Jim Walker is one of the world's most respected flutists. Besides boasting gorgeous tone and impeccable technique, Walker has managed to excel in both the classical and jazz fields.
The classical side: Walker has held the principal flute chair in major orchestras, worked with such great conductors such as Leonard Bernstein, Zubin Mehta, and Carlo Maria Giulini, and been hailed for his exquisite chamber music performances.
Chart-busting rap-rock group Linkin Park is practically a genre unto itself. In the past five years, they've released two mega-platinum albums on Warner Bros., 2000's Hybrid Theory and 2003's Meteora, plus a full-length disc of remixes from the first album and a joint release with rap giant Jay-Z.
Keyboardist and musical director Kenneth Crouch has worked with such artists as Lenny Kravitz, Eric Clapton, Destiny's Child, Lauryn Hill, Brandy, and Marc Anthony. Blessed with talent and born into a musical family (his uncle is gospel legend Andrae Crouch), it seems Crouch was destined for a career in music.
Some highly schooled jazz players turn up their noses when asked to play pop, but not Dino Meneghin. "A lot of times, that attitude comes out of ignorance," says the young LA-based guitarist. "R&B, blues, rock and roll, jazz - they all come from the same African-American tradition of music. They all come from the same source. And once I started playing R&B and pop, I fell in love with the idea of playing those styles. Now it feels more like home to me than jazz."
Nashville-based drummer Eddie Bayers is at the top of his profession, winning dozens of industry awards and playing with such greats as Vince Gill, George Strait, Steve Winwood, Peter Frampton, Bob Seger, Trisha Yearwood, and Garth Brooks. But he didn't always sit behind the skins; in fact, he began his musical career as a professional pianist with a classical and rock background.
"Some artists just want their music to sound good, but they're not all that interested in the particulars," notes Onree Gill, Alicia Keys' musical director. "They might not really care how you get from one song to the next or about the details of the arrangements. They don't have a clue about music theory or music history."
Most drummers can talk at length about the art of working within a rhythm section. But few do so as authoritatively as Charley Drayton, who boasts extensive credits as both a drummer and a bassist.
Some musicians would derive great satisfaction from doing one thing extremely well, but not keyboardist, producer, and arranger Herman Jackson. "I never wanted to be a specialist," he says. "I want to be an everyday player. I want to be able to do everything."
Despite his last name, most of Joe Solo's career is based on collaboration.
"I get off on the synergy of working with other people more than working by myself," says the Los Angeles-based songwriter, producer, film composer and multi-instrumentalist. "So almost everything I do is a collaborative effort."
Had fate dealt a slightly different hand, the world would have one more dedicated doctor--and a lot fewer country hits.
More than a decade ago, Brett James left medical school to pursue his dream of becoming a Nashville singer/songwriter. He had more success than most: his Arista Records debut album, Brett James, won praise for its hard-hitting, honky-tonk tunes. But several attempted follow-ups fizzled. In 1999 James, seeking financial security for his growing family, returned to his native Oklahoma and re-enrolled in med school.