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Walter Beasley (c) walterbeasley.comContemporary jazz saxophonist and vocalist Walter Beasley shares selections from his music library, with artists including James Brown, Earth Wind Fire, and Herbie Hancock.

Walter Beasley has made a name for himself in the world of contemporary jazz as both an accomplished saxophonist and a respected vocalist an unusual one-two punch within such a highly scrutinized musical genre.

An alumnus of Berklee College of Music (studying alongside the likes of Branford Marsalis and vocalist Rachelle Ferrell), Beasley later went on to teach at the prestigious school where he remains on staff to this day. He’s performed or recorded with such luminaries as Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, Dexter Gordon, Stephanie Mills, Vanessa Williams, Brian McKnight, Gerald Albright, Kirk Whalum, Everett Harp, and Norman Brown.

Walter Beasley’s 2009 release, Free Your Mind (Heads Up) musically addresses personal, political, and global issues in a unique fashion which has already garnered considerable critical praise.

1. Keystone Live Art Blakey the Jazz Messengers 

I first heard this walking in the dorm of Berklee College of Music. It stopped me dead in my tracks. 

2. Head Hunters Herbie Hancock 

What can you say about an album that changed the way most of us heard and related to grooves? It certainly changed me.

3. Shaft Soundtrack Isaac Hayes 

“Ellie’s Theme” still takes me to warm intimate places decades later.

4. Secret Story Pat Metheny 

Metheny is my favorite composer. “Tell Her You Saw Me” is a perfect song from a perfect album.

5. John Coltrane Johnny Hartman 

Some works are just too beautiful to describe. This record is one of them.

6. Gratitude Earth Wind Fire 

This is the record that got me into singing. The grooves are cold the ballads are addictive. You are spent after listening to this record

7. Hell James Brown 

“Papa Don’t Take no Mess”… The most funky of all who think and feel funky. This record is a classic.

8. Coleman Hawkins Roy Eldridge 

I can listen to these masters all day and not get tired. I love this record as it is nothing but beautiful melodies delivered honestly by two of the finest ever!

9. Sunny Side Up Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, Sonny Stitt 

Well, if you don’t get it after listening to this two or three times you never will!

10. Live for You Donny Hathaway 

His versions of “Yesterday” and “Superwoman” are simply gorgeous. Hathaway is a master of space and timing.

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