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Mike Walker

Mike Walker

Born in Salford in 1962, Mike Walker started relatively late (16) in music, picking up his Brother's Guitar and re-tuning it to trace the lush chords that had initially caught his ear in early Joni Mitchell songs and Weather Report Instrumentals.

He became an avid fan of Steely Dan and copped Larry Carlton Solos by ear, as well as the rich harmonies and quirky melodic twists of Fagen and Becker.

The obvious Jazz influence that permeates much of that music lead him to look back and dig deeper into the history and mystery of jazz and some of its major protagonists including Wes, Ed Bickert, Joe Pass and Jim Hall, as well as the great exponents of piano, Sax and Trumpet such as Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock, Cannonball Adderley, Clifford Brown and Freddie Hubbard.

Influenced in many directions from Rock (His Brother, Alan) Song (His Sister, Bet) and a broad spectrum of Jazz (His Brother, Paul) Mike became noted for his ability to be creative in a number of musical settings.

Mike has performed and recorded with Steve Swallow, Dave Holland, Steve Rodby, Palle Danielson, Arild Anderson, Peter Erskine, Adam Nussbaum, John Marshall, Bob Moses, Bill Frisell, John Taylor, Kenny Wheeler, Vince Mendoza, Mike Gibbs, Mark Anthony Turnage, Tal farlow, Palle Mikkelborg, Mica paris and Norma Winstone.

He toured Europe and the States and recorded with the George Russell 'Living Time' Orchestra with whom he was a member for 18 years.

In May 2008, Mike released his debut album 'Madhouse and the Whole Thing There' to wide critical acclaim. It features strings, French horn, piano, brass section and vocals etc. Also, in 2008, Mike was commissioned to write some music for Manchester Jazz Festival. He wrote a Suite called 'Ropes' which featured a 22 piece Orchestra and Jazz quintet, with the great Adam Nussbaum on drums. The Suite was performed at the RNCM in Manchester to a packed theatre and received a standing ovation. Mike hopes to record an album of 'Ropes' in the near future.

He's also been writing for a new group he co-leads with a brilliant British Piano Player, the great, Gwilym Simcock, called 'The Impossible Gentlemen' which also features the fantastic pairing of Adam Nussbaum (Again!!) and Steve Swallow. They tour extensively in Europe and the UK and have just recorded their 2nd album (the first, which received wide critical acclaim entitled 'The Impossible Gentlemen' came out in 010) which will be released in the spring/Summer of 013 and will be produced by Pat Metheny's Bass Player, the fantastic, Steve Rodby who also tours with the 'Gents' and features on a couple of tunes on the new album (one with Swallow !! ).

Mike runs various Guitar/Improvisation Schools in Andalucia, Spain, Italy, Scotland, Wales and the Lake District for Beg/int and Int/Adv. He also runs The Music Place Summer School in Altrincham with his friends Les Chisnall and Iain Dixon.


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Mike Walker

Steve Banks

Steve studied at Leeds College of Music with Jez Franks and with Wayne Krantz in New York. He has also studied with Mike Walker since meeting him in 2002.

Steve has recorded and performed with Sara Colman’s Quintet across the UK and at the Jazzahead! festival in Germany. In 2011 he was featured guitarist on The Colman Brothers album reaching No.4 in the UK iTunes Jazz chart followed by performances including Manchester Jazz Festival. He has also performed in the Tony Smith Band at UK venues including Pizza Express Jazz Club, Soho, with Sylvan Richardson and accordionist Karen Street amongst others. Steve is currently rehearsing his new quintet based in Bristol, UK.

Steve has been teaching professionally since 2004, initially teaching classes within Yamaha Music School. Alongside private tuition he currently teaches at BIMM Bristol including a weekly improvisation module for all instrumentalists. Steve is an inspiring teacher with extensive experience in individual and class tuition, having designed and taught the guitar course on the (BA) Hons Popular Music Performance at Southampton Solent University for seven years, and as resident guitar tutor on the LMFL International Jazz Summer School.

Steve has taught beginners to advanced students. Emphasis is placed on self-expression through solid foundations of rhythm and harmony (including triads, arpeggios, chords, etc) from which phrasing and narrative can develop. Focus on musical elements such as listening, feel, dynamics and tone are also explored. Each student is encouraged to practice with effective and enjoyable methods that build confidence and independence.

Having worked as the editor of Practisin2Play since 2013, Steve has edited and transcribed all content on the site. He has worked closely with Mike in presenting the unique concept and ethos of Practsin2Play and will bring the same effective and structured approach to his lessons.


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