Soul Fantasy

Friday, June 5, 2009

Wali Ali (Master Guitarist)

Wali Ali is no stranger to the music world. He helped as a lead Guitarist The Temptations, Eddie Kendricks, Teena Marie, Rick James & Patrice Rushen just to name a few. Wali Ali has toured as guitarist with Marvin Gaye, The Jacksons. Aretha Franklin, and the Undisputed Truth. During his tenure as musical director of the world famous "Cotton Club", Wali was dubbed the "Minister of Music".
In the late 70s he recorded few songs for Jobete Music Co under the direction of  Brian Holland & Edward Holland Jr. One of them is entitled “(Oh I) need your loving” and is included on the album "Yesterday, Today, Forever" which was released on Jobette Music Co in 1980.

This track was re-recorded by Eddie Kendricks in 1981.

He played guitar for Marvin Gaye on the album released in 1978. He sang as a backing vocalist for Norman Connors on the album Invitation in 1979. Also he sang together with Patrice Rushen on the song “Never Gonna Give You Up (Won't Let You Be)“ included on her Posh album from 1980.
The same year Lamont Dozier formed the soul group Zingara. Lamont Dozier found a trio of singers, James Ingram , Lady Bianca and Wali Ali. Lamont Dozier explains: "He was better known around the LA session circuit for his guitar playing than his singing. But he is a fantastic singer, so underrated when you think how feted he is for his guitar work. Zingara recorded one of the best sweet modern soul albums ever on Wheel Records. Wali Ali sang for Zingara two songs, entitled “Gypsy heart” and the ballad “For all of my life”.

The song “For all of my life” was released as a 7 incher (short version) on the same label. Composed and produced by Lamont Dozier.

Unfortunately, Wheel Records ran out of money way before they had a chance to put any promotional muscle behind their release, and the whole Zingara thing fell apart just as quickly as it had come together. In 1981 Wali Ali formed D-West Records. The name, D-West Records was inspired by Iman W. D. Mohammed. The first single to be released by the company was "Images", which produced 10,000 copies. Wali Ali sang for the gospel group "The Bilalian Cultural Foundation". Backing vocals by The Waters Sisters. Arrangement by Wali Ali. Orchestration by Mikal Majied.

The same year he wrote a great song for Gladys Knight & The Pips entitled “Love Was Made For Two”. It was included on the album "Touch" in 1981.

Love Was Made For Two” was also released as a single on Columbia Records in the same year.

A year later he participated on the gospel group Hijrah as a guitarist. Hijrah released an album entitled "Truly Free" on Ummat Records from Oakland. I chose a sweet track called "Faith and deeds". Solo guitar by Wali Ali.

He also played guitar for Chuck Cissel on the album "If I had the chance". Afterwards in the late 80s he released a single entitled “Let the world come together” on D-West Records. Probably he has recorded an album.

Note: The above posted tracks are not played in full


wali ali said...

First of all I want to thank you for your wonderful contribution and tribute to me and others. this is Wali Ali my email address is My phone is (805)910-5075

wali ali said...

Souldennis I found the let the world come together track, I'm just waiting fore my son to make an Mp3 of it. I'm also going to send you a copy of my other CD projects. I ha e the Wali Ali's Greatest Hits, Man gets what he Strives For, Sunshine Suite, We can't Stop Now, And A new CD called Coming of Age Featuring Me and My Sons

LATIFA said...

Your songs are legendary. I was only familiar with Images previously but your other stuff is electrified.

Souldennis said...

I want to thank you for your good comments. I appreciate it.

Angela Ali said...

I am a big longtime fan of Wali Ali. Thanks for featuring my Islamic version of Stevie Wonder. Please subscribe me to any future tributes, posts and information on this living legend. My email is
Thanks so much!

Virginia said...

I love your blog and update on Wali Ali. I bought one of his albums many years ago and introduced him (via the album) to a good friend of mine yesterday. We need him, and other Muslim musicians making, making music that speak to me. There are many sites where you can listen to music from the Arab world, but having music that speaks to my African American soul, well, there's nothing like it. Thank you Brother Wali Ali for your music, and thank you, Souldennis, for this blog and all of your hard work!! I WILL definitely pass your blog along to Wali Ali's newest fan :-) Does anyone know any other Muslim singers/groups in the Imam's association?

Suad El-Amin said...

Wali Ali, you are blessed with a wonderful gift. The gift of music. It is now time for you to shine on in the world like never before! You are the baddest lefty around. With a voice to boot!I have appreciated our collaborations down through the years! I am certain that we will meet up again in the future!When the history books are written you will not be forgotten!Your courage is admired!

Dena Michals said...'re not only a phenom on the guitar but your voice is absolutely BEAUTIFUL....The arrangements are OMG.....please le me know how I can buy copies... Bless you forever brother

Unknown said...'re not only a phenom on the guitar but your voice is absolutely BEAUTIFUL!! Please let me know where I can get copies of your music...the arrangements were great!! Bless you forever brother

GaryB said...

Looking forward to meeting and performing with Wali Ali this Thursday (7/14)at the Birch St. Bistro in Roslindale MA. It will be an honor to work with this musical legend.

GaryB said...

So looking forward to meeting and performing with this music legend.
This Thursday July 14, The Birch St Bistro, Roslindale, MA