Born: September 24, 1980 Primary Instrument: Sax, tenor
Walter Smith III began playing the saxophone at the age of 7 in his hometown of Houston, TX. At Houston’s High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, in 1998, Smith received a Clifford Brown/ Stan Getz Fellowship from IAJE and NFAA; the NFAA Young Talent Award; a full tuition scholarship to attend Berklee College of Music; and a United States Presidential Scholar in the Arts medal. Walter Graduated from Berklee in 2003 with a degree in Music Education.
While in Boston, Walter was selected by the Boston Jazz Society to receive its annual award whose past winners have included Branford Marsalis and Donald Harrison. In July of 2002, Walter walked away from the Montreaux Jazz Festival in Switzerland with third place in the 1st annual International Saxophone Competition, as well as winning the Audience's Favorite Award. In 2003, Walter moved to New York and began studying at Manhattan School of Music on a full tuition scholarship to receive a master’s in jazz performance. While in New York, Smith kept himself busy touring and performing with such artists as Roy Haynes and Ralph Peterson, as well as Bilal and Destiny’s Child. Smith recently performed in a Tsunami benefit concert with R&B vocalist Lauryn Hill in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Walter has performed all over the world participating in numerous national and international festivals as well as famed stages in the U.S. such as Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center. Smith has shared the stage and/or appeared on recording with many jazz notables including Roy Hargrove, Sean Jones, Terence Blanchard, Darren Barrett, Eric Reed, Makoto Ozone, Mulgrew Miller, Jason Moran, Joe Sample, Rueben Rogers, Bob Hurst, Donald Harrison, Antonio Hart, Joe Lovano, Bill Pierce, Myron Walden, Walter Beasley, Lewis Nash, Eric Harland, Ralph Peterson, Terri Lynne-Carrington, and a host of others.
Walter's debut recording as a leader was released in March of 2006 on the Fresh Sound New Talent label and features many of his original compositions. The band is comprised of some of the best young musicians on the scene today including Aaron Parks, Robert Glasper, Lionel Loueke, Lage Lund, Gretchen Parlato, Rueben Rogers, Vicente Archer, Kendrick Scott, Eric Harland, and Matt Kilmer. (for reviews, please visit www.waltersmith3. com)
In 2005, Walter began a two-year program with the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz in Los Angeles (USC) and has already completed tours of both Vietnam and India with Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter.
In 2007 Walter is an integral part of two Grammy nominated recordings including Christian Scott’s “Rewind That” that was nominated for Best Contemporary Jazz Album and Michael Buble’s “Caught in the Act” which was nominated in the Traditional/Pop category. All to be released before the summer of 2007, Walter is featured on upcoming new releases by trumpeters Christian Scott (Concord Records) and Sean Jones (Mack Avenue Records), Drummer Kendrick Scott (World Culture Music), as well as several other recordings to be released in 2007 and 2008.
Casually Introducing Walter Smith III, 5/2006, Fresh Sound New Talent
Untitled, Terri-Lynne Carrington, 8/2007, Independent
Christian Scott, Christian Scott, 6/2007, Concord Records
Kaliedoscope, Sean Jones, 6/2007, Mack Avenue
The Source, Kendrick Scott, 2007, World Culture Music
Jazz Drums, Peter Magadini, 2006, Hal Leonard
Let’s Go To Prison Soundtrack, 2006, Bulletproof Records/Universal
Rewind That, Christian Scott, 2006, Concord Records
The Sea, Hironobu Saito, 2006, Fresh Sound New Talent
Caught In The Act, Michael Buble’, 2006, Warner Bros.
I Colori Del Mare, Daniela Schachter, 2006, Splasch Records
One After Another, Mamiko Wantanabe, 2006, (Japanese release only)
A Love For Sale, Bilal, 2005, Universal (unreleased)
Legends and Lions:Blues, Various Artists, 2005, Mack Avenue
Gemini, Sean Jones, 2005, Mack Avenue
The Attack of Wren, Darren Barrett, 2005, Nagel Heyer
On My Way Back Home, Daisuke Abe, 2005, Nagel Heyer
Welcome To New Life, Kendrick Oliver New Life Orchestra, 2004, Sphere Entertainment
The Remaining 2%, Hironobu Saito, 2004, Fresh Sound New Talent
Moving, Tony Grey, 2004, Tony Grey Records
Mysterious Voyages, Various Artists, 2004, ESC Records
Christian Scott, Christian Scott, 2003, Special Entertainment
A Glimpse of Bliss, Edward Perez, 2003, Edward Perez Records
One in Ten, Marco Panascia, 2003, Independent
Happy Talk, Christine Fawson, 2002, Faws Inc.
The Definitive Standard, Jason Goldman, 2002, JMG Jazz
Quintet, Daniela Schachter, 2002, Splasch Records
Previous Misconceptions, Emmanuel Vaughn-Lee, 2001, Eman Jazz
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Los Angeles, CA
Willing to teach:
Advanced students only.
Education: Walter Smith III earned a bachelor's degree in music education from Berklee College of Music in Boston, Ma. in 2002 and has full certification in Massachusetts to teach grades K-12. He also holds a master's in jazz performance from the Manhattan School of Music which he received in 2005, as well as a Graduate Certificate from the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz and the University of Southern California (as of 5/07). He has studied with Bill Pierce, George Garzone, David Baker, Dave Liebman, Hal Crook, Jimmy Heath, Dick Oatts, Ralph Moore, Ron Carter, Benny Golson and others. Experience: Walter has been teaching private lessons to both individuals and groups since 1999 having students that were both professional and beginners, of all ages, on a variety of different instruments. Walter has taught both full and part time in numerous summer music programs (most recently the Stanford Jazz Workshop) in the areas of theory and improvisation, as well as appearing as a guest artist on several occasions with various school music programs. Walter has also taught masterclasses around the world on all levels from intermediate to college in a wide range of settings including big bands, combos, saxophone, and general jazz audiences. Besides leading some clinics himself, Walter has taught in demonstration clinics alongside many musicians, some of which include Roy Haynes, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, and Nnena Freelon. The Thelonious Monk Institute also has weekly educational visits to various schools around the Los Angeles area on a regular basis where they teach both privately and as a group.