce, vocalist Eric...

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10/26/02    Concerts

Stanley Clarke Scholarship Concert

How much bottom can you handle? Anyone starved for low-end dynamics would have felt like they had made it to heaven at Stanley Clarke's Scholarship Fund benefit concert. The benefit was for the students at the Musicians Institute in Hollywood, where the...

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October 2002    Albums

Outta Here
Lettuce

Like Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, Lettuce presents nonstop boogaloo funk/jazz. The hard-jamming band is an outgrowth of friendships dating back to high school and Berklee's summer program 10 years ago. During that era Lettuce jammed incessantly and, according...

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October 2002    Albums

Groove Suite
Sunnie Paxson

Session keyboardist and composer Sunnie Paxson has ardently backed artists such as Harvey Mason, John Patitucci, Larry Carlton, Stanley Clarke and many others for years. Now, after a near-lifetime of living in the shadows of other players, it's Paxson's...

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October 2002    Albums

Groovology
Gerald Albright

Saxophonist Gerald Albright has been around way too long and covered too many styles to be lumped in with your average contemporary-jazz players. Soul-jazz innovators Eddie Harris, Cannonball Adderley, Maceo Parker, Stanley Turrentine and Grover Washington...

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October 2002    Albums

The American Spirit: A Smooth Jazz Celebration
Bob Baldwin

There's been an overload of 9-11 homages in just about every musical format imaginable. Contemporary pianist, arranger and producer Bob Baldwin conceived a record that's a tribute to the American spirit, too, one that he hopes will help promote healing and...

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October 2002    Albums

Just Chillin'
Norman Brown

When guitarist Norman Brown says, "Just chillin'," he's not kidding around. His second Warner Brothers release is truly a laid-back affair-almost too relaxed. Just Chillin' often lacks the trademark zestfulness that the guitarist, who's considered a culmination...

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July/August 2002    Albums

The Pecan Tree
Joe Sample

The Pecan Tree, veteran keyboardist Joe Sample's first Verve release, honors and celebrates the indigenous music of his East Texas homeland. Naturally, then, expectations are of a recording dripping of bodacious BBQ sauce, tantalizing salsa and killer gumbo...

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July/August 2002    Albums

Gentle Force
3rd Force

Smooth-jazz collective 3rd Force, consisting of producers William Aura, Craig Dobbin and Alain Eskinasi, enlist some friends for its sixth CD, Gentle Force. Higher Octave guitarists Craig Chaquico, Grant Geissman and Brian Hughes, along with nonlabel pals...

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December 1998    Features

Rick Braun: Brass Action

Trumpeter/flugelhornist, session player, producer, occasional vocalist, Rick Braun wears a lot of hats. He even sports a pork pie chapeau on the cover of his latest CD, Full Stride. His youthful energy and appearance, however, belie the many musical paths...

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About Chris Walker

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