A popular saxophonist and singer with a mellow, R&B-influenced style, Walter Beasley has led a successful contemporary and smooth jazz career.
Following his emergence in the late '80s, he balanced his teaching career at Boston's Berklee College of Music with issuing a steady stream of lyrical, groove-oriented albums like 1997's Tonight We Love, 2002's Rendezvous, and 2007's Ready for Love, the latter of which spawned three number one Billboard smooth jazz songs, including "I'm Back" and "Steady as She Goes." He runs his own Affable Music label on which he issued 2019's Going Home.
Born in El Centro, California in 1961, Beasley briefly played trumpet before switching to the saxophone around age nine. Inspired by Grover Washington, Jr., he began learning jazz and played in various bands throughout junior high and high school. After high school, he attended Berklee College, where he graduated at age 22 and became one of the school's teachers. In 1987, he made his solo debut with Walter Beasley on Verve. Two years later, he returned on Verve with Just Kickin' It. Both of these albums showcased Beasley's broad stylistic influences from jazz and funk to R&B, and found him both playing sax and singing.
During the '90s, he moved to Mercury for 1992's Intimacy and 1995's Private Time, after which he landed at Shanachie for an extended run, beginning with 1997's Tonight We Love and including 1998's For Your Pleasure and 2002's Rendezvous. These albums found him incorporating hip-hop influences and settling into a strong quiet storm vibe. Around this time, he also began recording for Heads Up and his own Affable Records, releasing 2005's For Her and 2007's Ready for Love.
In 2010, he was back to Shanachie for Backatcha! Several live albums followed before the studio date I'm Back appeared in 2015 on Beasley's own Affable label. Two years later, he issued the sensual Blackstreams. Going Home arrived in 2019 and included guest appearances by Phil Davis, Derek Cannon, and Tres Gilbert. Also that year, he guested on bassist Byron Miller's number two Billboard-charting smooth jazz song "The B Spot." ~ Matt Collar