One of my earliest and fondest memories of my mentor and friend, Al Jarreau, was when I heard his music for the first time as a sophomore while attending the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston, TX. I was immediately drawn to the incredible variety of tones and the diverse vocal ability that emanated through each song, which captured my attention and took me on a lifelong journey into the many musical worlds of Al Jarreau.
This musical journey included the genres of Orchestral, Jazz, Pop and R&B. Needless to say, I was hooked from day one and began to vocalize along with his many recordings. In addition, I learned how to play most of his songs simply by listening, which all originated from my training in both the church and from my father, Charles Walker Sr.’s gospel group, The Walker Brothers.
In 1986 at the age of 18, and against my parents wishes, I moved to New York [NY] with “$40 and a Dream” to pursue and further my career in music. As fate would have it, I landed a full scholarship to attend “The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music [NS]” on my second day in NY. “WOW!!!…Talk about a huge blessing!!” I began performing with some incredible artists/legends, such as Ornette Coleman, Regina Belle, Jimmy Heath, Bob James and many more. Since the doors opened, I have traveled the world and embraced each new and incredible opportunity.
One day after playing with Bob James, I received a call from Gil Goldstein, my former improvisational professor at the NS with a life-changing invitation. He said, “I received a call to do some orchestral arrangements for a singer by the name of Al Jarreau and we need a bass player; would you be interested?” I could not believe what I was hearing and nearly passed out! Finally, my prayers had been answered!
I accepted the opportunity and worked with Al for twenty  years, which included a position as his musical director! Hence, one of my biggest lifelong-dreams of performing on stage with the phenomenal Al Jarreau has been fulfilled. I truly believe in my heart that it was kismet that we worked together, as his mother’s maiden name was “Walker”, and our birthdates are five days apart [five is symbolic of Grace]; His birthday is March 12th and mine, March 17th [lucky leprechaun ☺].
Sadly, Al passed away on February 12, 2017, and I continue to mourn the loss of my mentor and dearly beloved friend every day. I truly feel his spirit encouraging me daily to continue walking this journey and following in his footsteps. Your contribution to this project will help me, along with Larry Williams, Mark Simmons, Joe Turano & John Calderon, to honor and preserve the memory, legacy and music of Al Jarreau. Other special guests on this project include, but are not limited to, Dave Koz, Greg Phillingaines, Paul Jackson Jr., Nathan East, Bobby Lyle, Gil Goldstein and more.
Risks and challenges
As with any project, there is a possibility for risk. However, we have a great team of industry professionals collaborating on this project, and a solid executable plan for every part of the process. We are confident this project will be a successful endeavor, filled with love and joy.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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