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. The album was mixed and mastered by Tracy "Rum" Nelson in Philadelphia who also contributed to the writing & drums on the project.
With this new album, the multi-talented saxophonist engages us in some serious Variations on a Groove, inspiring us to get hip to the deep musical love and passionate melodies that have endeared him to fans from Miami to New Orleans, Atlanta to Denver and beyond. The set features the masterful playing and writing skills of Richard Tucker, composer and guitarist for Kindred the Family Soul, Earnest’s powerful voice on sax and a host of various session players that sparkle and groove.
After a spirited “Welcome To The Party,” Walker gets down to late night business on the dreamy, atmospheric “Sweetest Things” before introducing us to the high spirited, soaring vibe of his hometown of Pensacola on the infectious “P-Cola Bounce.” He teases us with a simmering “Mysterious Kiss,” then shows off his cool improvisational skills on the brief interlude “Tiera’s Dance.” Walker’s in the crunch funk, retro soul mode as he goes “Cruisin’ Down Broad Street,” then extends a sincere and intense invitation as he’s “Knockin’ At Your Door,” which leads to a playful, deep grooving night “Between The Sheets.” Other key tracks are the moody, atmospheric interlude “Key West Sunset,” an intimate, smoky reading of “That’s The Way of The World” and the swirl of retro soul, modern urban sensibilities and crisp sax improvisations on the title track.
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".
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.
The Grotto hall, Pensacola, FL
Barchetta On The Bay, Miami, FL
O’Hara’s Jazz and Blues Café, Hollywood, FL
Cafe 54, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Zanzibar Blue, Philadelphia, PA
Talk of the Town, Durham, NC
Hanniton Watts American Legion, Pensacola, FL
Swig Bartini and Bistro, Weston, FL
The Robin Hood Dell East , Philadelphia, PA
“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
“What can one say about such a well played and produced album? I'd like to say it is 'Earnestly Groovy' and shows many of the skills this saxophonist holds. For those who think Sax playing is somewhat passé, take a listen to this album and think again!” ~Highlands Radio 100.7 FM–Australia
“Earnest Walker Jr. brings to his collection "Variations On A Groove" a very wide, eclectic view of the contemporary music scene. I particularly enjoy "Tiera's Dance" and the selection "Variations on a Groove", where Earnest shines on his sax.” ~Western's Public Radio
“Smooth jazz and saxophone is nearly synonymous and it's a hard job to succeed in music business and especially in this genre where one can find so many professional instrumentalists - but I really believe that Earnest Walker Jr. can win the race. After his first album, Raindrops In The Sun, this album is his second effort to gain the attention of fans and industry professionals. Earnest proves that he knows the groove indeed and is well qualified to bend and shape it as he wishes and always to the delight of his audience.” ~HBH, smoothjazz.de, Germany