Walter Smith III Clinic
From a young age, Walter Smith III began taking music very seriously. “My first gig was playing at a McDonaldʼs 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?”
Smith began playing the saxophone at the age of seven in his hometown of Houston, Texas. While at Houston’s High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, he 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. He graduated from Berklee in 2003 with a degree in music education.
Smith 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. He has shared the stage and appeared on recordings with many jazz notables including Terence Blanchard, Roy Haynes, Christian McBride, Eric Reed, Mulgrew Miller, Joe Lovano, Bob Hurst, Myron Walden, Walter Beasley, Lewis Nash, Terri Lyne Carrington, and a host of others. To date, Smith has appeared on over 75 recordings that were released worldwide.
His debut recording as a leader was released in March 2006 on the Fresh Sound New Talent label and features many of the brightest young jazz talents. His sophomore release, titled Live in France, was released in October 2009 to critical acclaim. His most recent album, III, was released in September 2010 and was a top 10 best seller on iTunes. Smith is currently signed to Concord Records and is working on a new project.
Over the past few years, besides leading a quintet, Smith has been a member of several recording and touring groups, including the Terence Blanchard Quintet, Eric Harland's Voyager Band, Ambrose Akinmusire's Quintet, Christian Scott's group, the Sean Jones sextet, Jason Moran’s Big Bandwagon, and the Christian McBride Situation band.