The Charles Walker Blues Band is a five piece band that performs various styles of blues and R&B with precision and energy. What adds to the band uniqueness, apart from award winning musicians (together for 3 years), is the richness of both the original and cover (BB King, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Muddy Waters) material. A quote from the Livin’ Blues magazine describes us best, “…so much energy, you can’t resist but fall in love with every song. You’re drawn in and held for show after show with Charles Walker band.”
Charles Walker, tenor saxophone, keyboard, songwriter & band leader, received formal jazz training at UW Eau Claire. He has played saxophone for over 17 years. His last band was Muddy Blue, who released a CD entitled “Low Down Dirty Blues”. He has played with such greats as Big Al from New Orleans and JJ Johnson at BB’s in St. Louis. His influences are Luther Allison, Louis Jordan, Stan Getz, Lester Young, Dexter Gordon, Charlie Parker, Sax Gordon, Keb’ Mo, and John Coltrane.
Miss Shanna Jackson, lead vocals, has been singing in Milwaukee since she's been five and attended the School of Fine Arts in Milwaukee to hone her vocal talent in the late 80's. Her professional career started with female singing groups in Nashville and Atlanta, but has found her passion in the blues, which she has been performing professionally for four years. One of the highlights of her career so far has been sharing the stage with Nora Jean Brusco. Her biggest blues influences are Shemekia Copeland, Koko Taylor, Luther Allison, Buddy Guy and Big Time Sarah.
Emre "Turkish Sensation" Alp, lead guitar, has traveled the farthest to play the blues. He hails originally from Turkey where he received training in both Classical Guitar and Baglamoa (a Turkish national instrument). He's been playing blues guitar for over 16 years and his biggest influences are T-Bone Walker, BB King, Duke Robillard, Ronnie Earl and Gatemouth Brown.
Kent Hamele, bass guitar, has been playing bass for over 35 years and his last big blues experience was with Cadillac Joe and Paul Flipowitz. He lives in Madison, Wisconsin and has played the gambit of rock, pop, Caribbean, African and, of course, blues genres in the process. He has opened for such greats as Lil’Ed, Johnny Bassett and Shemekia Copeland.
Nic Fugate, drums/percussion, been playing drums for over 12 years. He currently holds a Bachelor Degree in music from UW-Milwaukee with emphasis in percussion performance. Nic’s many playing experiences have made him a very diversified player, ranging from small combo jazz to hard rock. These experiences include the UW-Milwaukee Jazz Ensemble, UWM Jazz Combos, alternative band Abstract Thought, and musical work throughout the area. His latest accomplishments come from playing with the band All Envy Aside, MTV-U 2005 Best Music on Campus winner along with WAMI 2006 Rock Group of the Year. Nic believes in continuing the learning process, studying with the likes of Mark Pulice (Carmen McRae) and Ernie Adams (Al Di Meola) and attending clinics by great artists such as Ignacio Berroa and Dom Famularo. Nic currently performs as a freelance musician throughout the Milwaukee area and maintains a strong private studio.
“In addition to the expressive saxophone of the leader, the band is very solid…there is a lot of potential in this group and it’s leader, which is obvious…”
-Frederic Adrian, Soul Bag Magazine (July/Aug 06)
“[These] guys sounded good.”
-Robert Cray, Robert Cray Band
“Charles is really good. Really good. The whole band is great.”
-David Wilkes, KOCH Records, A&R VP
“…we are treated to the full panoply of Blues styles, great tunes, intelligent lyrics and superb instrumentation throughout.”
-Noggin Blues Matters! Magazine, Issue 33
“…guitarist Emre Alp is in the pocket with his rhythms and right on time with leads.”
-Blues Revue Magazine, Oct/Nov 2006
“I have listened to their cd…I liked it a lot. [This band] is on my radar."
-Fred Litwin, Northernblues Recording President
“Walker’s lyrics are great! I’ve been groovin to both CD’s all week.”
-Jerry Lima, Monterey International, Booking Rep.
"....entertained the crowd with Walker's exceptional saxophone playing."
-Tom Loucks, Central Wisconsin Weekend
“I’ve had the pleasure of seeing the Charles Walker Band six times live. This band is one of the most talented and progressive blues bands in the country. One listen and you’ll realize this band has obvious blues credentials. They’re one of the most dominating live blues bands that I’ve ever seen. Book this band for any event; they’ll bring the show and the music that will make
for a great event.”
-Vince DelaRosa, Carrington Cabaret Inc.