Jim Walker

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Flutist Jim Walker is said to have played on the soundtrack of every film released since 1995; those responsible for such grandiose pronouncements may want to hedge their bets by estimating that if Walker…
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Flutist Jim Walker is said to have played on the soundtrack of every film released since 1995; those responsible for such grandiose pronouncements may want to hedge their bets by estimating that if Walker does not actually play on a certain hit film, he will in turn have been hired for the sequels, the titles of which are usually followed by a Roman numeral. Fusion jazz fans, in the meantime, may be familiar with Walker through association with several collaborations and combos during the countdown of said genre. In 1981 the flutist was one of the participants in bassist and burnout Jaco Pastorius' head-turning Word of Mouth. A few years later there were recordings from Free Flight, an interesting if somewhat forgotten project in which the fusion of musics had more to do with the third stream vision of classical embracing jazz. It was an appropriate area for Walker and band co-founder (and sometimes just confounding) pianist Milcho Leviev, whose backgrounds were in both musical disciplines. Drummer Peter Erskine of Weather Report and brilliant drum clinic fame was also a member of this ensemble.

The mid-'80s saw Walker really hitting his stride, showing up on a Wayne Shorter album as well as a Steven Spielberg soundtrack in the same year. In the early '90s he was a member of the Yellowjackets, a fusion outfit whose improvisational buzz sometimes gets them sequestered into the jazz lite or smooth jazz hive. Walker has continued to work in a wide range of musical settings, from classical to Kenny Rogers to accompanying the unique vocal stylings of Shirley Horn. Pianist Mike Garson was the flutist's collaborator on several solo projects released during the '80s and '90s; the ambitious Private Flight featured guest spots from keyboard royalty George Duke and percussion ace Alex Acuña.