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JD Walter

A native of eastern Pennsylvania, JD Walter’s past, present, and future has always embodied music. From church Boy choirs at the age of six to the American Boy choir school in Princeton to the University of North Texas on a vocal jazz scholarship, Walter has become a pioneer of improvisation and electronic innovations in the world of jazz. His recording career spans 20 years and his purist progressive approach to jazz music has been recognized worldwide.

After extended studies in Amsterdam with Jazz vocal Icon, Deborah Brown, Walter returned to the U.S. and embedded himself in the New York Jazz scene. It was in New York, surrounded by visionaries of jazz, where he began to organically develop his liberated, vibrant style that turned him from straight-ahead to progressive jazz singing. Walter’s recordings include, "Dressed in a Song", “Sirens in the C-House,” “Clear Day,” “Dedicated to You,” “2Bass, a Face and a Little Skin,” “Live in Portugal,” “Live at the 55 Bar,” “One Step Away,” and Guest appearances on over 100 recordings.

The latest album, released on February 7, 2020, testifies to his personal progression as an evolving artisan and provides an intimate, inventive collection of standards and originals. “Dressed in a Song,” produced by Walter and Grammy-winning producer and A&R executive Al Pryor, features piano and vocal duets and trios with veterans and up-and-comers alike, including Jim Ridl, Orrin Evans, Jean-Michel Pilc, Marc Cary, Taylor Eigsti, Julius Rodriguez, Ben Wolfe, Obed Calvaire, and Becca Stevens.

Over the decades, Walter has performed as a featured artist at numerous American jazz clubs and festivals in the U.S., Europe, the Middle East, Central America as well as over 80 tours in Russia. He remains a regular in the New York music scene, and has headlined at Dizzy’s Lincoln Center, The Jazz Standard, The Blue Note, and The Jazz Gallery, among other venues.

He has shared the stage with legendary artists, ranging from Dave Liebman, Billy Hart, Tom Harrell, Eddie Gomez, Bob Dorough, Nicholas Payton, Ben Monder, Sean Jones, Jean-Michel Pilc, Bill Evans, Mark Murphy, Greg Hutchinson, Ari Hoenig, Randy Brecker, Tim Warfield, Jim Ridl, Orrin Evans, Seamus Blake, Igor Butman, Nasheet Waits, Craig Handy, Boris Kozlov, Robin Eubanks, Eric Revis, Billy Drummond, Christian McBride, Adam Nussbaum.

Walter currently resides in New York and teaches privately and abroad at The Prince Claus Conservatory in Groningen, Holland, The Jazz and Music School in St. Petersburg, and the Music Wave School in Moscow.


Album Review

Mike LeDonne: Wonderful!

Read "Wonderful!" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Organist Mike LeDonne's latest recording, Wonderful!, is a labor of love on several levels. Of course, there is love of the music and love of accomplishing something that had not been done before--teaming a gospel choir with jazz quartet. Above all else, there is love for LeDonne's wife, Margaret, and daughter Mary who is disabled but, as LeDonne says, is nonetheless “truly wonderful." LeDonne wrote the album's title song for Mary, wherein he compares her to “a ...

Album Review

Mike LeDonne: Wonderful!

Read "Wonderful!" reviewed by Pierre Giroux

In jazz's rich tapestry, where tradition meets innovations, there emerged a convergence exemplified by the present release Wonderful! with the virtuosic Mike LeDonne's Groover Quartet + Gospel Choir, who embark on a transcendent journey into the heart of gospel- infused jazz. The project is informed by LeDonne's desire to offer a heartfelt tribute to his wife Margaret and daughter Mary to showcase the spirited and varied nature of the disability community. Participating in this harmonious affair are the long-time members ...

Album Review

JD Walter: What the World Needs Now

Read "What the World Needs Now" reviewed by Pierre Giroux

JD Walter beckons listeners into a soulful and captivating journey through modern jazz interpretations of non-jazz material. With his unique vocal stylings and innovative arrangements, he brings a fresh perspective to familiar popular tunes, and several jazz standards, while delivering thought-provoking original compositions. From the very first track--Stevie Wonder's “Golden Lady"--it is evident that Walter's vocal prowess is a force to be reckoned with. He dashes along in full flight and then effortlessly shifts into intricate ...

Album Review

JD Walter: Dressed in a Song

Read "Dressed in a Song" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer

JD Walter is a consummate vocalist who has devoted himself over many years to evolving a unique style that is nevertheless ensconced in the jazz tradition. The public relations sheet for this new CD states that “this is his first release since recovering from a life-threatening heart condition and surgeries on his heart and vocal cords." It states that this is a “comeback" record. That is a misnomer. In this recording, he takes the music to new levels of structure, ...

Album Review

JD Walter: Live at the 55 Bar

Read "Live at the 55 Bar" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer

JD Walter is an outstanding contemporary vocalist with six superb CDs already to his credit. Strongly influenced by Betty Carter and Milton Nascimento--themselves true originals--Walter is a dedicated artist who has stretched the singer's palette, increasing the range of vocalizations and emotions available for interpretation and improvisation. In Live at the 55 Bar, representing sets that were recorded at Greenwhich Village's famed 55 Bar in New York City, Walter capitalizes, in particular, on his skillful use of sound-synthesizing devices.


J.D. Walter: Being a Verb

Read "J.D. Walter: Being a Verb" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer

J.D. Walter is a jazz singers' singer--a purist and an innovator. Although his style has been compared to many vocal titans, it is in the same breath, uniquely his own, and he has become a singular phenomenon on the music scene.

Respected and lauded by the great musicians of the contemporary circuit, Walter has shared the stage with many legendary artists including: saxophonists Dave Liebman, Bill Evans and Tim Warfield; singer and songwriter Bob Dorough, drummers ...

Extended Analysis

JD Walter: Live in Portugal

Read "JD Walter: Live in Portugal" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer

J.D. Walter Live In Portugal JWAL Records 2008

J.D. Walter may be the most avant-garde vocalist in jazz today. He uses a broad range of musical and linguistic approaches to create haunting atmospheres, rapid scat runs, and emotionally engaging interpretations of both standards and his own compositions. On this double CD set, recorded live at the Lagoa Jazz Festival in Portugal, he takes scat to a new expressive level. The word scat ...

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Vocalist J.D. Walter Interviewed at AAJ

Vocalist J.D. Walter Interviewed at AAJ

Source: All About Jazz

J.D. Walter is a jazz singers' singer--a purist and an innovator. Although his style has been compared to many vocal titans, it is in the same breath, uniquely his own, and he has become a singular phenomenon on the music scene.

Walter has thus far recorded five CDs as a leader and co-leader and has attracted an international audience from the shores of America to Europe, Russia, and the Far East. He is also a featured member of pianist Orrin ...


Performance / Tour

JD Walter & Jean-Michel Pilc Duo Friday August 3rd at the the Jazz Gallery 9 & 10:30 P.M.

JD Walter & Jean-Michel Pilc Duo Friday August  3rd at the the Jazz Gallery  9 & 10:30 P.M.

Source: Jim Eigo, Jazz Promo Services

The Jazz Gallery An International Jazz Cultural Center 290 Hudson Street New York, NY 10013 Tel: 212-242-1063 Friday August 3rd 2007 Friday, August 3rd: 9 & 10:30 p.m. ($15) JD Walter & Jean-Michel Pilc Duo JD Walter is one of the most compelling and original male jazz vocalists on the scene. Pianist Jean-Michel Pilc is “a physical and densely harmonic player, a splashy stunner who also has a ...


Performance / Tour

JD Walter June 4th Dizzy's @ Lincoln Center

JD Walter June 4th  Dizzy's @ Lincoln Center

Source: Jim Eigo, Jazz Promo Services

Please Join us on June 4th At Dizzy's @ Lincoln Center J.D. Walter Quintet featuring Tim Warfield & Jean-Michel Pilc Featuring J.D. Walter, vocals; Tim Warfield, tenor saxophone; Jean- Michel Pilc, piano; Mark Kelley, bass; Donald Edwards, drums. Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola Frederick P. Rose Hall Jazz at Lincoln Center Broadway at 60th Street 5th Floor Reservations Call: 212 258-9595 or -9795. Seating is available ...

"He's built a reputation for going down his own idiosyncratic path, while simultaneously crafting music that's at once accessible and adventuresome, and undeniably soulful. ~John Murph -Downbeat Magazine "Not Bleckmann, not Elling, not even Murphy - can rival the outre audacity of JD Walter" Christopher Loudon~JazzTimes "...lithe and audacious" Nate Chinen- New York Times (on the new generation of singers) Of course, J.D. Walter on this coast. He is a motherfucker! He’s something else. It’s wonderful what he does, and did. He’s exciting to hear live, and he’s building up… “I was almost a little depressed after the record was all finished, because I said, “This is too good; this is too much above most jazz fans.”” ~Mark Murphy (Jazziz Interview, Oct

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Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson


Cellar Music Group


What the World Needs...

Arkadia Records


Live in Portugal -...

Arkadia Records


Dressed in a Song

JWAL Records


Live at the 55 Bar

Self Produced




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