Walter Smith III
From a young 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?”
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.
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 recordings with many jazz notables including Terence Blanchard, Roy Haynes, Christian McBride, Eric Reed, Mulgrew Miller, Joe Sample, Bob Hurst, Myron Walden, Walter Beasley, Lewis Nash, Terri Lynne-Carrington, and a host of others. To date, Walter has appeared on over 75 recordings that are released worldwide.
Walter's debut recording as a leader was released in March of 2006 on the Fresh Sound New Talent label and features many of the brightest young jazz talents. His sophmore release, titled "Live in France", was released in October of 2009 to critical acclaim. His most recent album, “III”, was released in September of 2010 and was the #3 best seller on itunes in the U.S. for it’s first week. It features Ambrose Akinmusire, Jason Moran, Joe Sanders, and Eric Harland. (for reviews and info visit www.waltersmith3.com)
Over the past few years, besides leading a quintet, Walter is/has been a member of several amazing groups (recording and touring) including the Terence Blanchard group, Eric Harland's quintet, Ambrose Akinmusire's band, Christian Scott's group, the Sean Jones sextet, Jason Moran’s Big Bandwagon (In My Mind:Monk at Town Hall), and the Christian McBride situation band.