Our Story

Conversation  Piece gives people something to talk about!  The band is a successful and respected staple in Charlotte with a loyal following.

Conversation Piece members include  Willie Walker on bass guitar and vocals, Carl Ratliff on saxophone and flute, Darryl Payton on Trombone, Charlton Taylor on keyboards, Derek McCoy on guitar, and Christian Whitley on drums.  

Conversation Piece has been performing as a sextet for more than a decade.  The six talented individuals with impressive musical backgrounds combine for a unique sound.  Walker, Ratliff, Payton, Taylor, McCoy, and Whitley bring together their love of music and years of experience in the musical industry.   

The group's founder and leader, Willie Walker, is an electronic music and composition student. Walker has performed with Clarke Terry,  George Howard,  Barbara Weathers  (formerly of Atlantic Starr),  Sibyl Lynch, Najee, and Dick Smith  (formerly of  Earth Wind and  Fire). He performs vocals and plays bass on Discography: Alive and Kick In, Anthology of Beach Music, by Grammy Winner General Norman Johnson and the Chairman of the Board, with whom he also toured. In his early career, Walker was a staff bassist for Sound Lab Studio with Tom Rowan,  producer for Norman Conners. Walker is a former elementary general music teacher. Walker formerly served as staff bassist and orchestral arranger for Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, which has a membership of 8,000.

Currently, Walker is a composer and arranger for Conversation Piece Discography: Inside My Mind, Live at 831, L. A. Bop. He is a sideman for Grammy-nominated Tom Browne, known for his hit Funkin' for Jamaica, Thighs High.