Walter Beasley found his roots in Grover Washington's music. After more than 20 years at the forefront of smooth jazz he is established as one of the most prolific sax players of this genre. He put the base for his position by his work as teacher at Berklee College of Music. "I was only planning on staying for a year or two, getting a record deal and then moving back to California," comments Walter. "But once I saw musicians move an audience through the use of techniques that I showed them, I was a sucker for teaching. It was a joy. It moved me. At that point, I made a decision to learn as much about teaching as I could. It's very important that I give something back and experience as many students as I can".

"To know that I can play, sing, record, tour and teach -  all on my own terms - is the greatest blessing one could ever ask for," he says. "That's where I am at this stage. It's a great thing. There's really nothing that I can say I want to do differently than what I'm doing right now."

The high musical standard of his new album Ready For Love is comprehensibly with this personal attitude. "This record is an indication of what hard work, dedication, talent and effort will accomplish, and it's a gesture of love and appreciation for the people who have supported me along the way."

The first track Free was already released on the compilation of Narada Jazz "The Love Project" (2004). It's a cover of Deniece Williams original, performed at her debut album "This Is Niecy" (1976) with the support of Maurice White and members of EWF. Tiffany Davis hums the melody which is mostly interpreted by Walter Beasley's alto sax. Phil Davis who is also producer of this tune delivers a rich tapestry of keyboard sound and strings. "I just think that song – especially the saxophone work during the outro – sets the tone for the whole album," means Walter Beasley.

Walter Beasley grow up in Southern California and unlike other kids he preferred Latin music. Although the second tune is called La Nina, indicating something Latin it's a pure smooth jazz etude.

Beasley's favorites are classic R&B songs like Be Thankful. William deVaughn had a huge hit with "Be Thankful for What You Got," which was the summer jam of 1974. Beasley's vocals can absolutely concur with his sax play. A mighty voice.

Ready For Love has an awesome intro by keyboardist James Lloyd (POAD). I love these keyboard sounds. Unlike other smooth jazz production Beasley didn't overdub his sax but gives Eddie Baccus Jr. opportunity to play the second sax. Eddie already appeared on several albums of POAD.

Rhea's Song is a good example that Beasley steps back to let other musicians air for expansion. In this case it's Phil Davis on keyboards, on other tracks did James Lloyd the fine interpretation.

Reggae isn't dead. On She Moves Me Walter Beasley chooses a light reggae rhythm for his melody. But he mélanges the melody with jazz improvisations. "Hands down, that's my favorite song on the album," he says with no hesitation. "That was the first time I ever wrote anything in a reggae style. It's a beautiful song that goes through various time changes. It just grooves. It moved me when I was recording it, and it still moves me whenever I hear it."

Miss You is hold in the tradition of classic soul. Chorus, strings, arrangement, brass, really all is perfectly incorporated into this song by Terrence McNeil. If Walter Beasley wouldn't choose his instrument he could be the second Luther Vandross.

With Lands Of The Sun Walter Beasley opens a totally other direction. Quim Quer is Beasley's partner as keyboardist, programmer, writer and producer. His real name is Joaquim Quer. He is known as producer and composer of remixes in the dance or chill-out genre. Beasley integrates elements of chill-out into his smooth jazz style.

"Sugar Puddin' is actually a slang term that we used in the South, where I spent my summers with my grandparents," comments Beasley. "It could be a reference to a little girl, or a girlfriend, or any girl who moves your heart in some way. Now, as I got older, I started to understand the more spicy definition of the term. I'll just leave the rest to the imagination."  It's really a sweet slow-tempo melody.

Beasley even tastes some disco rhythm guided by James Lloyd with Why Not You. Bout Dat Time again?

Willa Mae's Place is a tribute to Willa Mae Brothers, a lady who gave Beasley some much needed direction many years ago when he was a student at Berklee College of Music in Boston. "When my parents were very far away, and I was dealing with different issues and challenges in my life - musically, personally, economically - she was there to really make sure that I considered all my options and made the right decisions," Beasley explains. "She was a foundation for me. She's gone now, but she made a big impact on my life." Beasley performs this tune with much sensitivity. One really can feel his reverence to this deceased lady with so much merits.

Beasley shows on this album his openess for other music styles without abonding his musical authenticity. He is in a class by itself.




  • Bio


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    Title: Ready For Love
    Artist: Walter Beasley
    Year: 2006
    Length: 0:47:30
    Genre: Smooth Jazz
    Label: Heads Up International

    01 Free [4:43]
    02 La Nina [4:55]
    03 Be Thankful For What You've Got [3:36]
    04 Ready For Love [4:34]
    05 Rhea's Song [4:35]
    06 She Moves Me [3:31]
    07 Miss You [4:11]
    08 Land Of The Sun [3:42]
    09 Sugar Puddin' [4:24]
    10 Why Not You [4:24]
    11 Willa Mae's Place [4:54]