Saturday, June 26, 2010

The History of Being and Staying Independent

Independent Musician and Historian, William "Pal" Walker born in Harlem, NY in 1929. A legend in his own right and still making the music of yesterday speak to us today. We were able to connect with him in a wonderful afternoon interview as well as on the show ( dated:6/17/2010).

Having started as a teenager as a Saxophonist and sitting in on sessions with Jazz notables to prove his skills and learn technique, "Pal" developed his own style with the Jazz greats of his early days. Artists such as: Lester Young, Lucky Miller and Charlie Parker (just to name a few) took him under their wings and helped him craft not only a style, but also a long lasting passion that has kept him an independent musician for over 65 years!

We had a rare and memorable opportunity to sit and speak with him at his home in Englewood, New Jersey where we learned just what it takes to be and stay independent as an artist and most of all to keep that independence for a lifetime. His style is free, full of movement, skill, technique and is qualified as fine tuned melody that is soothing to the listener. While taking a tour of his home studio I was delighted to see the creative spaces of both he and his wife Rowena which was like getting a history lesson on life and most of all culture. No stranger to many of the greats in music, "Pal" is a legend in his own right and still keeping audiences moving with the beat that he's all too familiar with every Sunday at his Harlem church. He is definitely a musical genius.
When asked about the transition from Be-Bop/Jazz/Gospel to Funk/R&B/Hip Hop he says that he never focused on what trends were happening because he could always find a place with his talent. He did what many artists did and expanded overseas.
One notable part of our time together was hearing about all of the influential people who lived right in his community as a young musician giving him an education that only community folk can do. From Billy Eckstine, Sugar Ray Robinson and Joe Louis to even the infamous A. Phillip Randolph and Nipsey Russell. The list goes on and we applaud Mr. Walker also as he played his rendition of "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" that fine afternoon.

For full media coverage listen to: 6/17/2010 and hear for yourself the incomparable Mr. William "Pal" Walker.
This is from your co-host, Sister Falana

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