Walter Smith III
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, Destiny’s Child and Lauryn Hill.
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, Darren Barrett, Herbie Hancock, Eric Reed, Mulgrew Miller, Joe Sample, Bob Hurst, Donald Harrison, Wayne Shorter, Joe Lovano, Bill Pierce, Myron Walden, Walter Beasley, Lewis Nash, Terri Lynne-Carrington, and a host of others. To date, Walter has appeared on over 40 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 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)
Walter is currently touring with the Sean Jones Sextet, and Christian Scott, both of which have new releases coming soon. In addition to these groups, Walter tours with Jason Moran’s Big Bandwagon, Christian McBride situation, as well as his own quintet.