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Walter Smith III

From an early age, Walter began taking music very seriously. “My first gig was playing at a McDonalds in Houston with another saxophone player. I took a solo on “Blue Bossa.” It was terrible. People clapped, and I figured if I could get away with that and get applause, how could I fail?”

Although it may appear Smith is a new voice on the scene, he is widely recognized as an adept performer, accomplished composer, and inspired educator. Smith’s latest release, In Common III, has been described as “boundary pushing”, and features some of the most important and talked about musicians in the world - Matt Stevens, Kris Davis, Dave Holland and Terri Lyne Carrington.

Smith has developed under the wings of many of the music’s greats. Walter is/has been a member of several legendary groups (recording and/or touring) including the Roy Haynes Fountain of Youth Band, Terence Blanchard Quintet, Eric Harland's “Voyager”, Bill Stewart Trio, Jason Moran’s In My Mind:Monk at Town Hall, Ambrose Akinmusire Quintet, the Christian McBride “Situation”, Marquis Hill “New Gospel Revisited”, Gerald Clayton Quintet, Christian Scott group and the Sean Jones Quintet to name a few.\

Smith has performed all over the world participating in virtually every international festival as well as famed venues such as Carnegie Hall, the Village Vanguard, and the Kennedy Center. In addition, he has shared the stage and/or appeared on recordings with many important artists including Mulgrew Miller, Billy Childs, Joe Lovano, Herbie Hancock, Maria Schneider, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Ralph Peterson, and a host of others. To date, Walter has appeared on over 100 recordings that are released worldwide.

Originally from Houston, TX, Smith now resides in Boston, MA and is Chair of Woodwinds at Berklee College of Music helping to prepare the next generation of young artists.


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Album Review

Jon Gordon: 7th Ave South

Read "7th Ave South" reviewed by Pierre Giroux


Jon Gordon, an alto and soprano saxophonist, steps into the limelight with his latest release 7th Ave South, a melodic memoir of a transformative place for jazz history in the early 1980s. This journey is a testament to the fascination of discovery and the allure of artistic camaraderie four decades later. In this ten-track outing of primarily original compositions (with two exceptions), Gordon, a music professor at the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada, is accompanied by fellow faculty members or ...

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Radio & Podcasts

Favorite Music for 2023, Part 1

Read "Favorite Music for 2023, Part 1" reviewed by Michael Ambrosino


It was another banner year full of extraordinary music. Check out the first of two shows dedicated to summarizing the excellence created by such a variety of brilliant musicians including ARTEMIS, Ben Wendel, Billy Childs, Bobby Sanabria, Darcy James Argue, Lakecia Benjamin, Sammy Figueroa, Walter Smith III and more! ...

1
Album Review

Anthony Branker & Imagine: What Place Can Be for Us? - A Suite in Ten Movements

Read "What Place Can Be for Us? - A Suite in Ten Movements" reviewed by Angelo Leonardi


L'avventuroso post-bop del compositore Anthony Branker, ben espresso dall'album Beauty Within del quintetto Imagine, trova nuovi e più articolati sviluppi in questo What Place Can Be for Us?. Il gruppo conferma il chitarrista Pete McCann e la coppia Fabian Almazan e Linda May Han Oh ampliandosi fino a un medio organico con alcuni dei massimi giovani strumentisti di New York: il trombettista Philip Dizack, i sassofonisti Walter Smith III e Remy Le Boeuf, il batterista Donald Edwards e la vocalist ...

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Liner Notes

Josh Nelson: LA Stories: Live at Sam First

Read "Josh Nelson: LA Stories: Live at Sam First" reviewed by Robert Petersen


Josh Nelson's LA Stories: Live at Sam First was recorded in February 2022 at Sam First, which has quickly become the heartbeat of L.A.'s jazz community. With this album, Nelson continues a love letter to Los Angeles he began with his 2017 release, The Sky Remains, which was part of his Discovery Project multimedia series. In a city where history is too often forgotten, Nelson puts it center stage. In “Tiburcio," Nelson conjures the life of the 19th ...

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Album Review

Walter Smith III: Return To Casual

Read "Return To Casual" reviewed by Dave Linn


Walter Smith III released his debut album, Casually Introducing (Fresh Sound New Talent, 2006), to enthusiastic reviews. On it, he covered Sam Rivers, Charles Mingus and Ornette Coleman and wrote the other six tracks, showcasing a mature and varied sense of composition. His playing and arrangements showed him to be a new, young (he was 26 years old) artist on the rise. Over the ensuing years, he released eight other albums, mainly for European labels. These recordings (including one live ...

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Album Review

Kendrick Scott: Corridors

Read "Corridors" reviewed by Chris May


Some of the press releases coming out of Blue Note's Los Angeles HQ since the pandemic have been ripe for inclusion in British satirical magazine Private Eye's Desperate Marketing column. In this, the Eye prints particularly egregious, or just plain laughable, attempts by publicists to hook-up what they are selling with headline news events, or to make eye-wateringly hyperbolic claims, or to manufacture an intellectual or cultural context for an artefact where none such exists. True, one ...

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Album Review

Kendrick Scott: Corridors

Read "Corridors" reviewed by Mike Jurkovic


Drummer Kendrick Scott's A Wall Becomes A Bridge (Blue Note, 2019) was everything to everybody and then some. Optimistic yet well aware of the roiling contradictions beneath it all, the formidable Corridors, its revivalist tenor intact, carries on that spirit of interplay and common alliance. Breaking from the start with the loping, street-smart, stride of “What Day Is It?" Scott with Corridors take a sure journey, featuring conversant saxophonist Walter Smith III and the equally versed bassist Reuben ...

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For Sale

10 New Vinyl Releases Available Now For Ordering – Lee Konitz, Rez Abbasi, Tori Freestone, Gareth Lockrane, Walter Smith III + More

10 New Vinyl Releases Available Now For Ordering – Lee Konitz, Rez Abbasi, Tori Freestone, Gareth Lockrane, Walter Smith III + More

Source: Emma Perry Publicity

Announcing 10 new limited edition vinyl albums: Whirlwind is delighted to dig into their back catalog and make available for the first time a limited edition printing of First Meeting: Live in London Volume 1, by Lee Konitz, Dan Tepfer, Michael Janisch and Jeff Williams. One of the label's all-time most popular releases, this new double LP with gatefold artwork features the entire album recorded live in London across 4 sides of music on 180 gram, Purple Vinyl. This is ...

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Education

Walter Smith III Joins Berklee As Chair Of The Woodwind Department

Walter Smith III Joins Berklee As Chair Of The Woodwind Department

Source: Margot Edwards

Berklee has named saxophonist Walter Smith III as chair of the Woodwind Department. Smith, a Berklee alumnus who recently released his fifth album as a leader, is widely recognized as an accomplished performer and composer, and an inspired educator. Smith takes up the position on May 1. “Bill Pierce has left a strong legacy of excellence and achievement which we will continue to build on, looking towards the future with an emphasis on creating more opportunities for the students in ...

Recording

Matt Slocum, Black Elk's Dream Available April 1, 2014 On Chandra Records Featuring Walter Smith III, Dayna Stephens, Gerald Clayton And Massimo Biolcati

Matt Slocum, Black Elk's Dream Available April 1, 2014 On Chandra Records Featuring Walter Smith III, Dayna Stephens, Gerald Clayton And Massimo Biolcati

Source: Jason Byrne, Red Cat Publicity

US Tour April 3-10, NYC record release performance: April 24 at The Kitano Black Elk's Dream, drummer/composer Matt Slocum's most adventurous and visceral recording to date, features eleven new original works as well as Pat Metheny's “Is This America?". Inspired by the visionary Native American leader Black Elk and the book Black Elk Speaks, Slocum composed and arranged the project for an innovative cast of longtime friends and creative associates including saxophonists Walter Smith III & Dayna Stephens, pianist Gerald ...

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Interview

Walter Smith III: Redefining a New Era in Jazz

Walter Smith III: Redefining a New Era in Jazz

Source: Jazz In Perspective

The rich airy transparent sound is what identifies rising modern tenor saxophonist Walter Smith III. His music explores the many different avenues in jazz and introduces a new melodic perspective. When he plays, his creativity is made apparent through his ability to incorporate new musical ideas and undercover a unique relationship between harmonic and rhythmic composition. The development of his ideas can only be described as a journey that never ceases to lose momentum. Growing up, Walter Smith III started ...

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Recording

Walter Smith III - Iii (Criss Cross, 2010)

Walter Smith III - Iii (Criss Cross, 2010)

Source: Music and More by Tim Niland

Walter Smith III is a rock solid tenor saxophonist with a nice modern-mainstream conception of the music, making him a fine fit for the Dutch label Criss-Cross and their hard bop centered aesthetic. He is supported on this album by a nice cross section of hard-hitting talent: Jason Moran on piano, Joe Sanders on bass and Eric Harland on drums. Trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire sits on on several tunes as well. “Working Title" and “Highschoolish" come out swinging with the band ...

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Recording

Review of Walter Smith III "Live in Paris" the Magic of Chemistry

Review of Walter Smith III "Live in Paris" the Magic of Chemistry

Source: Notes on Jazz by Ralph A. Miriello

The soon to be thirty, Walter Smith III is a maturing voice on tenor saxophone who seems to be at his best when in the accompaniment of a fine trumpet player. He has front lined with some notables including the prolific Terrence Blanchard, as well as the up and coming Christian Scott, and the fiery Sean Jones all with laudable results, but it is with the prodigious Ambrose Akinmusire where he seems to have found a true kindred spirit.

Primary Instrument

Saxophone, tenor

Location

Boston

Chris Gale
saxophone, tenor
Mervin Toussaint
saxophone, alto
Muhammad Dawjee
saxophone
Jerry Tabor
guitar
The Retrospective Quintet
band / ensemble / orchestra
Alex Madeline
saxophone
Kasper Rietkerk
saxophone, alto
Victor Valdebenito
saxophone, tenor

Photos

Music

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

7th Ave South

ArtistShare
2024

buy

What Place Can Be for...

Origin Records
2023

buy

Corridors

Blue Note Records
2023

buy

Return To Casual

Blue Note Records
2023

buy

LA Stories: Live at...

Sam First Records
2023

buy

New Gospel Revisited

Edition Records
2022

buy

Witness

From: 7th Ave South
By Walter Smith III

The Door of No Return

From: What Place Can Be for Us? - A...
By Walter Smith III

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