Born: February 7 Primary Instrument: Piano
Born in Brooklyn, New York,
Although recordings of his unique voice and arrangement style have just begun to surface with the 2002 release of his first album, Perfect Love, Walter Clark has been on the music scene, performing for audiences around the world for over 30 years. He has become a fixture at such upscale hotels as The Ritz Carlton and is currently performing at the St. Regis hotel in Osaka Japan. With a repertoire of over 500 songs spanning multiple genres and decades he has been able to excite and satisfy listeners of varied backgrounds and maintain a career exclusively as a full-time performing artist since 1980.
Unique and non- traditional in his approach to harmony and arrangement Clark also manages to convey an air of spirituality and humility in his music which can be quite appealing.
Sometimes called the singer with the bedroom voice, he covers music that has a positive message timelessness and staying power.
Through a wide variety of musical genres and original arrangements Walter imbues every performance with a jazz ambiance delivering relaxing renditions of ballads and love songs.
My new CD Best Thing to Come, has an emphasis on love songs, more songs about relationships and personal growth. Of course there are some of my original songs, as well as remakes of older recordings. Above all, my preference is to make the emotional quality of music more important than technical aspects. I do, however, my best to faithfully serve the original writers of the songs.
His new CD, Best Thing to Come, which has been three years in the making, was released early in August of 2011. Blending elements of lounge, new age, ethnic, jazz, rock, pop and gospel music. Featuring new songs and new arrangements of earlier songs. Intimate and laid back, smooth vocals with thoughtful, uplifting lyrics. No pitch shifted vocals. 93% pure analog. 100% Love!
Whatever the genre, my goal is to present music which is healing and uplifting.
Born in Brooklyn New York, he studied classical music for 10 years in Philadelphia, but took a U turn in his studies in the mid- sixties and decided to pursue more popular music, learning by ear some of his favorites by such greats as Ramsey Lewis, The Beatles, McCoy Tyner and Quincy Jones. He dabbled in various R&B groups in Philadelphia but had all but given up on a musical career until a fateful meeting with John Lennon in the early 70's.
Lennon urged him not to give up on his music, but Philadelphia had little to offer in the way of full time work, and after leaving the city and relocating to the Washington D.C area he decided, immediately upon the death of Lennon to quit his day job, putting all his energy into pursuing a career in music.
Detailed Biographical Information:
He attended Temple University in Philadelphia, where he formed The Last Musicians, an avante-garde group of poets, actors, and musicians who produced films, soundtracks, concerts, and appeared in radio programs for the university for two years. Walter found Philadelphia a difficult place to find steady work, especially since most of the music which he was writing at the time was what would probably be categorized today as “New Age Music.”
He had all but given up on a musical career until a fateful meeting with John Lennon and Yoko Ono in the early 70's at the Drake Hotel in Philadelphia. After talking, drinks, and an impromptu jam session in the lounge John fervently urged him, “Don't give up on your music, man.” But it was a long road back, and he spent most of the 70's surviving by working various jobs: truck driver, taxi driver, construction worker, armed guard, and occasionally finding work on weekends with the local R&B bands.
Walter eventually relocated to the Washington, D.C. area in 1979, and decided after the death of Lennon to put all of his energies into becoming a full time musician. “From the moment I made that decision, everything changed. Before that, I had been content to work a day job and gig at night, but now Lennon's words came back to haunt me. I realized that over 7 years had passed since the meeting and I still had not made a firm and complete commitment to my art, and had made no progress. It was time to make a choice. It was very scary to just up and quit my job, but little by little, positive things started happening to me.”
During the early 1980's he performed as a lead vocalist, backup vocalist, and multi-keyboard player in a variety of Top 40, Rock, Soul, Reggae, and Jazz groups. In 1983 a talent scout saw him performing in a group, and invited him to become the regular entertainer at former Washington Redskins' quarterback Joe Theismann's Restaurant in Bailey's Crossroads Virginia. There he began his solo career and worked for two years, building up his repertoire, fans, and his confidence as an artist.
He then moved on to the Washington, D.C. hotel circuit, first with a full time position entertaining at the Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza, a 5 Star hotel in Rockville, Maryland, and then at the Olde Towne Holiday Inn, in Alexandria, Virginia, and the Ramada Hotel in Oxon Hill Maryland, where he entertained for a period of three years. On October 3, 1986 he appeared at the Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D.C. in a noontime concert entitled “Portraits in Jazz” sponsored by the National Portrait Gallery of Washington.
In 1989 a friend submitted one of Walter's tapes to Quincy Jones. Although Quincy was reportedly very excited about his fresh and original sound he was too busy with other projects to get involved with Walter, but sent the word back that he should get out of the hotel circuit, and do some traveling, preferably internationally in order to expand his horizons. “ I wasn't expecting to hear anything from Quincy. The fact that one of my idols had actually took the time to listen to my demo, that he liked it and had even offered some advice was a stupendous event to me. I immediately decided to make some international connections and see what would come of it.” And in November 1989, Walter decided to do just that and to try his luck on the road. After several trips to the Far East he settled in Japan.
My interest in Japan started at a young age. In my pre-teens I studied judo from a Japanese sensei in Philadelphia. Then later in college I continued judo and also took up an interest in Japanese cooking and adopted their macrobiotic diet. So when the gig in Japan came up, I jumped at the chance to see this country. The Japanese audiences' level of sophistication, respect and knowledge of jazz here was a big surprise to me. The people have been very kind and supportive. Its peaceful, clean, safe and quiet here, and I love the food. Since 1992 it has been his base of operations, and between international engagements, he has worked there in Tokyo, Kobe, Osaka, and Fukuoka in various clubs, restaurants, and 4 star hotel's numerous dinner shows, concerts and special events . He frequently performs nightly at THE BAR in Osaka's Ritz Carlton Hotel.
The warm and relaxing quality of his vocal intonation has enabled him to work in a variety of fields, including that of a narrator for Universal Studios, Japan, and Fujitec International. There was also a national television appearance by Mr. Clark on the popular “Ninki Mono” celebrity TV program in Japan. From 2000-2001 Clark also appeared in a TV commercial for Genova jewelry in Japan's Kobe/Osaka area. In the year 2001, in spite of a rigorous performing schedule, he produced and released two CD's which featured live and multitrack recordings. In February 2002 Clark appeared as an actor several times on NHK's TV series “Sono toki rekishi ga ugoita,” roughly translated as “This was a turning point in history.” It was also a turning point for Walter. After that TV project, Clark began to spend more time at home. The focus for the remainder of the year was on research and development of new songs, new techniques of recording, and personal growth. The 2002 year end release of Perfect Love was the product of the years efforts and rewards. It was also the first CD to feature Original songs, and the first CD to be marketed commercially.
This biography was provided by the artist or their representative.
In 2006 he released a solo CD entitled Many Splendid Things, a jazz fusion collection of uniquely arranged standards. During regular performance I play many styles of music but my aim in producing this CD is to showcase a few of my favorite standard tunes for the enjoyment of the more adult listeners. Frequently performing nightly at the Ritz Carlton, and St. Regis hotel in Osaka Japan, Walter also teaches, and occasionally lectures on human rights and works with juveniles in the Japanese school system.
Walter Clark first began his musical study in Philadelphia at the age of 5. Long before I was old enough to go to school, my earliest influence was Nat King Cole. I'll never forget the sound of his music, and the warm and special experience of watchingThe Nat King Cole Show on T.V.
What was your aim in producing this new CD?
After the success of the last CD, Perfect Love, I wanted to do an all original CD, but there was a huge demand for me to first do an album of standards tunes for the more adult listeners. My aim in producing Many Splendid Things, is to showcase a few of my favorite standard tunes, and give fans more songs, better quality recording, and a great performance. And so far, the album has been very well received in Japan. A lot of folk, after they bought it and listened to it, have come up to congratulate me and praise the album.
What musical instruments were used on this album and how was it recorded?
The basic core is piano bass and vocals, all recorded live and in real time. But there's plenty of flute, sax and guitar as well as some light string orchestration. And Andre Black came over and laid down a couple of smooth trumpet solos.
Many Splendid Things, is a jazzy collection of uniquely arranged standards. “During regular performance I play many styles of music but my aim in producing this CD is to showcase a few of my favorite standard tunes for the enjoyment of the more adult listeners. Performing live is definitely my forte, so arranging a CD with so many varied instruments was a challenge, but quite a pleasure. To be perfectly honest with you, I am probably not what one would call a pure jazz player. I'm a lounge player who happens to play a lot of jazz...as well as many other styles. Many Splendid Things is an album of standards, and it was something that my fans were craving at this point in time.
Have you always been solo performer?
Not at all. Its just something I evolved into. Partly the result of me wanting to do things my way. Once I get an idea about how something should be done I don't like to compromise. I just take it for granted that others will either help me do it or leave me alone to do it myself.
Who were some of your other musical influences?
Miles, Monk and the classics as I was growing up. I liked to listen to Motown, The Beatles and pop music. One day I heard Ramsey Lewis' version of 'The IN Crowd,' and decided I wanted to learn to play like that, so I started teaching myself jazz. I met Edgar Brown, who was a DJ at Temple University's jazz radio station. He gave me an album. It was John Coltrane's Favorite Things. Listening to what Coltrane and the piano player were doing on the title cut seemed to open the door to a whole new world for me. Of course the piano player turned out to be McCoy Tyner. In the early 70's when I had all but given up on a musical career John Lennon encouraged me not to quit. He was a big inspiration to me, and even more so after he died. Quincy Jones. was a huge influence. He heard one of my demo tapes and encouraged me to do some international traveling, in order to expand my horizons. And that's how I came to live in Japan.
And what's that like?
My interest in Japan started at a young age. In my pre-teens I studied judo from a Japanese sensei in Philadelphia. Then later in college I took up an interest in Japanese cooking. So when the gig in Japan came up, I jumped at the chance to see the country. The Japanese audiences' level of sophistication, respect and knowledge of jazz here was a big surprise to me. Its peaceful, clean, safe and quiet here, and I love the food.
What is your goal as an entertainer?
Constant improvement. To create music that is healing, in whatever form possible.There's a certain joy that comes when you hit a tune and see the faces of your audience light up with recognition and pleasure. When I give folks that feeling every night, I know I'm doing my job right.
Many Splendid Things, released in Japan late October 2006 went into a second pressing and was re- released on April 17, 2008. The last copy in America sold out on September 1, 2011. A third pressing of a remastered version of the CD is scheduled in September 2011. Distribution in America and international markets is currently being handled by CD Baby Currently, only the CD will be available in the remastered form. An MP3 version of the remastered album has now been released to replace the old version.
I'm very grateful to AAJ for giving me the chance to make my music available to the American and international public once again. Discovering them was another 'happy accident' that occurs in life when you keep your eyes open. A friend of mine forwarded me an article by Kenny Drew Jr. which really struck a chord with me. I noticed AAJ somewhere in the text, did a search and found this wonderful website...based in Philly no less! Feels like coming home again! These CD releases are first phase of my intention to extend my offerings to the rest of the world.
Walter Clark's Many Splendid Things CD is truly what the title suggests. Its well thought out, warm and smooth without being boring. His chord voicing and arrangements truly compliment his silky smooth voice. Listen to this CD, you wont be disappointed!
Awards:1988 US Dept. of Commerce - Bureau of the Census Black History Month Celebration Jazz Program
After this, you may just be the man. Still listening to your CD and it ALWAYS sounds just as good as it did when I listened the first time.....ps....and smile.... even WITHOUT the wine..... ha ha ha
have a good day.... IZ
More customer reviews via email etc, on the first week of release:
It was one hell of a coincidence to me that after I wrote to you yesterday, there was a wonderful surprise awaiting me in my mailbox. I don't need to tell you it was Best Thing To Come, to which I am listening at this very moment. This thing is DYNAMITE! First of all Destiny is so beautiful and well executed it almost made me want to cry. What kind of piano was that? It must've been a full fledged genuine Bosendorfer (or something like that), right? I was just about to say the artwork, especially the cover, is enough to make the cd a success right there. And now I see it was done by June. She's absolutely phenomenal! What magnificent talent! ...I'm going to keep on listening to the new cd and say more about the songs after I finish. But so far, I hear a magnificent eclectic approach and I hear some pieces (such as tracks 11 and 12, Honesty and Desperado) that must've come truly from your heart,
Hi Walter, How are you? I received the two books and your CD on Monday morning. Thank you very much for sending them. I didn't have much time yesterday to listen to all of the songs on the CD but what I was able to listen to sounded fantastic. Sonically its nice and fat and very well mixed. Your voice sounds great. Its nice and clear and very well proportioned in the mix. Also all of your arrangements are spectacular. Thank you very much for putting my name in the linear notes. Also your sister is very talented as well. Her artwork on the front cover is great. I have a few questions to ask you concerning various sounds you used on certain tunes so after I listen to all of the songs I'll give you a call and bombard you with my questions if you don't mind. Thanks again for everything. Talk to you soon. Later, Greg
Hi Walter, I'll call you in a few. Everything was fantastic with the CD. I loved the arrangements, your voice, and the overall sound quality. Please keep on mixing and mastering yourself. Thanks again, Greg
Mike wrote: Silky Smooth Baby!!!
Hey Doll, Just a few quick words. I received the CD and am so very proud of you.This something that I always knew you were capable. I have felt every since I saw you,that your soul had a certain amount of peace.I know it's because you let God into your life.Ain't it grand.Stay health,cherish peace of mind,and stay with the Lord. Love you Dolonda
Hi Walter, Neal Yermish commented on your Wall post. Neal wrote: Walt, I loved the CD and I'm waiting for Amazon. I'm still old school and like to hold the disk (and copy it onto all my pc's & ipods)
More reviews: Well, my brother, Walt, I'm still listening to that true masterpiece that is your new CD. Speaking of Amazing, the bass work on #3, Amazing Grace, was certainly amazing. What is that called, sampling an acoustic double bass or what? A great and unique intro and interpretation, so much so that I had begun to doubt whether it would be the same song usually associated with that title. #4, Lovely Day. Very spry and upbeat. A feel good song to be sure. Simply and refreshingly beautiful! Again, truly hellified bass work too! Sounds like you've got ten live, individual, in-the-flesh musicians with you on that song, and you do a superb job of harmonizing with yourself on the vocals. You even said Hit it, at the very end of one of the last tags, as though you were talking to other musicians present there with you. Splendid!
More later as I continue listening. Right now listening to the very touching and very romantic #5, She.
heartdebonyPublished 10-29-2011 I love the quality of sound on this album. This album is enjoyable on a long drive. Smooth jazz with a good balance of instrumental and vocal sounds and a variety of musical rhythms and styling: classical treatments, some new wave ambient, cool jazz fusion. Many of the numbers are standard love ballads delivered with strong tempo yet understated percussion. Tracks transition smoothly one to the next often through instrumental interludes. The first track, Destiny, is one such introduction to the lovely Imagine. Walter dares to lay on vocal harmony for that familiar melody and pulls it off with surprising success. Walter wraps Amazing Grace as a love song, introducing with classical strings, base violin, flute, and a sound like water flowing, melding into a waltz tempo before he takes up the hymn in velvet voice. Maybe I enjoy Walter's rendition of Lovely Day because it sounds like the version I remember, with a crisper emphasis on the beat, which improves that happy tune. These tracks have interesting instrumentation while preserving the familiar flavors of famous tunes. Walter knows it's not all about the voice. His instrumental Gypsies is a gift of strings and guitar, with innovation in tempo and thoughtful plays on chords. The sax solo in Perfect Love, its use as an introduction to My One and Only Love, add distinction to this collection of arrangements. Walter sings like he means every word, and he's singing to the listener, not about someone else. His quietly assured renditions make this album a considerate companion.
Nick NascatiPublished 08-19-2011 The CD arrived just in time for a late afternoon drive to the NJ Shore. It was the perfect accompaniment to a nice afternoon. Walter's interpretation of familiar songs, included two favorites of mine, My One and Only Love and Desperado, both were very well done. His Amazing Grace was soulful and uplifting. All in all an enjoyable listening experience.
author: heart d'ebony Release: Many Splendid Things Sweet Lorraine bops right along with a crisp up beat and a smooth croon. It’s nice to hear the love enunciated as Nat King Cole would approve. Opening chords of The Very Thought Of You deepen the mood with a dose of warm horn. Strong vocal delivery adds conviction and Walter provides just enough of a waver to convey uncertainty, or is it despair? I like that this one ends on a positive note. Whenever I hear those strains that remind me of Walter Clark's Titanic theme, I remember. His interpretation of the popular hit has become the definitive sound of it for me. This time I feel steadied while he leads me in a Tennessee Waltz to a moody minor key and a decidedly Western gait. “Stardust” softens the romance with a virtual walk in the moonlight, romantic guitar, and violins. Walter's ardent crescendo is never over the top, just right. Fly Me to the Moon” swings on a dance beat that maintains its energy through an extended conclusion. There are plenty of dance-able numbers on this album: one imagines an easygoing crowd of cool customers, hand dancing the night away and taking care of business. Walter makes rain and thunder sound comforting in his lovely rendition of We're All Alone. Naturalistic effects fit right in with What a Wonderful World. Subtle strings cushion transition to a live horn solo that adds body just where we like it. One of the most enjoyable aspects of this collection is the crispness of tempo with which Walter accompanies several beautiful melodies. Hearing these favorites delivered straightforwardly is a welcome relief. Walter Clark takes us back to an era of suave mellow manners and philosophical rationality where we appreciate our splendid existence in a manageable world.
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iTunes Customer Reviews 5 stars! Enjoy
This is a wonderful cover album. The focus of the originals are maintained, yet expanded with Walter's approach. Sweet Loraine is my favorite. Tennessee waltz is a big surprise.
Buy it. You will like it. As will your significant other. Snuggle up and enjoy.
Many Splendid Things
Personnel: Walter Clark: Piano, synths, vocals.
Andre Black: Trumpet
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