Professor Walter Beasley started his career on the trace of Grover Washington. Grover's music inspired Walter to choose the saxophone as his favorite instrument. Furthermore he was influenced by Donny Hathaway and Earth, Wind and Fire. "All I wanted to do was figure out how I could move people the way I was moved by those records.”

Graduated from Berklee College of Music in the early ‘80s, Walter took a teaching position on this college a year later. In 1987 he released his self-titled debut album on Polydor, followed by Just Kickin' It (1989), Intimacy (1992) and Private Time (1995) on Mercury. After Walter Beasley Live and More (1996) on Affable Records and Life and More (1996) on Ignition he signed at Shanachie, where he released Tonight We Love (1997), For Your Pleasure (1998), Won't You Let Me Love You (2000) and Rendezvous (2002). Go With The Flow (2003) was his interplay on N-Coded Music before he joined Heads Up International releasing For Her (2005), Ready For Love (2007) and in 2009 Free Your Mind. On his website he also offers Sax Meditations (2008) as downloadable music.

“All I wanted to do with this record was accurately reflect the times and how I felt about them,” explains Walter the title of his new album. “I had been working so much in the past few years, and living this musical life so intensely, that I hadn’t taken the time to recognize the emotional impact of some things that had been happening in my life and in the world. With the times being what they are, I think this is a record that can help people let go of their concerns for a while and just lose themselves in the moment.”

On the starting Steady As She Goes Walter Beasley combines his contemporary sax with classic rhythms of the 80's. The song was penned by James K. Lloyd, the keyboardist of Pieces of A Dreams who is a high-talented producer, writer and musician.

Walter is not only a gifted sax player but also a blessed singer. He reveals his extremely affective vocals on Love Calls featuring the siren vocals of Lyne Fiddmont. Kem has written the song for his debut album Kemistry pegged by USA Today early on as a "Motown classic."

Get a fresh air with Oh Yeah, the definite groove by hit maker James K. Lloyd. This captivating and crowd-pleasing tune is suitable as next single and would be the right chart topper.

Message To Mark is Walter's tribute to Mark Ledford who died of a heart attack in late 2004 at age 44. “Mark was an extremely talented musician who played with Pat Metheny,” says Beasley, who is godfather to Ledford’s children. “We were like brothers, two people whose musical careers were very similar in that we both played, sang and wrote music. But we had lost touch because of some things that were happening in our personal lives, so I wasn’t able to talk to him toward the end of his life. But since music was the thing that brought us together and made us so close, I said what I needed to say in my music.” Mark Ledford has often performed with Pat Metheny. So bass player Craig Shaw and trumpet player Derek Cannon evoke together with Walter Beasley memories through association to Pat's music.

Urban influenced Shirlitta brings a fresh sound into your loudspeakers. The title song Free Your Mind comprises the message, forget your sorrows. Keep cool and be happy. That's just a pipe dream but worth a try.

The Latin-flavored DukeZillia is a song Walter Beasley composed George Duke's music in mind. “I was at the keyboard, and I was playing these chord changes,” Beasley recalls, “and I realized the music that was coming together was very much in the style of Duke. I saw this as my opportunity to write something that was indicative of the kind of lessons I had learned in my early childhood from his music.” This sound is an agreeable turning away from the usual smooth jazz formula. John Roberts did a fantastic job on drums, percussion and background vocals.

Just Breathe is a good opportunity for James K. Lloyd to show more of his grateful piano technique.  Barack's Groove is a tribute to next president Barack Obama. "Win or lose, says Beasley, Obama has changed history for every child of any color in this country. “Barack and Michelle Obama have demonstrated to people of color and families of color that you can be born into a traditional African-American family – or a Latino family or an Asian family – and actually become president of the United States,” says Beasley. “If I have a son, and he says, ‘Dad, I want to be president someday,’ I can now show him a picture of a black man and say, ‘Son, that is possible in this country.’”

She Can't Help It is composed by Phil Davis, an accomplished producer, keyboardist and songwriter. He worked with many smooth jazz artists like Alex Bugnon, Boney James, Rick Braun and also on Walter's previous album Ready For Love. The song is in the state of flux. Beside the sax Walter Beasley also performs some flute elements.

The finishing tune Miss Minnie is dedicated to Minnie Dangerfield, a close friend of Walter's family and an important influence on his life while he was growing up in California. “I would call her religiously every couple weeks, even after I went off to college and became an adult,” Beasley recalls. “She always gave me good advice. When I was making big decisions in my life, she would always tell me what I needed to know – not just what I wanted to hear.” A respectful and contemplative tune.

Free Your Mind is Walter Beasley's masterpiece. Although with strong elements of smooth jazz he offers more sites of his musical life. That makes his new album so vivid and multifaceted.





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  • Album information:

    Title: Free Your Mind
    Artist: Walter Beasley
    Year: 2009
    Length: 0:49:08
    Genre: Smooth Jazz
    Label: Heads Up International


    01 Steady As She Goes [3:53]
    02 Love Calls [5:00]
    03 Oh Yeah [4:11]
    04 Message To Mark [6:06]
    05 Shirlitta [4:15]
    06 Free Your Mind [4:15]
    07 DukeZillia [4:43]
    08 Just Breathe [4:05]
    09 Barack's Groove [3:50]
    10 She Can't Help It [4:02]
    11 Miss Minnie [4:48]