Earnest Walker’s solo career kicked off with the recording of his first album "Raindrops in the Sun" which he composed, arranged and produced and quickly sold over 2000 copies at his performances alone. Earnest spent the next several years honing his writing skills and live performances and recorded his second album "Variations on a Groove".
"Earnest Walker Jr -- LIVE!" was recorded completely live (with no parts added after the fact in the studio, as is done on some "live" albums) at Crescendo Jazz & Blues Lounge in downtown Miami, Florida, USA. "Our intention was to record a performance, take the best songs and produce a CD", Earnest explains, "when I listened to all of the songs, I couldn't decide what to cut and what to keep, so I decided to keep it all and produce 2 volumes. " This decision is to the delight of fans. Earnest has assembled 3 of the best musicians in all of the South Florida area to interact with him on this CD. More then a "sax" album, this CD explores all avenues of musical communication between musicians and audience and musicians and musicians. Each song is played the way his band IGBO performs, extended. "We like to paint a picture with our music", Earnest says, "it's difficult to paint a picture in a 3 to 4 minute sound byte." Because of this there are only 5 tracks on each volume, but almost an hour of music. This is one CD that you will surely gladly tell all of your friends about!
From the beginning
Born in a military family, Earnest spent the first 15 years of his life traveling the country. The experience taught him an appreciation of different cultures and musical styles. While still a very young child Earnest's Air Force family was stationed in Hawaii. There he befriended his neighbors, The Wooten family, whose house was continuously filled with live music. While Victor Wooten went on to become one of the most recognized bass players in the world, it was Rudy Wooten on the saxophone that really inspired Earnest. At the age of nine, Earnest started playing the guitar, but a year later he picked up the saxophone and it has been his passion ever since. When he was only 14 years old the established musicians in Pensacola, Florida felt his playing was so essential they would sneak Earnest into night clubs to showcase his talents.
Earnest studied music education at Bethune-Cookman College in Daytona Beach, quickly establishing himself as one of the most sought after saxophonists on campus and around town. After college, Earnest joined the Air Force where he performed with different groups in each town he was stationed. After the military, Earnest toured and performed in most of the central to eastern portions of the country, including Miami, Daytona Beach, Charleston SC, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Atlanta, Tampa, Orlando, and Denver. In the late 90's Earnest moved to Philadelphia and became a member of the prestigious smooth jazz band "Blind Date". Earnest moved back to his home state of Florida in 2005, freelanced and formed the group "The Earnest Walker Jr Project" . In 2011 Earnest formed his present group, "Earnest Walker Jr & IGBO" (pronounced eeboo).
As solid, compelling and in the pocket as Walker is on disc, he’s best known in the indie urban jazz world as a powerhouse performer whose hip gyrations, sax pumping and sense of swing guarantees that every crowd is in an uproar. A seasoned session player for more than 20 years, Walker’s live performances always packs a punch! Earnest has opened for or joined on stage, such notable performers as Najee, Jill Scott, Mike Philips, Musiq Soulchild, Lenny Williams and more and he shines on stage with every performance.
“While sax loving urban jazz fans wait with baited breath for the next CDs from superstars Gerald Albright, Kirk Whalum and Boney James, sometimes the freshest, most sensual and funky surprises come from lesser known but incredibly fresh indie artists like Earnest Walker Jr. The title of Earnest’s second album, Variations on a Groove, says it all about the mix of seductive cool and explosive rhythmic energy he’s bringing to the contemporary landscape. Check him out and you’ll realize that the best variations on a groove come from staying connected to the unexpected.”
~Jonathan Widran, Jazziz Magazine, All Music Guide