Earnest Walker Jr. -
Variations On A Groove
Walker came in contact with music as a young kid meeting the Wooten
family, whose house was continuously filled with the sounds of live
music. It was not the bass player Victor Wooten but his brother Rudy
who inspired Earnest with his saxophone. Starting playing guitar he
decided soon that the saxophone is his principle instrument.
Smooth jazz and saxophone is a nearly a synonym.
It's a hard job to succeed in music business and especially in this
genre where one can found so many professional instrumentalists. But I
really believe that Earnest Walker Jr. can win the race. After
"Raindrops In The Sun" (1998) this album is his second effort to gain
the attention of record labels. The entire album was mixed and
mastered by the one and only Tracy "Rum" Nelson of Philadelphia. "I
first played with Tracy at the prestigious club 'A Brave New World' in
Philly and we have been friends ever since," Earnest recalls, "When I
told Tracy that I was working on a new project he was adamant about
being heavily involved".
The album starts with Welcome To The Party,
a sound collage.
is a smooth mélange of soulful vocals and Earnest Walker's sultry
saxophone. Tracy Nelson composed this awesome tune and also added
keyboards and drums.
The title P-Cola Bounce
is Earnest's "thank you" to his fans from his hometown Pensacola,
Florida. Growing up in Pensacola many of us affectionately nicknamed
the city 'P-Cola'", Earnest states, "I do my best to perform there
when ever I can get a chance. While there in 2005 the DJ of the club
struck up a Marcus Miller song during our break called 'Bruce Lee'.
Man, you have never seen a group of people get into a song they way
they grooved to this one. This was uniquely Pensacola, people there
don't care what's on the radio or what's 'popular'. They like what
they like. When I head the kickin Gerald Albright alto solo on this
song, 'P-Cola Bounce' flowed into fruition."
Earnest Walker is playing all instruments, composed and arranged this
tune. He knows the groove indeed.
The fourth track Mysterious
Kiss is the first of two written by renowned composer
Richard "Tuck" Tucker of Rich Boy Productions (tm). Tuck is a writer
and guitar player for Kindred The Family Soul and has a host of
production credits to his name. "I also first met Tuck at 'A Brave New
World' and went on to play with him at some venues in New York." says
Earnest, "In September 2005 Tuck, along with good friends of mine
Timmy Hudson (drums) and Stacey McGee (bass) came down to Miami on
tour with Kindred The Family Soul. We cruised South Beach and had a
great time. I joked with Tuck, 'if you don't write me a song for my
next CD I am going to not take you back to the hotel but drop you off
in the middle of Miami! Apparently this worked because Tuck wrote not
one but two songs for the project!" Earnest laughs. That creamy smooth
guitar solo heard in the middle of "Mysterious Kiss" showcases one of
the many talents of Richard Tucker.
Tiera's Dance is a small motif and
intermezzo introducing the next piece.
Richard Tucker's Cruisin
Down Broad Street is a song with a strong hip hop rhythm.
Slow and intense, this tune is spreading a positive mood.
Knocking At Your Door
is another slow tune showcasing Earnest skills especially in playing
sax and keyboards.
It's a good opportunity to compare a new talent with
other artists when he is playing covers.
Between The Sheets was a huge hit of the Isley Brothers in
1983. This sing is very popular and was interpreted by Fourplay,
Marion Meadows, Joe Johnson, Kim Waters and many more. Earnest Walker
sets his own accent.
Move Forward is a funky approach
with a consistent rhythm.
Key West, South Florida is an interesting place for
a short visit or a longer stay. The town with ancient wooden houses is
often visited by myriads of tourists. Earnest Walker reminds at this
place with his interplay Key West Sunset.
Bryan Parr, Bryan Williams and Andre Webster are
band mates of Walker's group "Blind Date". Bryan studied music
education for two years at West Chester University and then went on to
play guitar and sing background for many major acts like Harold Melvin
and The Blue Notes, The Intruders, The Chi-Lites, Billy Pauls,Tony
Terry, Pattie Labell, Eddie Holman, The Stylistics and Ray, Goodman &
Brown. He also composed the tune Coolest Days.
Somehow the Philly Sound shines through.
Friends Of the super-group Earth, Wind and Fire will
certainly remember their hit That's The Way
Of The World. It was
their greatest album selling more than 5 million units. This group
imprinted in Earnest Walker a type of soul-jazz feeling that has
impressed his musical life. So this tune is a homage to EWF, a group
with a indisputable influence on a whole generation.
The title tune Variations
On A Groove isn't following a certain melody but reveals
Earnest Walker's enjoyment of improvisation.
The snippet I'm Out
lights up in an amusing way the problems musician have with their
family staying too long in the studio.
Earnest Walker's second album Variations On A Groove
has certainly ups and downs. In its entirety the album has awaked my
interest. So two thumbs up for Earnest Walker.