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In Session: By DJ Mixolydian

Did the sound of the albums Innervisions, Let’s Get It On, and Black Byrd leave a lasting impact on your ears and mind? Then you are a fan of the sweet sounds of David T. Walker’s guitar. Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but raised in the Watts district of Los Angeles, David T. played a substantial role as a session guitarist, along with releasing 15 of his own records. His soulful, jazzy chords and riffs can be heard on albums by artists such as Quincy Jones, Dusty Springfield, The Pointer Sisters, Bill Withers, Herbie Hancock, Willie Hutch, B.B. King, and so many more.

A self-taught musician, Walker originally took to the guitar as a way to stay out of trouble. He would listen to jazz artists like Cannonball Adderley, playing along to records with his guitar. It was this free-form jazz style that left a lasting impression on Walker. In high school, he formed a band known as the Kinfolks, who toured extensively throughout the country, eventually being signed to legendary Motown Records. This launched a session career that would leave a remarkable impact on soul, jazz and R&B music. From the 1960’s on, Walker played on hundreds of records, many of them going platinum. In addition to his phenomenal work in the States, Walker has a love for Japan and its music culture. He has continued to tour throughout the nation, and collaborated with some of its most prominent jazz musicians.

Walker’s inspiration and influence on more modern artists is evident- he has been sampled by legendary hip-hop producers such as Q-Tip, The Alchemist, and Pete Rock, among others. He also has worked alongside artists such Vulfpeck and Kareem Riggins.

I have compiled a playlist of both solo work and collaborations/session appearances of David T., as well as some videos of live performances. Please enjoy, and check back every Monday for a profile of a new studio musician who may be one of your favorites, without you even knowing it!