The consummate musician, producer, arranger, songwriter and artist in his own right, Wayne Linsey’s list of credits reads like a who’s who in contemporary music. Legendary names like Miles Davis, Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder are among the plethora of artists with whom the L.A.-based maestro has worked on stage and in the recording studio. Super producers like Kenneth ‘Babyface’ Edmonds and hitmakers like Whitney Houston and Earth, Wind & Fire always call Wayne to work on their projects; as a touring musician, Wayne spent many years with the ever-popular band Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, lending his distinctive and soulful touch as the primary keyboardist to the group’s energetic live show. While he maintains a non-stop schedule of touring and studio work, Wayne’s focus in 2009 is his first solo project:
“As a professional, I’ve been blessed to work with every artist of my dreams. I also see the purpose of my gift to provoke thought and enjoyment through my own music.” In keeping with an array of personal musical influences – which include Duke Ellington, Parliament, Oscar Peterson, Donny Hathaway, Wonder, Beverly and Davis – Wayne’s new project runs the gamut from jazz and R&B to world music and rap: “The album is not based on one dimension stylistically,” he notes. “Diversity is important to me. There’s enough material on the CD for the smooth jazz market: as an instrumentalist, that can be your only outlet for radio. But I didn’t approach this album the way the industry usually does by favoring one musical style…” As a multi-talented instrumentalist, Wayne plays keyboards, guitar, bass and drums on the record; special guest players include trombonist Fred Wesley, Bobby Brown, Michael ‘Patches’ Stewart on trumpet, saxophonist Kenny Garrett, drummer Teddy Campbell., Kevin Ricard on percussion, Hiram Bullock, Paul Jackson Jr., John “Jubu” Smith & Tariqh Akoni on guitars and vocalists Leon Ware, Louis Price Jr., Lamont Van Hook, Sy Smith and Wayne’s former wife, artist in her own right, Lynne Fiddmont, among others. Incorporating funky grooves, soulful slow jams and pieces with topical lyrical messages and including “Bookendz,” a tune originally commissioned by Miles Davis which appears on his live recordings as “Wayne’s Tune,” Wayne’s new CD, “A Song Without Words,” reflects the broad spectrum of music he’s mastered since his early days studying at Washington DC’s Howard University.
Since that time, Wayne’s musical dexterity has brought increased work in the television and film area: he contributed to Robert Townsend’s popular “Five Heartbeats” movie, worked on “Motown Live” & “Fame” with longtime friend Ricky Minor and in 2003, created music for the Fox network’s “Cedric The Entertainer” show, and can be seen regularly on this season’s “American Idol” as a member of “The Rickey Minor Band”. Asked on a regular basis to perform at music industry veteran Clive Davis’ famed pre-Grammy party, Wayne has also played on the BET Awards, The Essence Awards, The NAACP Image Awards, The Grammys, The Billboard Awards, “The UNCF An Evening of Stars” where he was featured with Nancy Wilson. Wayne was also called on to fill the piano shoes of the late “Ray Charles” in the television tribute “Genius – A Night For Ray”.