Primary Instrument: Trumpet
Welker, the only child of parents who were both working jazz musicians in New York and Boston, first picked up the trumpet at the age of nine. He credits his mother as being the major influence on his life and music career. She really inspired me, Welker said. Born blind, she sang on the coast-to-coast Camel Caravan show with Al Pearce and His Gang from 1935 to 1939.” After studying at Berklee College of Music, Welker moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. He led a sextet which was the house band at the famed Jazz Workshop in North Beach from 1961 to 1965 and featured piano player George Duke.
He has toured and/or recorded with the likes of Van Morrison, Santana, Cold Blood, Jesse Colin Young, Buddy Miles and Dr. John. He has been nominated for a Bammie (Bay Area Music Awards) in the Best Horn Player category. Welker's horn section, Horns 'R Us, has often been hired to back touring Soul/R&B acts such as the Temptations, the Four Tops and Smokey Robinson. The horn section is on a newly released CD produced by Bob Dylan, The Songs of Jimmie Rodgers: A Tribute. The guest artists include Jerry Garcia, Aaron Neville, Van Morrison, Bono (of U2), John Mellencamp and Willie Nelson. Welker led the horn section of super-producer Narada Michael Walden's two-week all-star tour of Japan in 1995, in a band that featured Joe Zawinul and Patti Austin. His previous album, Para Peachy, an eclectic mix of jazz, R&B and salsa, was released in 1997 on Take One Records. Phil Elwood of the San Francisco Examiner called it one of the greatest recordings ever made, produced and played by Bay Area musicians.