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James Walker

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Rhyme or Reason is a solo effort from 2000 that showcases this artist's mallet percussion technique, and if everyone who had heard him play at that point had bought a copy it would have been a million-seller. The aforementioned "everybody" could be better described as a loose coalition of anyone who had been near a radio or a disco during the Gloria Gaynor era. It was James Walker, after all, who whacked the conga drums on Gaynor's masterpiece, "I Will Survive." Reporting to an international congress on the use of music as an emotionally stimulative substitution for violence, the usually reasonable psycho-musicologist compared every hit on Walker's drumskin to a slap across the face of an unfaithful lover.

Walker's abilities to get this much, real or imagined, out of percussion instruments has led to steady work with recording and performing ensembles including the Salsoul Orchestra, the Silver Convention, and the Trammps. The percussionist's credits date back to the second half of the '70s — the funky Fat Larry's Band and the 1978 Grace Jones Fame album are among his earliest sides. There are several other drum people out there who have the same name and with whom he should not be mixed up, including the former Public Image Ltd. drummer.

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Years Active:

'70s, '80s, '90s, '00s