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A top session guitarist since the '70s, David T. Walker has never been an up-front soloist or flashy stylist. But his rhythm guitar and steady timekeeping skills have been heard on sessions by numerous artists. The list includes Marvin Gaye, Pharaoh Sanders, Aretha Franklin, Barry White, LeVert, Bobbi Humphrey, Johnny Bristol, Leon Ware, Stephanie Mills, and the Crusaders. Walker's recording forays under his own name have had mixed success; his 1976 LP On Love was produced by Crusaders Joe Sample and Wilton Felder, but wasn't very memorable. Walker has continued recording across the decades, however, and into the 21st century with albums released in Japan, including 2008's Thoughts and the 2009 holiday outing Wear My Love.
David T. Walker (born June 25, 1941) is an American guitarist born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In addition to numerous session musician duties since the early 1970s, Walker has issued fifteen albums in his own name.
David Tyrone Walker was born to a Native American mother and African American father. He attended David Starr Jordan High School in the Watts area of Los Angeles. He has recorded a dozen solo albums since his debut release, The Sidewalk, in 1967. He has also been a session rhythm and lead guitarist, appearing on numerous soul, funk, and jazz releases. His backup work was featured on several notable albums of the early 1970s, including Stevie Wonder's Innervisions; Marvin Gaye's Let's Get It On and I Want You; Carole King's Fantasy; The Jackson 5's Diana Ross Presents The Jackson 5, ABC, and Maybe Tomorrow; Michael Jackson's Ben; and Quincy Jones's Body Heat. He also played with the combo Afrique on its 1973 Afro funk release Soul Makossa.
Other musicians Walker has worked with over the years include James Brown, Ray Charles, Etta James, Aretha Franklin, Smokey Robinson, Martha and the Vandellas, Four Tops, Diana Ross, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Billy Preston, Bobby Womack, Barry White, Herbie Hancock, Lou Rawls, Willie Hutch, Jeffrey Osborne, Johnny Bristol, Solomon Burke, Cannonball Adderley, B.B. King, Pharoah Sanders, Donald Byrd, The Crusaders, Joe Sample, Sarah Vaughn, Sérgio Mendes, Freddie Hubbard, Stanley Turrentine, Gerald Levert, and Boz Scaggs. His song "On Love" was sampled on the breakbeat compilation album Tribe Vibes Vol. 2 by the group A Tribe Called Quest.
Walker played in Bill Cosby's all-star band at the 2008 Playboy Jazz Festival.
Recently he has gained popularity in Japan for playing guitar for the pop music group Dreams Come True, and on band member Miwa Yoshida's solo albums, and has also performed live with them. He also leads his group on tours of Japan each year. He recently toured Japan with Marlena Shaw. His earlier albums have found new life by being reissued in Japanese editions, along with "best of" collections. An album titled Thoughts was released in Japan in 2008. A holiday album titled Wear My Love was released in Japan in 2009. "For All Time" was released in 2010.