Wali Ali



From the album To Be
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  • Wali Ali

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Wali Ali’s music reflects the rhythm of funk and the cool of jazz. His sound combines the music of Miles and Trane with that of Hendrix and Santana, inviting the listener to explore new interpretations of classic melodies. On his newly released CD, To Be, guitarist Wali plays standards from a memorable generation of creative jazz.

During his career, Wali Ali has performed with various musical artists including Taj Mahal, Norman Connors, Donny Hathaway, Bobbi Humphrey, Noel Pointer, Lonnie Liston Smith, Peter Tosh, and Stanley Turrentine.  He has scored for television and was bandleader for the Broadway musical “Mule Bone.” Wali is also a recipient of the ASCAP Songwriters Award. Wali studied music theory at New York University and at The New School.  He has also studied classical guitar.

Wali grew up with music always in the house. “My parents loved jazz and my brother was into R&B, folk, and rock. So I listened to all of that. When I think about it, my musical concept was formed right there.”  Under the influence of his brother who played guitar, Wali took his first formal guitar lessons from a violinist at the age of 10.  He started playing with local musicians in funk, fusion, and rock bands while in high school. He first went out on the road when he was only 17-years-old.  Since then, Wali has played with talented and inspirational musicians in the New York area and from all over the country.

“My goal in making this recording was to establish a platform that would enable me to perform and develop further as an improviser. It’s taken me a while to get to it, but sometimes it takes a long time to get where you need to go. I had to simplify things, get in touch with my creativity, develop further as an improviser, and get to a different level of expression.”