Born in New York City, Waldron's jazz work was chiefly in
the hard bop, post-bop and free jazz genres. He is known
for his distinctive chord voicings and adaptable style, which
was originally inspired by the playing of Thelonious Monk.
After obtaining a B.A. in music from Queen's College, New
York, he worked in New York City in the early 1950s with Ike
Quebec, "Big" Nick Nicholas, and rhythm and blues groups.
He worked frequently with Charles Mingus from 1954 to
1956 and was Billie Holiday's regular accompanist from
1957 until her death in 1959. He also supervised recording
sessions for Prestige Records, for which he provided
arrangements and compositions (including the jazz standard