James Walker is a percussionist and composer specializing in jazz vibraphone and marimba. His music ranges from acoustic, straight-ahead jazz, to more electronic contemporary styles. James is one of the minority of jazz mallet players who have embraced electronics in creating his sound, using effects processing to create new timbres rooted in the beautiful natural sound of the vibraphone. James' personal sound is influenced not only by vibraphone masters such as Gary Burton and Bobby Hutcherson, but also by guitarists like Mike Stern and Pat Metheny.
RHYME OR REASON has achieved radio air play in the US and abroad, and James' writings on percussion and jazz performance have been featured in Percussive Notes and Jazz Player magazines.
Check out the sound files listed at left to hear the variety of sounds found in James' mallet work, including the warm electronic vibes sound (using signal processing) on "Mirage," the marimba background figures on "Passport," and the variety of percussion instruments used on "East Shore," ranging from vibraphone to steel pan to orchestra bells. The CD also reflects a variety of musical styles, including the Brazilian-influenced "Mirage" and "Passport," the straight-ahead jazz of "The Natural," the Pat Metheny-inspired "East Shore," and the ballad, "Don't Go."
A native New Englander, James recently returned to his home state of Connecticut after spending several years in the greater Chicago area. He currently resides in western Connecticut with his wife, Sara (sharing their home with their cats, Charlie, Murphy and Sammy). In addition to leading his own group, James freelances throughout the northeast corner of the U.S., having worked with such prominent local artists as Lance James, singer Mary Taylor, and percussionist Dwight Baldwin. He has recorded as a sideman with jazz saxophonist Ken Gioffre, singer/songwriter Michael Branden, guitarist Brad Ard, and Chicago steel pan artist Paul G. Ross.