About Chris Walker
A soulful vocalist and jazz bassist, Chris Walker has distinguished himself as both a valuable sideman and featured performer across the jazz, R&B, and gospel genres. Following periods with Ornette Coleman and Regina Belle in the 1990s, he launched his solo career with 1991's First Time. He has continued to split his time between session and solo work, issuing his own albums like 2005's I Know It's Love, and 2011's Zone, as well as collaborating on projects with Al Jarreau, Gerald Albright, Terri Lynne Carrington, and others.
A native of Houston, Walker grew up singing in church where he was a member of his family's gospel group, the Walker Brothers. A bassist, Walker drew early inspiration from Jimi Hendrix and developed an interest in jazz. After graduating from Houston's High School for the Performing and Visual Arts he moved to New York, where he earned a full-scholarship to the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music. During his time there, he was able to play with a bevy of jazz greats including Art Blakey, Jimmy Heath, Bob James, Cassandra Wilson, and others. Following his time at school, he earned double positions as both touring bassist with Ornette Coleman and musical director for R&B vocalist Regina Belle. For two years, Walker split his time between work with Coleman and Belle, all the while developing his own skills as a solo performer and singer. He eventually made the decision to go full-time with Belle, a choice that also led to his ability to focus on his own work. In 1991, he made his solo debut with First Time. A breakthrough, the album spawned two Top Five R&B hits with "Giving You All My Love" and "Take Time" (the latter of which also cracked the Top 30 in pop). He followed with 1993's Sincerely Yours, which included the single "How Do You Heal a Broken Heart."
Along with his continued work with Belle, Walker developed a working relationship with singer Al Jarreau, recording several albums. Over the years, he has also worked with Mark Whitfield, George Benson, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Kirk Whalum, and more. It was while working on demos for another artist that Walker met businessman and songwriter Ray Davis. The two hit it off and began writing songs together. Twelve of their collaborations appeared on 2005's I Know It's Love. A third of the proceeds from the album went to the American Diabetes Association in honor of Miss Mary Glenn, the woman who raised Walker. Zone arrived in 2011 and included the single "I Got That Love." In 2014, he co-founded the non-profit organization "DocFest," raising scholarship funds for Houston's High School for the Performing and Visual Arts to attend his alma mater The New School. In 2019, he returned to his solo work with We're in This Love Together: Celebrating Al Jarreau. ~ Matt Collar