Chris Walker

Groups can also contact me and arrange viewings of those talks highlighted in BLUE via DropBox

Here is the full list of talks Chris can present under normal circumstances:Each talk lasts approximately 50 minutes, and features full audio-visual presentation

INTRODUCTION TALK In the first of a series Chris Walker introduces the theme of “The Great American Songbook” and, with the help of rare archive audio and video material, illustrates just how the great songs of the 20th Century were originated and performed.

DROP ME OFF AT HARLEM” Chris Walker tells the life story of Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington including some rare archive film footage shot throughout this great bandleader’s career. Ellington is regarded by many as the most important composer of the 20th Century – particularly as he emerged from the world of jazz

“SHOWBOAT” Jerome Kern could never understand why his melodies were so popular. Chris Walker illustrates the reasons with more rare film footage and the story of the man who once upset his father by ordering 200 pianos instead of the 2 they actually required!

“BASIN STREET BLUES” – LOUIS ARMSTRONG (Part One) Chris Walker invites you to a record recital tracing the early career of the world’s greatest jazz trumpeter from his lowly beginnings at the home for waifs in New Orleans to the dizzy heights of the top New York Cabarets. A chance to listen to some early rare recordings from Chris’ personal collection

“AMBASSADOR SATCH” – LOUIS ARMSTRONG (Part Two) Join Chris Walker for the second part of The Louis Armstrong story following Louis’ career from the formation of his “All Stars” in 1947 to his death in 1971. This talk includes some of Louis’ hit recordings as he rose to International stardom.

“WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD” – LOUIS ARMSTRONG Chris Walker traces the career of the world’s greatest jazz trumpeter from his lowly beginnings at the home for waifs in New Orleans through the dizzy heights of the top New York Cabarets to the formation of his “All Stars” in 1947 which he led until his death in 1971. This talk includes some of Louis’ hit recordings as he rose to International stardom.

SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW” The story of Harold Arlen, illustrated with recorded examples of his songs. Chris has unearthed the story of this little known songwriter that contributed so much to “The Great American Songbook” You’ll be surprised at the number of well-known melodies for which Harold Arlen was responsible.

“THE BENNY GOODMAN STORY” Chris Walker tells of Benny’s rise from the slums of Chicago, through the prohibition era to his International stardom as The King Of Swing. Illustrated with rare recordings, film clips and anecdotes featuring Benny – arguably the World’s greatest clarinettist.

“THE GREAT AMERICAN CHRISTMAS” Chris Walker traces a fond look back how the Great American Songbook treated Christmas over the years with stories and rare film footage from his own collection.

“AIN’T MISBEHAVIN’” Chris Walker presents the story of Thomas “Fats” Waller from his lowly beginning in the back streets of Harlem to International Stardom, Writer of songs, in partnership with Andy Razaf, which have become evergreens. An extraordinary man with an extraordinary life style. This talk includes rare film clips of the man in action.

THE FOOD & MUSIC OF NEW ORLEANS. Bring a notepad & pencil along to today’s talk by Chris Walker. With the aid of film footage you can learn about some of the finest food and music that New Orleans has to offer as you walk through the traditional old Quarter of the City.

OUT AND ABOUT IN NEW ORLEANS Chris Walker talks about some of the interesting houses to visit and sights to see around the Crescent City. From Plantation houses and the historic French Quarter homes to the Street cars and museums. You need never be bored in the City known as “The Big Easy”.

“FASCINATIN’ RHYTHM” This list of tunes credited to George Gershwin runs into the hundreds and includes the music for over a dozen Broadway Musicals. For much of the time he worked with his brother Ira and, between them, they penned both the words and the music. Chris Walker tells the story of George Gershwin with the aid of some great recordings and film footage.

THE STARDUST ROAD From his early college days following and forming friendships with the visiting early jazz men in the 1920’s, Chris, in this illustrated record talk, tells the story of Hoagy Carmichael who wrote such classic melodies as “Stardust”, “Georgia on My Mind” and “Skylark”. His move to Hollywood and his collaboration with some of the great song lyricists of the twentieth century makes this a fascinating trip down memory lane.

NEW ORLEANS TO LONDON Trombonist Chris Barber was destined to become a mathmatician but got bitten by the jazz bug and dedicated his life to popularising tradition jazz and blues in Britain. Chris Walker tells his story in todays talk illustrated by rare film footage and some grat fot tapping music.

“LETS FACE THE MUSIC & DANCE” The songs of Irving Berlin are timeless and, in today’s talk Chris Walker traces the life of this Great American songwriter from his poor beginnings in New York to his International success. Recorded examples of some of his work and rare film footage are included in this fascinating story.

THE KING OF POP Many would argue that Michael Jackson was the greatest performer in the world of Pop Music. But how did it all start? How did he reach the phenomenal heights of popularity and income that he enjoyed? What Part did Dr Conrad Murray play in his death? Join Chris Walker and some more film footage to discover the answer.

“MUPPET’S MAGICAL MUSICAL MOMENTS”. Chris Walker talks about some of the great musical moments from the 5 series of Muppet Shows. The musical contributions were played by some of Britain’s top musicians. Who were they? Relive some extremely funny clips with Archive footage from Chris’ own collection.

THE FIRST LADY OF SONG This talk by Chris Walker traces the career of Ella Fitzgerald from her first appearance at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem, through taking over and leading the Chick Webb band at the age of only 22. She then went on to International fame and fortune through her recordings and public appearances. Watch Ella in action with some very rare film footage and sound bites.

SHAKE RATTLE & ROLL Elvis Presley, son of a poor share cropping dynasty in the deep south of America, rose to International fame and fortune through his recordings and personal appearances. Chris Walker traces his life through his music and includes some rare film clips and photographs with a great selection of Elvis’ hit recordings.

“STRAIGHTEN UP AND FLY RIGHT” From being the leader of a very influential jazz trio to becoming one of the greatest vocalists of all time, the Nat “King” Cole story tells of the battle against racial intolerance and the will to succeed against all the odds. Chris Walker traces his career and includes film of many of Nat’s greatest hits.

“ANYTHING GOES” Chris Walker traces the musical career of one of America’s greatest songwriters. Cole Porter was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and thought nothing of lying, cheating and drug taking for most of his life. With Archive movie clips and anecdotes this true story is nothing like it was portrayed in either of the two Hollywood movies about the man who gave the World such a rich legacy of GREAT songs.

LITTLE OLD WINE DRINKER From prize fighter and Croupier in an illegal casino, Dean Martin rose to International stardom as a straight man, singer and actor. Renowned as a serious drinker and member of the infamous RAT pack, Chris Walker recounts the truth about this giant of the entertainment world using rare film footage and musical clips.

HE DID IT HIS WAY” Chris Walker traces the musical career of Frank Sinatra – one of the greatest singers of the 20th Century. From his early days as a singer with big bands to his topping the bill both in Las Vegas and in Hollywood movies. Rare footage and photographs are included in this musical tribute featuring original recordings from Chris’s own collection.

HIS SHINING HOUR” Hailed for much of his career as “The World’s Greatest Living Entertainer”, Sammy Davis Jr. was a multitalented singer, dancer and actor who broke the ground for many other black artists during his long and distinguished career. Chris Walker traces his life and sad end through his music and includes some rare film clips and photographs with a great selection of Sammy’s recordings.

IN THE MOOD Chris Walker recounts the true story of Glenn Miller – the most romantic of all the Swing big band leaders. Today’s talk takes you from his early childhood playing trombone in local bands, through his rise to fame, his updating of the United Sates Army –Air Force music and to the mystery of his disappearance over the English Channel in 1945. All illustrated with some rare film clips and photographs from Chris’ own collection.

KING OF THE SWINGERS British trumpeter Kenny Ball was one of the major figures in popularising traditional jazz in the UK (and around the world). Chris traces Kenny career from the East End of London to the World’s stage and TV appearances. With film clips from Chris’ own private collection.

THE MAN IN BLACK” Rising from being the son of a poor American Sharecropper to topping the hit parade charts, dealing with drug addiction and finding religion, the unique voice of Johnny Cash has thrilled millions of fans and Chris tells his story in today’s talk which includes many of Johnny’s greatest hit songs.

BROTHER RAY Known professionally as Ray Charles, he was an American singer-songwriter, musician, and composer. He was often referred to as “The Genius. Charles was blind from the age of seven. He pioneered the genre of soul music during the 1950s by combining blues, rhythm and blues, and gospel styles into the music he recorded Charles became one of the first African-American musicians to be granted artistic control by a mainstream record company. Chris tells the Ray Charles Story with a selection of Audio/visual clips to highlight his music

“HALF A SIXPENCE” Today, Chrisr tells the story of Tommy Steele through his youth, to his working on Cruise ships, then on to his rise to fame as pop star. This talk includes just some of his best known numbers.

“TIME AFTER TIME” Rod Stewart went from pop artist to one of the most distinctive singers of “The Great American Songbook”. This talk, by Chris, charts his life over the last five decades and includes some of his best recordings.

“HOUND DOG’, Jerome “Jerry” Leiber and Mike Stoller were American song-writing and record producing partners. Stoller was the composer and Leiber the lyricist. Between them they wrote a huge number of “hit” songs and Chris relates their story in a talk that includes audio/video clips of just some of their best known numbers.