The Chris Walden Big Band

Released February 22, 2005

Grammy Nominee for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album 2006




The award winning German composer/arranger has scored over 30 feature & TV films and has done arrangements for dozens of artists including Nancy Wilson, Barbra Streisand, Bill Conti, and the Chicago Symphony. Walden started writing for German radio orchestras at 21 and conducted the Frankfurt Radio Big Band and the RIAS Big Band in Berlin before relocating to Los Angeles at age 29. His big band is comprised of Los Angeles’ top studio and jazz artists including Peter Erskine, Pete Christlieb, Bobby Shew and many more.

Track Listing:

1. Cherokee (Ray Noble) 6:30

2. Rainy Day in Vancouver (Christopher Cross) 6:57

3. Film Noir, Pt. 1 (Chris Walden) 4:08

4. Film Noir, Pt. 2 (Chris Walden) 3:42

5. Film Noir, Pt. 3 (Chris Walden) 3:20

6. Mulholland Falls (Dave Grusin) 5:39

7. Here’s Looking at You (Charlie Haden) 6:22

8. Star Wars (John Williams) 5:05

9. Home of My Heart (Chris Walden) 8:14

10. Feet First (Lyle Mays) 3:50

11. Here’s That Rainy Day (Johnny Burke / James Van Heusen) 7:30

12. How Long Has This Been Going On (George Gershwin / Ira Gershwin) 2:49

13. Nonino (Astor Piazzolla) 3:02

14. You Took Advantage of Me (Lorenz Hart / Richard Rodgers) 2:41

15. Stolen Moments (Oliver Nelson) 6:55

16. Dr. Stefan Frank (Peter Wagner) 0:44


Chris Walden Big Band:

Jeff Driskill: saxophone

Brian Scanlon: saxophone

Rob Lockart: saxophone

Pete Christlieb: saxophone (1, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9)

Brandon Fields: saxophone (2, 6, 8)

Bob Sheppard: saxophone (2)

Rick Keller: saxophone  (7, 10-16)

Tom Petersen: saxophone

Wayne Bergeron: trumpet (1, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9)

Roger Ingram: trumpet (2, 6)

Carl Saunders: trumpet (2, 6, 7, 10-16)

Kye Palmer: trumpet

Ron King: trumpet

Kevin Richardson: trumpet

Bobby Shew: trumpet (4)

Bob McChesney: trombone

Alex Iles: trombone (1,3,4,5,8,9)

Bruce Otto: trombone (7,11,12,13,15)

Jacques Voyemant: trombone (1-6, 8-10, 14, 16)

Arturo Velasco: trombone (2, 6)

Bryant Byers: trombone (7, 10-16)

Rich Bullock: trombone

Mitch Holder: guitar

Christopher Cross: guitar (2)

Alan Steinberger: piano

Dave Carpenter:bassPeter Erskine: drums (1-6, 8, 9)

Tony Pia: drums (7, 10-16)

M.B. Gordy: percussion (2, 6, 14)

Tierney Sutton: vocals (12)

Frank Marocco: accordion (14)

Additional Drum and Synth Programming:
Peter Moslener (2)
Chris Walden (2, 6, 10, 16)

Recorded Sep 27 – 28, 2002 and Jan 17, 2003, at Capitol Studios, Hollywood, CA
Recording and Mixing Engineer: Al Schmitt
Assistant Engineers: Bill Smith, Steve Genewick
Music Editor: Thomas Bartke
Mastered by Robert Vosgien at Capitol Mastering
Executive Producer: Chris Walden
Photographs & Cover Image by Beate Walden
Design & Layout by John Bishop


One doesn’t often hear a big band album in which the arrangements literally steal the show. Here’s one where they do. Make no mistake, German-born composer/arranger Chris Walden has mustered a world-class ensemble for his debut album, abundantly equipped with staunch team players and killer soloists; even so, it is his superlative charts that carry the day and earn the blue ribbon.

Simply put, Walden is a terrific arranger who readily enlivens themes by composers as diverse as Ray Noble and Oliver Nelson, Charlie Haden and Astor Piazzolla, Dave Grusin and John Williams, the Gershwin brothers, Christopher Cross, and Rodgers and Hart. He’s also a splendid composer, as his “Home of My Heart” and three-part Film Noir suite confirm. Walden, not yet forty years old, honed his skills with Germany’s Frankfurt Radio and RIAS big bands before relocating to Los Angeles nine years ago, and since then he has scored more than thirty feature and television films and written arrangements for dozens of artists including Nancy Wilson, Barbra Streisand, Bill Conti, and even the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

The evocative Film Noir is preceded by stylish arrangements of Noble’s venerable “Cherokee” and Cross’s picturesque “Rainy Day in Vancouver”, after which Grusin’s powerful “Mulholland Falls and Haden’s dreamy “Here’s Looking at You” lead to a perky treatment of Williams’ dramatic theme from Star Wars. Walden takes his only flugel solo on “Home of My Heart”, while pianist Alan Steinberger is showcased on Lyle Mays’ “Feet First” and trombonist Bob McChesney on another marvelous chart, Johnny Burke/Jimmy van Heusen’s “Here’s That Rainy Day”.

The always engaging Tierney Sutton has the session’s lone vocal, on the Gershwins’ “How Long Has This Been Going On”, which precedes Piazzolla’s rhythmic tango, “Nonino”, with solo by accordionist Frank Marocco. Walden wraps things up with Rodgers and Hart’s “You Took Advantage of Me”, Nelson’s “Stolen Moments” and the brief and unruly “Dr. Stefan Frank” by Peter Wagner and Andy Sedlmayer. Trombonist Alex Iles, trumpeter Bobby Shew and alto Brian Scanlon are featured, respectively, on Parts I, II and III of Film Noir, soprano Bob Sheppard on “Vancouver”, flugel Ron King on “Mulholland Falls”, tenor Rob Lockart on “Here’s Looking at You” and “You Took Advantage of Me”. The other blue-chip soloists include tenors Pete Christlieb, Brandon Fields and Rick Keller; alto Jeff Driskill, trumpeter Kye Palmer, guitarist Mitch Holder and drummer Peter Erskine.

Home of My Heart was recorded at Capitol Studios in Hollywood, and one has to get used to its “empty barn ambiance, which is most conspicuous on “Cherokee”. Aside from that, there’s nothing unflattering one can say about an album that is so marvelously written and impressively performed (with a 77:37 playing time to boot). As film critics Ebert and Roeper would say, a big thumbs-up.

Jack Bowers (All About Jazz)