Want some contemporary instrumental music that is just simply lots of fun? Take a listen to the debut album by multi-instrumentalist Jarred Walker. The recording is called Becoming Tomorrow and it is so full of energy and great melodies and solid musical ideas, you will wonder, as I did, WHERE has this guy been hiding?

Walker is first and foremost an excellent, inventive and fun-loving piano player. But he also is a very fine composer, and, if that isn’t enough, he is quite an arranger/producer too because to keep the energy up, fill out the sound and enrich the whole recording, he also sprinkles a variety of other instrumentation into the background, such as drums and percussion, bass, a few strings, a bit of synth, and this and that.

The first few pieces on the album are fast-paced with drums propelling the action forward. These are pounding and quick tunes, but with very nice melody lines. He does it again towards the end of the album with the bouncy, catchy tune “Around the Block,” that has an old music-hall or vaudeville type of feeling to it (maybe a bit of ragtime) and even what sounds like tap-dancing in the background. Speaking of ragtime, on the tune “This Time” Walker dribbles a bit of ragtime piano into the mix as if his hands just can’t keep from walking the ivories like that occasionally. But his influences do not stop there. On “End of the Line” (appropriately closing the album), he dips into the Broadway show tune bag and captures the feeling of the 1920s through the 1940s in New York (Gershwin is smiling). On other pieces Walker drops in jazz licks, then some classical motifs, a vague remembrance of a film score, then a little something from the world of radio pop music. But regardless of where the inspirations come from, Walker has made this music all his. It really is highly original, and most importantly, extremely fun to listen to. So what are you waiting for? Find some samples of this music online (at stores with listening samples or a pick-your-own-music radio channel) and be prepared to deal with that smile that will soon be appearing on your face.