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Don Byron Plays Junior Walker

December 02, 2005
9:00 PM


In the fall of 2005, Don Byron will introduce a new group dedicated to the music of soul legend, saxophonist and singer, Junior Walker. The group will feature Byron on tenor saxophone and clarinet, Dean Bowman on vocals, David Gilmore on guitar, George Colligan on Hammond organ, Brad Jones on bass and Rodney Holmes on drums. Special guest artists will join the band for select performances and for a new Blue Note CD recording.

“Junior Walker was an important part of ‘soul music’ as a movement,” Byron says. “Along with guys like King Curtis and Eddie Harris, he was successful at creating an instrumental improvisational style out of the gospel/blues techniques that were transforming popular singing. He played no bebop, he was a preacher. He was an effective and underrated vocalist, and his vocal and saxophone style differ very little. He managed to have lots of hit records, and was, perhaps, the only true Motown instrumental artist. His music sounds much less cultured and much more Southern than anything else on the label. His vocal covers of more mainstream Motown material like “Come See About Me” are not only credible but, in contrast to the elegant mannered performances of the originals, seem raw and sincere. I managed to see him play once at a bar in Boston and thought I had never heard a better sound on an instrument.”

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