Chris Walden

When he’s not busy creating orchestral settings for major pop stars like Stevie Wonder, Neil Young, Michael Bublé and Diana Krall, the prolific composer-arranger-conductor Chris Walden focuses his attention on his first love, swinging big band jazz. The in-demand Walden must have been extremely busy over the past seven years because he hadn’t recorded an album of his own since 2007‘s Kurt Marti Suite. But he’s back with a vengeance on Full-On!, his fourth recording as a leader for the Seattle-based Origin Records.

An irrepressibly swinging outing that showcases Walden’s ambitious writing, along with potent solo contributions from some of Los Angeles’ first-call studio musicians, Full-On! finds the five-time Grammy-nominated German-born artist delving into the music that is closest to his heart. “I make my living mostly as an arranger for record dates for artists who don’t have anything to do with jazz, or just remotely to do with jazz,” he says. “Those are my commercial gigs and they pay well, but my big band is really my creative outlet.”