JD Walter, Jazz Vocalist
    
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Booking

Reggie Marshall
marsjazz.com
Reggie@marsjazz.com

(In Russia)
Yana Kobzova:
Vivayana@mail.ru
+7-921-888-1663

(In Greece)
Kanelli Scalcoyannis
kanelli_s@mac.com
+30-693-612-4118

Select Releases

One Step Away

Live at the 55 Bar

Live in Portugal

2Bass a Face and a Little Skin

More Releases >>



JD 
Jazz Vocalist, Composer, Educator

Interviews

Interview from NPR -by Marty Moss-Coane 2009
Interview from AAJ -by Victor L. Schermer 2009
Leading Jazz Singer J.D. Walter (What's On Kiev) 2008
Interview -by Dave Thomas 1997

 


 

Quotes


"He's built a reputation for going down his own idiosyncratic path, while simultaneously crafting music that's at once accessible and adventuresome, and undeniably soulful.
~John Murph -Downbeat Magazine
 
"Not Bleckmann, not Elling, not even Murphy - can rival the outre audacity of JD Walter"
Christopher Loudon~JazzTimes 

"...lithe and audacious"
Nate Chinen- New York Times

"JD Walter may be the most avant garde vocalist in jazz today... He creates meaningful shifts of emotions through extended improvisations, artfully bending elements of sound, pitch, and meaning. In addition, he uses electronic media to generate breathtaking harmonies and sonics…. Walter's innovative approach goes far beyond that of any other singer around today, yet adheres closely to the jazz idiom." -- Victor L. Schermer --All About Jazz review of "Live in Portugal"

"Walter is reshaping what jazz singing is all about. He is opening up familiar material to the most adventurous kinds of interpretation, while continuing to engage and entertain his audiences...he is an original in an art overpopulated with copycats." -- Don Heckman, LA Times --Live Jazz review from the Jazz Bakery 

"Walter's artistry was entirely apparent, from his fearless scatting to his harmonically original reworking of standards." Jazzreview.com, from a review of Jim Ridl's "Your Cheating Heart"

"Dispensing with widely known themes of Luis Armstrong, Bill Evans or Stevie Wonder, the musician offers absolutely provocative points of view on traditional jazz" Review from Kharkov Za Jazz Festival, Ukraine- Andrei Gorshkov- Inform magazine vol-3 (March 2008)

"Vocalist JD Walter displayed a talent for scat singing that rivals the best in jazz history"--- Michael Caruso, The Chestnut Hill Local (Philly, PA)

"The guy is like an instrument--a phenomenon!! "--Dave Liebman

"The really important thing is that starting from the first sound, JD captures the listeners attention and now they completely belong to him." -- Maria Panteleyeva, Poinyl Jazz Report, Nizhniy Novogorod, Russia

"I mean, he scats like nobody else. Comparisons fail me. He plays with long tones like Betty Carter, takes risks like Kurt Elling, possesses a velvety smoothness like Mel Torme, investigates wordless ululations like Milton Nascimento, croons with the confident serenity of a Nat Cole." --- Bill Donaldson, Marge Hofacre's JAZZ NEWS

"a highwater mark in Vocal Jazz.. an absolutely modern music that inspires and points the way..."- Bob Dorough- singer/songwriter, composer of ABC's Schoolhouse house Rock, and Vocalist on Miles Davis's "the sorcerer"

"The Philly vocalist with the soaring improvisational style...showcases both his Betty Carter-esque way of elasticizing a melody and his adept scat singing..." ---Nate Chinen, Downbeat critic

"He does to a song what Betty Carter did, making it uniquely his own. 'Turn Out the Stars' will convince you. Walter is a natural who has can't miss written all over him." --- Frank Rubolino, Cadence magazine

"Five stars! Five stars I tell you! 'Sirens in the C- House' is without a doubt a five star CD...From track one to track nine a stunner. " --- Don Williamson, Allaboutjazz.com

"Throwing aside conformity and convention, he uses all sorts of vocal devices to provide a new perspective." ---Dave Nathen, All Music Guide, getmusic.com

"Those in the know have already checked out J.D. Walter, the Philly vocalist with the soaring improvisational style... The arrangements are impressive, too..." ---Philadelphia City Paper

"Walter...uses his voice as just another instrument in the ensemble, much as Betty Carter or Anita O'Day did. With his smoky sound, Walter wavers tones ever so slightly, comes in when he damned well feels like it to stretch the confines of a song, growls, moans, exclaims and jabs with uncanny pitch and right-on articulation...a gem of a performance...Walter realizing in a wordless vocal way, perhaps as Milton Nascimento does, the potential of the human voice for gripping the heart...let's hope that the word gets out about J.D. Walter's exceptional CD." ---All About Jazz

"Those in the know have already checked out J.D. Walter, the Philly vocalist with the soaring improvisational style...The arrangements are impressive, too..."--- Philadelphia City Paper

"This CD is an amazing vocal workout. If you ever wondered what the legendary folk-rock singer Tim Buckley would have sounded like as a Jazz singer, here's a possible answer." ---Cadence Magazine (review of 2bass and a face)

"I wouldn't be surprised if he ultimately distinguishes himself as one of a very few vocalists whose improvisations will be transcribed and studied" Excerpt from a live review with the Jim Ridl Quintet at the Deerhead Inn 2005-09-13- By Victor L. Schermer, Jazzreview.com
 

 


 

Reviews

Jazziz Article, click for larger

JAZZIZ WINTER EDITION 2014
CONTEMPO- FEATURE ARTICLE
By Jonathan Widran
 

JD Walter has been a recording artist for almost 15 years. He's done hundreds of performances at festivals throughout Europe, the Middle East and Central America, more than 60 tours of Russia and has a crazy-long resume of club dates in his adopted hometown of NYC. Yet he still gets asked - and can't seem to recall - just how and when he got tagged as a "progressive jazz vocalist."

Fortunately, he remembers what inspired him to figure out a way to stand out. A few years after being asked by the University of North Texas to be the first student to pilot their Vocal Jazz degree program, the singer returned to the U.S. from further studies in Amsterdam with jazz singer Deborah Brown. He started making the drive up from his new home near Philadelphia to be part of the vibrant jam session scene happening in NYC.

"I had been singing standards straight since I was 13, and one day it just hit me, after singing ‘Autumn Leaves' for the 5000th time or whatever, that I just didn't want to sing it like that anymore," says the Abington Township, Pennsylvania born Walter, whose musical childhood was framed by being in church choirs from the age of six and attending the American Boychoir school in Princeton.

"At those jams, I was listening to and performing with cutting edge artists, and I knew I'd never get anywhere sounding like anyone else. But it wasn't just a matter of being unique for unique's sake. This had to develop organically. Even though I sound nothing like her, throughout my career I have been obsessed with Betty Carter, who sounded worlds apart in the years before she died from the way she sang in the 50s. I always wanted to stay open to new melodic and harmonic and rhythmic possibilities."

Walter attributes the development of his free-wheeling approach, soaring improvisational abilities and colorful vocal textures to his opportunities to perform over the years with progressive jazz cats like pianists Orrin Evans and Jean-Michel Pilc, drummer Ari Hoenig and saxophonist Dave Liebman—who recorded a duet album with Walter, Clear Day, released in 2001. Over the last decade, Walter has complemented his vocals with electronic effects and looping devices.

In line with the singer's long held belief that "being a musician is being a verb, an ever changing force," the 46 year old Walter approaches his latest album One Step Away in a very different way than he created his six previous self-produced projects. To fashion an offbeat, completely in the moment, largely arranged on the spot experience, he needed his dream band - which he found in a single package with Tarbaby, the explosive jazz trio of Evans, bassist Eric Revis, and drummer Nasheet Waits that released its debut album, The End of Fear, in 2010. Walter invited one of his favorite guitarists, Marc Ducret, to participate in the sessions at Systems 2 Recording in Brooklyn. For the first time, Walter gave the production reigns away - to Evans and Revis.

Recording with one's top choice musicians - including one (Revis) flown in from L.A. and another (Ducret) from Paris - at a famous New York studio isn't cheap. So in 2012, Walter posted a video clip of himself being interviewed by Evans, explaining why he started a Kickstarter campaign to raise money via his global fan base and social media. Walter ultimately raised $13,000 out of the $35,000 he projected for recording, housing his musicians and promoting and marketing the CD. The key phrases he used in the video, which define the goal and spirit of One Step Away, are "unexpectedness" and "get comfortable with being uncomfortable."

The guiding principle for the sessions was a warning from Walter to each of his musical cohorts: "Do not use the word accessible."

"I think sometimes that musicians who produce their own material, as I had done so many times, are too close to it and run the risk of tunnel vision," Walter says. "Having Orrin and Eric in charge gives them a vantage point that makes this a whole different affair. The spirit of their methodology is the true spirit of improvisation. We made some agreements before we started the process that they would have carte blanche over the song selection and arrangements, and they could basically do whatever they wanted to. Sometimes it's hard to capture the spontaneity of a live performance in the studio environment, so I wanted totally unpolished arrangements that happened organically in the moment.

"The fact that we didn't know what was going to happen from one moment to the next was part of the excitement and energy," he says. "Also, in the spirit of true conversational improvisation, there are no overdubs. If someone was not happy with something they did, we started the whole track from scratch."

One Step Away begins with a few tracks that might feel at home on any cool hipster vocalist's collection these days—the lively, swinging title track (featuring Evans' formidable piano harmonies) and the graceful, moody ballad "Pretending To Care." Beyond that, starting with the rumbling, rhythmically schizophrenic, oddly phrased romp through Paul Simon's "50 Ways To Leave Your Lover," it's a free for all jam rooted only in its spirited, off kilter spontaneity.

Two of the most powerful moments fulfilling Walter's envelope obliterating aesthetic are the sparse and plucky vocal/bass piece "How To Die And Where to Fly" and the quirky and dreamlike wordless vocal/guitar duet "Inside Outfluence" - both of which were essentially composed on the spot via improvisation.

On "How To Die," the producers had Walter enter the vocal booth with his lyrics memorized in a certain rhythmic pattern. Then they threw out that arrangement and Revis started playing his upright bass in a completely different groove fresh to the singer's ears. The result, a triumph of Walter's great dexterity, is all at once, weird, hypnotic and thrilling. "We did that in one take and it was unnerving to say the least," he says.

With "Inside Outfluence," Walter entered the vocal booth and "tripped" along for 15 minutes with Waits' "orchestra of percussion" and Ducret's distorted electric guitar, crafting relatively smooth and melodic vocal textures in and around their unpredictable sharp edges. The singer, also a prominent jazz educator everywhere from The Aaron Copland School of Music (Queens College) to the Prince Claus Conservatory in Holland, wasn't sure the final six minute edit of the track would fly until students coming into one of his classes took note.

"To me, the piece was interesting but pretty unsettling," says Walter. "I had it playing in the background one day when I was up front waiting for class to begin, and some of the kids heard it and asked what it was. They thought it sounded like cool soundtrack music. They weren't anywhere near the studio making the album but there again, I had a fresh perspective which shifted my point of view about the music.

"As I look back on my discography," he continues, "I see an interesting trajectory, with my first four albums of straight ahead jazz with a progressive edge, then a few with a lot of electronics and loops, and now One Step Away, which by design is completely outside those boxes. I like the idea that instead of me being a singer backed by a great band, I'm part of the band and there is a true coalescence of voices. As an artist, I believe it's important that we keep pushing ourselves and are less concerned with the fruits of our actions than taking the right and proper action at a certain moment - and that means we are playing and recording without fear. That is especially crucial for the art form in an industry where so many think that doing something different might not equal dollars."

 


 

Review of JD Walter's One Step Away by John Murph in Downbeat Magazine
Downbeat, January 2014

 


 

One Step Away
EJazzNews
One Step Away review
September 2013
By BillD


 

JD Walter is one of those jazz singers who seems to be recognized more within the jazz performance community than among the jazz listening public. That status deserves to be changed.

While attempts to describe Walter's singing style compare it to others singers', in the end, Walter is unique with a voice of his own. Musicians enjoy his free-spirited instrumental approach, singing wordlessly what he wants to express as a horn would. Walter isn't called solely a scat singer, even though scatting is one of his numerous capabilities. Adventurous musicians as diverse as Dave Liebman or Jean-Michel Pilc or Ari Hoenig appear to appreciate the way that Walter gets lost in the moment of singing with unrestrained and extemporaneous give-and-take. Indeed, a review of Walter's past recordings on Dreambox Media, DoubleTime, PACT or his own label reveals that he has consistently recorded with jazz musicians of unpredictable improvisatory skills who challenge Walter to spur-of-the-moment recorded results.

And like jazz performers who never stop growing and who surprise listeners with expanding means of expression—Liebman would be an example, as would, say, Miles Davis, Fred Hersch or Wayne Shorter—Walter treats music as a sonic exploration as varying elements of pitch and meter and dynamics contribute to the final originality of the musical results. While remaining with his apparently preferred back-up instruments of piano, bass and drums, on his most recent album, One Step Away, Walter has added the distinctive guitar voices of Marc Ducret and Marvin Sewell for additional blues-tinged shadings, micro-tonal reinforcement and improvisational atmospherics.

Walter follows his previous recipe of seasoning his own originals with total deconstruction of songs by other composers. His originals range from the rubato meditation of “Inward” backed solely by guitar to Bobby McFerrin-like musical sounds—pops, ooo's, sibilances—of “Inside Outfluence.” In both cases, Walter is absorbed within the band as another instrument contributing to the overall texture of the resulting sound. In “One Step Away,” Walter's composition contrasts the initially indeterminate meterless (but not percussionless) rhythm-section energy, particularly Eric Revis's racing bass lines, with Walter's elasticized elongation of the lyrics, until, on a dime, and with a commanding broad chord from pianist Orrin Evans, the entire group falls into a hard swing. That brings metrical resolution and dissolves the tension of the instrumental push versus the vocal pull, reminiscent of the swing of his previous recording of “If I Should Lose You” on Clear Day. After the first chorus, it becomes apparent that the free section at the repeat serves as the basis for roiling improvisation as all the group's members join in the fun. Walter's vocal foundation for “Inside Outfluence” allows him to feature the instrumentalists, particularly the guitarists and drummer Nasheet Waits, as he inserts the wordless rhythmic and atmospheric sounds. Walter's “If I Knew” attains relatively standard singability (that is, even untrained people can sing it) over the strolling bass vamp and drum pattern as he adds his own multi-layered joyous chorus to enlarge upon the lyrics describing attraction and indecision about pursuit.

And then there are the songs written by others that Walter and the Tarbaby rhythm section consider and then adapt to their own musical personalities. Like Paul Simon's “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” with its intriguing title but without much attention from this generation's singers. Walter remains true to the lyrics but reinvents the song by slowing and accelerating the words over Evans's rubato response. Then the back-up musicians start a rollicking rhythm that leads into an extended an aggressive piano solo and an improvised vocal interpretation. Michel Legrand's “I Will Wait for You” is performed at a slower and unhurried pace but with not without re-harmonization as the framework for Walter's version of the song, including his relaxed scat chorus and repeated wordless vamp between choruses.

Walter's long-time association with Evans from their days in Philadelphia comes through in the split-second responsiveness one has to the other throughout One Step Away's emphasis upon first-rate improvisation. Indeed, Walter seems to think improvisationally with one-of-a-kind and remarkable results that wouldn't be identified with any other singer. In other words, JD Walter is an original. One Step Away reinforces that status as Walter experiments with yet another approach of total immersion in the music.

 


 

One Step Away
THE NEW YORK CITY JAZZ RECORD
One Step Away review
September 2013
By Alex Henderson


 

Those familiar with jazz vocalist JD Walter know that the Philadelphia native has been putting out risk - taking CDs since the ‘90s and his adventurous spirit doesn't let up a bit on One Step Away. This session was produced by pianist Orrin Evans (another Philly jazzman) and bassist Eric Revis, who comprise two - thirds, along with drummer Nasheet Waits, of the trio Tarbaby, who back up Walter here along with guitarist Marc Ducret. The accompaniment is as free-spirited as the leader on an album that mostly falls into the postbop category but sometimes detours into the avant garde realm.

Walter emphasizes original material, writing or co-writing six of the nine selections, which range from the impressionistic "How to Die and Where to Fly" and haunting "It's Raining Today" to the eerie "Inward". Most of the songs have lyrics, but on the funky-yet- abstract "Inside Outfluence" (the album's most overtly avant garde offering), Walter offers stream-of- consciousness wordless scatting. The three selections not by Walter are Paul Simon's "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover", Todd Rundgren's "Pretending to Care" and Michel Legrand's "I Will Wait for You". Cabaret singing this is not: Walter and his colleagues turn the melodies inside out and take liberties with the lyrics as well. Anyone who claims that rock material doesn't give jazz artists enough room to improvise should hear Walter on the Rundgren and Simon songs.

Walter brings a strong Mark Murphy influence to the table, whether he is scatting or performing lyrics but one can hear Bob Dorough, Jon Hendricks and Betty Carter as well. But Walter is his own person and his willingness to take chances yields consistently absorbing results on One Step Away.

 


 

One Step Away
JD WALTER
One Step Away review
JazzTimes September 2013
By Christopher Loudon


 

Among vocal-jazz adventurers, none - not Bleckmann, not Elling, not even Murphy - can rival the outre audacity of JD Walter. As is often the case with startling originals who defy easy classification, the Pennsylvania- born Walter is far better known throughout Europe. So although he is now seven albums into a singular and amazing recording career that began with 2000's Sirens in the C-House, all but the most intrepid Stateside listeners remain unaware of his trailblazing derring-do.

For the uninitiated, One Step Away provides ideal entree into Walter's otherworldly world. Working alongside the equally phantasmagoric sonic trio Tarbaby (pianist Orrin Evans, bassist Eric Revis and drummer Nasheet Waits), Walter blends covers and originals that are decidedly not for the faint of ear.

Across six originals, including one-each written with Revis and Waits, Walter exercises his passion for electronics, looping and scat with gleeful abandon. Exercising his trademark "de-arranging" on "I Will Wait for You" and a fittingly discordant "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover," he returns to earth for a hauntingly beautiful reading of Todd Rundgren's "Pretending to Care." Extending the theme of isolation that defines the three covers, he travels from the atonal yearning of the title track to the stark, hollow "It's Raining Today" and dual introspectiveness of "Inward" and the wordless "Inside Outfluence." And, venturing to the most outer of limits, he partners with Wait to navigate the freeform musings of "How to Die and Where to Fly."

 


 

One Step Away
STEP TEMPEST
One Step Away review
July 9, 2013

 

Vocalist JD Walter is no stranger to experimentation, to taking chances in pursuit of creativity. He has recorded with saxophonist Dave Liebman, his 2006 CD "2Bass, A Face and Some Skin" found him in a session with 2 bassists and a drummer, and has performed with pianist Orrin Evans in his Luvpark band. For the past 5 years, he's been issuing CDs on his own JWALREC label, including live recordings from Portugal. "One Step Away" is his latest (ad)venture and he turned over the reins of the production to Evans and bassist Eric Revis. Their choice was to record "live" in the studio utilizing Tarbaby (Evans, Revis and drummer Nasheet Waits) and guitarist Marc Ducret (who will be featured along with saxophonist Oliver Lake in the upcoming Tarbaby Rogue Art recording "Fanon"). The result is a fascinating blend of free improvisation, handsome ballads, inspired "instant" arrangements and smart choices of cover material.

Walter, who grew up in the Philadelphia, PA area, was most certainly aware of Todd Rundgren (who rose out of the Philly area to stardom) - he picks a Rundgren tune from his "A Capella" album, the soulful ballad "Pretending To Care." The band beneath the emotion-filled voice moves ever-so-slowly with Evans playing a sweet piano accompaniment atop Waits' deliberate brush work. Ducret's guitar solo moans, exhales, flutters and roars even as Walter returns to bring the song to its climax. Next is a rollicking rendition of Paul Simon's "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover." After Walter sings the opening verse (with Evans supplying some abstract counterpoint), the rhythm section comes in and the song drops into a raucous groove, Waits' mammoth bass drum leading the way with Revis weaving lines in and around the vocalist. Evans' piano solo is a hard-edged forceful statement. Walter has a great playing with the time, moving in and out of falsetto and getting into the "spirit."

Guitarist Marvin Sewell joins the band for the modern soul sounding of "If I Knew", a smooth blend of r'n'b, the "Philly Soul" sound of Thom Bell, and jazz. Walter bounces atop the band, overdubbing voices on the chorus, and truly digging into the words.

Several of the songs have an experimental edge, including the sensuous rhythmical treat that is "How To Die and Where To Fly." Walter duets with himself with Revis providing a funky bass figure and Waits supplying a very strong groove. "Inward" is just Ducret's electric guitar as accompaniment for the socially conscious lyric. Walter's voice moves gracefully alongside the guitar, the articulated lyrics standing out as does the creative lines the guitarist supplies. The blues feel of "It's Raining Today" is juxtaposed with an electronic drone and Evans' dancing piano lines (only on the first verse) - the song has a fascinating bridge before returning to the feel and sounds of the first half of the piece.

The sound of "One Step Away" is wonderfully open (save for the tune with the drone); all voices instrumental and human can be heard with Nasheet Waits' drums right in the center of the mix and JD Walter usually on top of the band (the sole exception being "How To Die and Where To Fly" where the 2 voices are separated.) After several times through the program, what might sound "strange" first time through loses that definition and one realizes how well these sounds mesh together. JD Walter may have been challenged by the approach of his good friend and co-producer Orrin Evans but the results are exceptional. Dig in and dig it!

 


 

One Step Away
Buffalo News
One Step Away review
by J.S
3½ stars
June 30th 2013



 

JD Walter, One Step Away (Jawawalrec). He's the most creative jazz singer, probably, since Betty Carter. It's no wonder that the great Kurt Elling - with whom he shares some vocal qualities - is, among so many others, an ardent admirer. If you're used to jazz singers being the leading edge of the conservatism that has become so popular in jazz, you need to experience just how creative and adventurous JD Walter can be, on some of his own songs, or on Todd Rundgren's "Pretending to Care," Paul Simon's "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover" and even Michel Legrand's "I Will Wait for You" whose melody is atomized to the point where it is virtually abstracted. With the exceptional trio that calls itself Tarbaby - Orrin Evans on piano, Eric Revis on bass and Nasheet Waits on drums - this is vocal jazz for jazz's sake, not popularity. Maybe this is the music that Jamie Cullum and Michael Buble are helping to keep alive, but it's also the jazz vocal music whose daring give the popular neoconservatives a point.

 


 

 


 

 


 

Jazz Magazine, France
Umea, Sweden, Jazz Festival review
by Thierry Quenum
October 26th 2009


 

 

The formidable and rare, JD Walter, meanwhile, enjoyed a large audience for the late evening and was able to keep them - a trio with the excellent Finnish Mikko Heleva on organ and Mika Kallio on drums completely in tune with the singer - by distilling the essence of his vocal art. A fine artist, with a tonal characteristic of a stylist, at once steeped in tradition, yet adventurous, capable of refined inflections, inventive scat and infectious swing. Art, in passing that many northern singers - whose modesty (we will not mention names) would benefit from practice.

 


 

Heksingin Sanomat newspaper
Concert review from Malmitalo concert Hall, Helsinki, Finland
by Jukka Hauru
October 26th 2009


 

 

-The purist and innovator of jazz singing-

JD Walter has been called a jazz singers' singer, at the same time a purist and an innovator. His technical mastery ranges from traditional scat to the use of electronics and effects, and when necessary can be a one-man orchestra using these effects.

JD Walter has been very successful in New York, and he has been in demand as an educator too. On this fall's Scandinavian tour, he was accompanied again by Mikko Heleva, and Mika Kallio.

JD Walter was at his best when he opened up the technical and artistic possibilities of jazz singing, with interesting arrangements, amazing interval jumps and improvisation. He made standard songs new works of art, however sometimes too long in their adventures. His mastery in his use of effects and of rhythm was virtuosic. Walters's style, which is peppered with electronics, is well suited for him with his wide range but sometimes a thin sound. Although effects are well suited for him, when he performed a traditional ballad, he was still able to light up his performance without the use of any effects.

Mika Kallio's noble and dynamic balance was well suited for Walter's singing, however Mikko Heleva's playing was sometimes a bit conservative in support of Walter's experimental spirit.

 


 

Keskisuomalainen Daily Newspaper Viitasaari, Finland
Review from live concert at Miekkaniemi
by Pentti Ronkainen
March 2008


 

 

-A Master duplicates his own Voice-

The jazz singer JD Walter lives in New York, While traveling around the world and Europe, he often finds himself in the outer regions of those places. For example in Russia, he has performed much more frequently then any Finnish jazz musician despite his distant proximity to Russia.

One of JD Walters Favorite places is found in Viitasaari. There is a former old wooden country store that sold all kinds of goods, that is now a bed and breakfast. This Bed and Breakfast had become famous for quality international music in spite of the size of the surrounding town.

Walter's Finnish touring band has a minimum amount of musicians using only Organ (Mikko Heleva), and Drums (Miko Kallio). This might seem to be a sparse offering, but no need to worry as the bass is always present in Mikko's left hand or footwork. In addition to that, Walter took care of the bass part using octave effects. Walter's hefty bass sound was only one of the sounds he got through his effect pedals. He also sang using a chorus pedal and loop station, but above all, Walter is a master of loops.

With the loop station, one can layer ones own voice without limits in a live situation, and that's how Walter can conjure up a choir all by himself. You know that Walter is a master at looping, because even when he is busy layering his loops his focus was uninterrupted, and was still able to devote attention to the essence of the music.

JD Walter performed James Taylor, and Beatles songs, solo with his loop station, but he was as strong a singer when he sang with the band swinging hard as a group and his wordless scat was exceedingly eloquent. When they played as a band, there were some jazz standards too, but luckily, the majority were that of Walters own inspirational songs.

Mikko, and Mika, had as much if not more personality then his Live Release of last year (Live in Portugal). Mika Kallio does his most energetic playing when inspired by Walters rhythmic sensibilities, and Mikko Heleva uses fully the features of his Organ. The Vibe of the last song played (Clear Day) in tribute to Halloween contained the scariest organ playing I've ever heard.

 


 

Philadelphia Daily News
Review of "Live In Portugal"
by Shaun Brady
July 31st, 2009


 

 

There always seems to be a boundary line invisible, yet as imposing as the Great Wall of China between instrumental and vocal jazz. The latter is often dismissed by purists, a fact that isn't helped by the glut of soundalike singers sleepwalking through the same old standards. But the best jazz vocalists are as nimble and inventive as any instrumentalist, and J.D. Walter definitely merits a place on that list. His latest, "Live in Portugal," is a two-disc tour de force, with several tracks stretching out past the 10-minute mark while Walter's frequently wordless vocals soar and surprise, aided by a host of electronics that lend his larynx a guitar-like thickness and fluidity of tone.

 


 

All About Jazz
JD Walter: Live In Portugal
by Victor L. Schermer
March 6th, 2009


 

 

JD Walter may be the most avant garde vocalist in jazz today. He uses a broad range of musical and linguistic approaches to create haunting atmospheres, rapid scat runs, and emotionally engaging interpretations of both standards and his own compositions. On this double CD set, recorded live at the Lagoa Jazz Festival in Portugal, he takes scat to a new expressive level. The word scat is in fact barely adequate to describe what Walter does. He creates meaningful shifts of emotions through extended improvisations, artfully bending elements of sound, pitch, and meaning. In addition, he uses electronic media to generate breathtaking harmonies and sonics.

Frequently compared to Betty Carter's experimental, late-career efforts, Walter's innovative approach goes far beyond that of any singer around today, yet adheres closely to the jazz idiom. As saxophonist Dave Liebman has noted, Walter uses his voice as an instrument and it could be added that he takes this to a new level of perfection. Moreover, his well-honed voice effortlessly covers several octaves, rendering his funky musical approach beyond classification. Accompanied by an energetic rhythm section, he masterfully deconstructs and reconstructs the songs, which he approaches more for inspiration than with melodic exactitude.

Live In Portugal begins with an unusual rendition of "It Never Entered My Mind," in which Walter bends the melody almost beyond recognition, but retains its sense of lost love. Following a long note calling for the lost lover (and an invocation reminiscent of Canteloube's song cycle "Songs of the Auvergne"), it becomes clear how Walter's scat has its own vocabulary, which he uses here to convey the feeling of longing. The extended chant is accompanied by a synthesizer background, followed by a reflective interlude with sidemen pianist Jim Ridl, drummer Donald Edwards, and bassist Mark Kelley, a piano solo, and extended scat in which the mood alternates between the joy of memory and the agony of loss. Walter wrings every bit of emotion out of this ballad, which has previously been performed in a straightahead format by the likes of trumpeter Chet Baker, and sung soulfully by Frank Sinatra and Morgana King, among many others.

"Walter's innovative approach goes far beyond that of any other singer around today, yet adheres closely to the jazz idiom"

By contrast, "Never Let Me Go" is done in standard ballad style, and given a very sensitive interpretation (which stands comparison with Irene Kral's divine version).

"So Wonderful" is presented over two tracks; the first, a brief introduction in which Walter vocalizes a bass fiddle, the second, in the mode of an early Leonard Bernstein show tune. Walter shows himself to be at home with the vast scope of the American songbook, as is also demonstrated in the next number, the James Taylor classic, "Shower the People," which features an ingenious unison duet with bassist Kelley (or is it a synthesizer?). Then, Walter electronically harmonizes with himself in a way which is startling for a live performance, since such harmonies are more typically done in the studio with overdubbing after the fact.

On the second disc, we first hear Walter's original composition, "Keisha's Coy," with Kelley on bass after Walter states the theme. (Kelley uses amplified bass guitar throughout, which gives the entire album a funky fusion feeling.) Walter restates the melody, after which a bass walk reflects Keisha's coyness. In the tradition that critic Nat Hentoff called "telling a story," this song and its interpretation by the group tells us a lot about the personality of a lady named Keisha. Words are unnecessary here.

"Inword" is as far as Walter will go with a protest song and on account of its reticence is the least effective of the set. "I Was Telling Her About You" is a beautiful, melancholy song, with lyrics by Don George and music by Mark (Moose) Charlap, the father of pianist Bill Charlap. Following an introspective piano intro by Ridl, Walter renders heart-rending vocals, often venturing into the higher vocal registers. Walter usually sings in the baritone/tenor range, but here his voice extends smoothly as high as the Four Seasons' Frankie Valli sans the falsetto! Walter sang in a church boy's choir as a child and at times his voice echoes that clear innocence.

The CD ends with an ambitious, upbeat version of the classic "Just the Way You Look Tonight." Ridl offers soloing reminiscent of the title track from his album, Five Minutes to Madness and Joy (Synergy, 1999), using well-choreographed stylings and phrases to create a disturbance of mood. Walter's inventive "Latino"-style and rapid-fire scat on this piece, together with his use of synthesizer harmonies, gives the tune a genuine world music feel.

The sidemen for the concert are excellent, especially noteworthy for the drum work of Donald Edwards. And Ridl is one of the finest pianists in the business today, with a creative fecundity that few can rival. He proves himself consistently brilliant here, as he always does. The recording quality, too, is outstanding for a live performance.

If you haven't heard JD Walter before, this CD promises to be a treat. And if you're familiar with his singing, Live in Portugal will give you a broader sense of the various flavors of which this outstanding vocalist is capable.

 


 

JAZZ REVIEW
A musical original, he refreshes the standards
By Don Heckman, April 02, 2008 LA Times




Jazz singer JD Walter opened his set Monday at the Jazz Bakery with what he described as a "derangement" of the standard "It Never Entered My Mind." The word was intended as a pun, of course, Walter's way of describing his method of "de-arranging" familiar material into entirely new musical entities.

He wasn't kidding. Rather than mess with any postmodern deconstruction, Walter simply started with fragments that had no immediately noticeable connection with the song. Using elements of scat phrasing, bits and pieces of lyrics, an occasional reference to melody, he eventually wound up with a recognizable overview of "It Never Entered My Mind."But, even at that, harmonies were skewed, the rhythm shifted and the melody found its own life.

Walter dealt similarly with another pair of standards --- "If I Should Lose You" and "Never Let Me Go" ---sometimes homing in on the original songs, sometimes dancing freely around their outer edges. Like Bobby McFerrin, Mark Murphy and Rhiannon, Walters is reshaping what jazz singing is all about. He is opening up familiar material to the most adventurous kinds of interpretation, while continuing to engage and entertain his audiences.

One of the best examples was his solo rendering of James Taylor's "Shower the People." Using a combination of electronic devices, Walter created a gorgeously self-harmonized version of the song, replete with a low-note, vocal bass line. As a technical feat it was remarkable; as a musical performance, it was even better.

Walter, who was backed superbly by pianist Orrin Evans and (remarkably) by 17-year-old drummer Justin Faulkner, was making his L.A. debut --- a reflection of his relatively low visibility on the music business radar. And that's a shame, since he is an original in an art overpopulated with copycats.

 


 

Inform Magazine No.3
JD Walter at the Kharkov Za Jazz Festival
by Andrei Gorshkov
March 2008


 

 

J.D. Walter, the New York Based Vocalist has been labeled a scat singer but, frankly speaking it is much more than scat. It is even more than a unique timbre and the widest diaspora, more than skillful modulations and a full control over his sound in all registers. Walters vocal acrobatics make you speak about him using completely non-musical terms.

A young American adventurer from Sean Penns new movie Into the Wild headed for the wilds of Alaska without a compass and maps searching for a union with wild nature. J.D. Walter studies boundless scopes of post-bop on his every record and in contrast to Penns hero, he returns from his journeys as an unreserved winner. Walter, a skillful artist, recreates jazz landscapes that are adventurous and provocative and his vocals reveal themselves in their full beauty. Dispensing with widely known themes of Luis Armstrong, Bill Evans or Stevie Wonder, the musician offers absolutely provocative points of view on traditional jazz. Cadence Magazine, the New York magazine, supposed that only Tim Buckley could be compared to Walter in the depth of skills if he had the courage to sing jazz instead of folk-rock. When advances like those are made by one of the most competent jazz publications, there is no doubt we have a true talent.

The CD session of JD with saxophonist Dave Liebman, Clear Day (2000), in my opinion, is the most exhaustive evidence of his gift. The difference in the musicians age is 30 years. When Walter was 5, Liebman already performed with Miles Davis. Nevertheless, J.D. sorts out the rosary of Daves pieces of music with great adroitness; he puts back the guru with courtesy to the background and then suddenly hides modestly in his shadow, when given the chance to solo, these two seem to be the youngest and at the same time the most experienced musicians of modern jazz.

 


 

Excerpt mentions from Sean Jones's Mack Avenue release "Kaleidoscope" 2007

JazzReview.com reviewed by Don Williamson--- Frankly, I am gratified by the well-deserved attention that J.D. Walter is receiving; I have been an enthusiastic supporter of his music ever since he wowed me on one of his earlier CD's with Dave Liebman and Jim Ridl, Clear Day. Just as energetic and rules-breaking was his 2000 Dreambox Media album with John Swana and Jean-Michel Pilc, Sirens in the C-House, on which the full range of Walter's artistry was entirely apparent, from his fearless scatting to his harmonically original reworking of standards. (Yes, Walter obviously is unintimidated by fierce, aggressive piano players, including Orrin Evans, when he wishes to be so too.) Both elements of Walter's style are included in Kaleidoscope as he wordlessly interweaves an additional line of improvisation on "Allison" as Jones carries the relaxing melody of long tones and successive repeats. Later, Walter displays his ability to draw in the listener through his immersion in a song when he presents his own composition, "So Wonderful," consisting of spare lyrics that mesh with the rhythmic accents of the piece. And Walter re-imagines "Never Let Me Go" with intriguing note choices, resolving a line of ad libbing on a sixth for example, or darkening the mood of the song through re-harmonization or stretching phrases over lengths not customarily employed.

allaboutJazz.com--- "Beginning with J.D. Walter, Sean states, "I've known J.D.'s work through Orrin. He's one of the greatest young up-and-coming male vocalists on the scene, but he's not really celebrated. He's so diverse. He can scat, has an amazing timbre and can sound like many different instruments. He's a phenomenal talent." J.D. is also featured on his buoyant original "So Wonderful," and a re-harmonized and syncopated arrangement of the Ray Evans standard "Never Let Me Go" "an engaging take that sounds nothing like the ballad hopeless romantics have grown accustomed to."

Jazz Improv Magazine--- "The strongest vocal tracks are Walter's version of "So Wonderful," featuring hot interplay with the sextet"..... All in all, I would have preferred hearing one singer throughout. Perhaps I just can't hear enough of J.D. Walter's creativity."

All Music Guide~Michael G. Nastos--- ....."Even more impressive are two spiritualistic pieces, reminiscent of the recent work by pianist Robert Glasper. The opener, "Allison," drips with emotion, informed by the lovely piano playing of Orrin Evans, slight Latin spice, and the wordless vocals of J.D. Walter"

 


 

Website for the United States Embassy in Ukraine Public Affairs Section
New York Vocalist Performs to Packed Hall in Vinnytsya, Ukraine (Oct 2005)

For the first time in its 10-year history, Vinnytsia's "International Jazz Days" festival, held September 9-11, featured an American musician. Ukrainians packed the 800-seat concert hall to hear New York-based vocalist J.D. Walter, and rewarded his performance with a standing ovation.

 


 

Excerpt from a review Jim Ridl Quintet at the Deerhead Inn 2005-09-13
By Victor L. Schermer
-AllAboutJazz.com

 

The idea of bringing vocalist J.D. Walter into this group was a brilliant coup. J.D.,formally a Philadelphian, who has taught in the Music Department of the University of the Arts and recently relocated to New York City. He has been labeled a "scat" singer, but he is much more than that. What he does is to use his voice as a unique musical instrument. The human voice is perhaps the quintessential tool of musical expression. Walter uses all the elements of voice, pitch, loudness, timbre, inflection, utterance, and syllabification- as a means of jazz expression. His vocal range is astonishing, and he has complete control at all registers. An idealist, he is uncompromising, always participating fully in the groups musical experience, never lapsing into the typical singer's mentality of dominating the group or doing "scat" as a showpiece for a few bars. I wouldn't be surprised if he ultimately distinguishes himself as one of a very few vocalists whose improvisations will be transcribed and studied.

 


 

Dedicated To You - Steve Rudolph Trio featuring J.D.Walter

Buy Dedicated To You. Jazz lovers, of all levels of sincerity, will cherish this record. The great ones know when not to play; throughout, Rudolph and his band (featuring J.D. Walter on vocals) aggressively pursue magical moments with discretion.

The impeccable timing of this album emerges with "Embraceable Evidence." Marko Marcinko's drumming poses an unorthodox opening to ensemble and improvisation inside of 90 seconds, and we know we are in for a swinging ride. J.D. Walter vocalizes under the piston fire of drums accents.

The record's title track arranges Walter's voice for maximum impact. In isolation, Walter's voice could be categorized as club fare. With Steve Rudolph at the keys, however, the music resounds with a class that reflects many years of considerate playing. Rudolph's quarter-note placement sets the table for a rambling of 88s that holds no key unturned.

Steve Varner's bass solo sedates so that we feel awakened by Walter's vocal return. "Dedicated To You" fades on an instrumental question-and-answer foray that leaves us believing much more could come of this. To our delight, much more does. Vocals are mixed for aesthetic affect on "Just the Way You Look Tonight." Walter makes a wind sprint of expert improvisation. Band and singer feed off each other's ambitions and the invention sizzles. In this form, vocals contrast a rhythm foundation. The needs of the song outweigh the needs of the musicians.

On "I Was Telling Her About You" Steve Rudolph's cascading keys nourish the soul like a candle that lights the face of a committed lover. "Things aren't always what they seem to be." Indeed. J. D. Walter and Steve Rudolph, in duet, arm the music with healing power.

"My One And Only Love" hits us like a truck, but it feels good. Considering the many fatally blue versions of this song, Rudolph's high-speed blur makes comic effect of the tune's nostalgia. Before the laugh leaves us, however, we're spellbound by the band's will to again explore voice and rhythm at high intensity.

"81" serves as a musical and holistic transition. The song opens on a funky groove that pays respect to jazz. The head bobs and hope rises with expertly executed crescendo. Solos by Varner and Marcinko highlight the wisdom of placing the record's only instrumental track here. The trio emerges from improvisation to a purely creative vibe. Our thrill is the ride.

Rudolph's and Walter's arrangement of "I Fall In Love Too Easily" seals the holistic value of the album. Although Sammy Cahn and JuleStyne are forever credited with the musical idea, Rudolph and Walter solely possess the integrity of this incarnation. For the first time, the band breathes in resonance. J.D. Walter's pastoral phrasing highlights the sheer beauty of this music.

"Now it's time to go/Hate to eat and run." In its only original composition, the Steve Rudolph Trio returns to a more coded stream of jazz. The arrangement of "Oscar's Steppin' Out" is the least complex in the collection. Rudolph, Walter, Varner, and Marcinko fundamentally grasp what works and when. Dedicated to You shows us how. What a power to have.- Jazz Improv Magazine Vol. 5, Number 1-Gregory Robb

 


 

Dedicated to You Steve Rudolph trio featuring JD Walter 2004
by Don Williamson
Jazzreview.com

 

What started as a demo CD fortunately has seen the light of day as a full-fledged release by pianist Steve Rudolph's trio and singer J.D. Walter, for Dedicated To You is an extraordinary session which would have been such a waste if the music had dissipated unrecorded at the moment of performance. Just the first track, the pairing of the melody of "Embraceable You" with the jagged rhythms of Thelonious Monk's "Evidence," is an inspiration unto itself, deserving of admiration at the rightness of the arrangement and memorable in such a way that the song is thought of differently after hearing it. But the album is full of such inspired ideas. Not only is Rudolph's trio a delight, full of verve and cohesive technical prowess, but also J.D. Walter's singing is entirely distinctive, sometimes recalling the vocal innovations of Betty Carter or Mark Murphy but then entering its own uncharted territories with each song. While both Rudolph and Walter have recorded separately with other artists, their mutual feel for the development of the songs of Dedicated To You extends beyond that of the convenience of gig preparation or the requirements of recording production.

"The Way You Look Tonight," in particular, highlights the strengths of the group. First, Rudolph limns the harmonic and rhythmic foundations for the piece, the light pushing of the beat with soft chords synchronizing entirely with Steve Varner's pronounced bass lines and Marko Marcinko's Latin beat 16 bars later. When Walter comes in, the character of the song's arrangement has already been established, allowing him to build the volume and intensity to a peak at the bridge. The same buildup happens again as Walter's scatting goes through peaks and valleys of feeling, the ad-libbing never being an end to itself. Rudolph and Walter dust off Moose Charlap's song, "I Was Telling Her About You," as a duo performance of rhythmless expression of emotion, and Walter delivers the words without embellishment. Just as the listener expects the music of Dedicated To You to slow down into balladry when "My One And Only Love" follows, Rudolph's trio and Walter launch a surprise. For "My One And Only Love" takes off with such speed that it would be a challenge in the hands of lesser musicians, but it seems relaxed nonetheless even though the time is tripled. Rudolph's trio alone plays Ron Carter/Miles Davis "81" with peppered notes and an infectious funk beat.

The switching between 5/4 and 4/4 on "Dedicated To You"---or the meditative approach to "I Fall In Love Too Easily" with Rudolph's chord substitutions and Walter's swelling of emotion through effective dynamics and wordless ululations akin to Milton Nascimento's---are evidence why Dedicated To You is more than a demo tape. It was created fully prepared for release. The wonder is that it was considered for less than full-scale distribution from the beginning. Could it be that Steve Rudolph and J.D. Walter are accustomed to such high-quality work that they didn't initially realize the value of this one-of-a-kind CD once it was recorded?

 


 

Moscow Lifestyle The Russian Journal
Valeria Paykova
artist preview (July 2003)

 

JAmerican Jazz artist to stop by CoolTrain To vocalist J.D. Walter, jazz is the Milky Way. He seeks the brightest spiritual center of music, using his pure voice as a tool for emphasizing innovative sounds and creative ideas. He has a natural talent for transforming well-known songs into unique provocative tunes: His voice ranges from a low, almost whistling level to high-pitched tones. Walter is one if those rare professionals who is looking into the future of jazz, with a view to reexamine all the traditional aspects of jazz and give them a new twist. According to the talented improviser Walter, although all music nowadays is considered merely part of the entertainment industry, one of the most serious kinds of music, jazz, is going to remain the music of the 21st century.Walter will give a play at the Cool Train club, on August 9 at 9 p.m.

 


 

The Daily Star Ramsay Short
Staff writer
Beirut, Lebanon (June 2003)

 

JD Walter takes singing to a different place at Blue Note Rumor has it that Louis Armstrong invented scat singing when he dropped the lyric sheet while singing on his recording of HeebieJeebies in 1925. Armstrong himself never made such a claim, and it is generally accepted that jazz musicians such as Don Redman and Red Nichols both recorded examples of scat before him. He was, however, an experimental and innovative singer who fooled around with all sorts of sounds, and improvised with his voice as he did on his instrument. JD Walter, at the Blue Note Cafe in Hamra until June 14, has a voice nothing like Armstrong's, but akin to the great man he is an innovative singer for the modern age fooling around with his voice in ways Armstrong never could - primarily with the help of a digital effects machine. The American singer, is a versatile and watchable musician in part because his philosophy runs simply that "I am more interested in where jazz is going, not where it's been." That said, the band managed, loose-limbed though they were, and Walter's many strengths - his dynamism, rousing scatting capability, pitch control and metrical journeying - came through and are certainly worth stopping by to hear.

Scatting is a vocal technique where the singer invents a melody on the spot using syllables and phrases instead of words, while following the chord changes. His jazz phrasing and scatting takes much from the early African-American musicians who first applied scatting to jazz but as is his stated aim, Walter succeeds in pushing things forward creating a post-bop almost electro-vocal of his own making. Picking up where the language leaves off, Walter communicates feelings and nuances through his voice that words alone cannot express. His phonemic awareness is staggering and his improvisation, demonstrated in his ability to come up with the nonsense (and sense) words of scat, fascinating. Opening with the standard, Polka Dots and Moonbeams, Walter first demonstrated his ability to use his voice as an instrument, at points mimicking the bass to perfection. His smooth Nat Cole-like interpretation of the lyrics caressed the ears almost as smoothly as the creamy-voiced master. Beautiful Love began his lesson in scat, as well as demonstrating the soul music in the man. His technique illustrates an obviously deep instrumentalknowledge.Walter, now in his 30s, began singing with his family church choir,before being accepted to sing with the American Boy Choir at Princeton.Later he went to the University of North Texas on a vocal jazzscholarship, becoming a featured soloist on university recordings. Laterhe went to Amsterdam, in Holland, where he studied with recording artistDeborah Brown. He has released two albums, Sirens in The C-House andClear Day, a collaboration with Brooklyn master saxophonist and musicianDave Liebman.

It is perhaps, however, his training with Brown and his own personal obsession with that great chanteuse Betty Carter, that makes what he does with his voice unusual for a male singer, and why he has been continually compared to Carter, Nina Simone and others. On his own composition, entitled It Never Entered My Mind, he uses the voice mixer to demonstrate a vast vocal range, and the influence of Carter instantly appears.

"She is a hero of mine. I had an infatuation with her as much for her music as for the stories about her. I spent years playing with as many musicians as I could find who played with her, over 20 at least, so I could find out everything," Walter says. "In many ways I already knew the answers," he adds. Autumn Leaves, at the end of the first set, allowed Walter to really go off in an experimental instrumental all his own. Using the digital effects machine via three or four pedals, he stops the band, and sings a bassline, sampling it with a reverb effect. Then while that bassline continues to play, he sings the melody, again sampling it with echo and adding it in time to the bass. With those two playing over and over he begins his scat, and carries the whole composition for some minutes before Basulto re-engages on keys. It is a highly personal, creative and unpredictable sound, seamlessly coalescing lyrics, wordless chanting and reshaped melodies into an instrumental resonance. "I'm not a jazz purist. I am never content with who I am. I used to be a drummer, now I'm a singer," Walter says.

Though the effects machine could be considered gimmicky, to Walter it is just an example of continuing innovation, and it requires a hell of a lot of discipline and time-control, skills that Walter possesses aplenty. "I must have toys. I want more," he says of the mixer, sampler and effects boxes.Joined during the second set by the National Conservatoire of Music's saxinstructor Tom Hornig on tenor sax for the classic Miles Davis tune AllBlues, and that other regular standard Stella By Starlight, Walter clearly feels more free to let go using his voice as a purely musical instrument achieving a wonderful harmonic amalgamation with Hornig's richsax sound.JD Walter is a man full of swing, capable of mixing measured tones withsoft, melding words, sliding between meters as the feel of the songsfluctuates. Vocalists such as he don't make the trip to Beirut often. Histwo-week stint at the Blue Note deserves a visit.

 


 

JD Walter in St. Petersburg
JAZZ.RU (December-2003) Yelena Nasonova
Translation- Sergey M. Shumilinp

 

JD Walter in St. Petersburg
On December, 12 and 13 a New York vocalist JD Walter was guest to the St. Petersburg jazz stage. The name of this musician is familiar to muscovites and it is also known in some cities which "The Jazz province" festival has been visiting. We in Saint Petersburg have also chanced to see JD--once there has been a concert at the Jazz Philarmonic Hall. JD has got a magnificent background: The American Boychoir, then the University of Northern Texas on the class of jazzvoice, he as well took lessons from Deborah Brown. As a result we can see his distinctive feature.He is a vocalist who feels the band as the uniform organism, and becomes himself a part of the whole thing.

Here the St. Petersburg performances also became an example of such interaction. There were two such examples. Also, there was a contrast between them. The debut has taken place on December, 12 in the jazz-club " Take Five ", and you should know the background. The following thing was happening: during the two hours prior to the beginning of the concert JD was sitting at the bar drinking cognac and glancing at his watch and waiting for the musicians to come for the soundcheck. Somehow to calm the visitor, the art-director of the club was trying to entertain JD telling him some stories and trying to make JD understand that when president Putin comes to the city, half of the traffic stops because of the jams.. . and JD reasonably answered, " Well, I have arrived on time?! ".

However, JD managed to capture the public, therefore the next day many of these people went to the other club "Che" to listen to the next gig with the other musicians. These were AndreyKondakov (keyboard), GrigoryVoskobojnik (counterbass), GrigoryBagdasarjan (drums). With this set JD had more freedom to do what he wanted. Initially JDWalter is a tenor-vocalist, with a soft guitar-like presentation transforming into alto-saxophonic attacks, with the accuracy and clearness close to a pipe, and the warmth of a human voice. However, getting to the low register, his voice becomes different, resembling either string, or keyboard bass.

JD was experimenting with some "spices" in his music kitchen, the electronic equipment laying several voices one over the other, sometimes imitating music instruments, getting a beautiful stream of sound. He also surprised the listeners with multiple improvisations often fresh and unexpected. The musicians have also shown themselves as mature masters able to communicate on stage.

What we have seen, and heard was really good music which unfortunately you can't hear often. The club was full, and the concert was a lot of pleasure to the listeners.

Poinyl Jazz Report
Nizhniy Novogorod, Russia
Maria Panteleyeva
Translation by Sergey M. Shumilin (December-2003)


 

JD Walter in Russia ---The Voice Plus...

On December,6 at the Nizhniy Novgorod Drama Theatre, a concert has taken place that obviously was the last and such a beautiful event in the jazz life of the city for the year 2003 . This time the following artists were on stage: a vocalist Yana Tjulkova well familiar to the townspeople, a saxophonist Oleg Kireev with his quartet, who introduced a pianist from Kazan, Valery Korotkov, a newcomer to his band who has shown great taste and deep understanding. Also, there was a beginner female jazz pianist from Dzerzhinsk and a jazz vocalist from New York, JD Walter, who has been yet unfamiliar to our jazz public. JD Walter turned out to be a true discovery. However, before, a whole number of Russian cities have had the pleasure to see JD Walter within a large scale jazz festival, The Jazz Province. And well, we have to admit that JD's concerts have consistently been followed with a loop of enthusiastic reviews...

Not knowing how to properly rank the creativity of the American singer in terms of style and direction, some critics prefer to just swear, being "purists" themselves and saying in jazz you can't do such tricks, while the other ones go really far in compliments to his vocal talent. In general it is absolutely unimportant how to characterise what JD Walter is doing. Neither should we think of how close JD's singing stands to jazz in its conventional understanding. Among similar phenomena, Bobby McFerrin can be mentioned, but JD's style and manner generally lay in mainstream and fusion (which is no wonder as in fact JD started singing at the American Boychoir).

But the above mentioned facts aren't essential. The really important thing is that starting from the first sound, JD captures the listeners' attention and now they completely belong to him. The initial material for JD Walter's art is his soft, excellently "melodious" timbre that is more often met with the soul artists, and a very wide range of voice. Using these, he was making the unusual things that left the press in confusion, and the audience in delight.

Using a sampler JD was in real time recording six or seven polyphonic voices, laying one over the other. The result resembled a madrigal in which were combined in its strict-style polyphony, the baroque cadences and the turnovers typical for gospel music. The effect upon the public was stunning.

Summing up, I would say that the concert of JD Walter was one the most vivid events in the music life of the city. And not only have we seen at Nizhniy Novgorod Drama Theatre the most unusual rendering of a music that is conventional in itself but probably we've chanced to witnesses how a whole new musical trend is emerging.

 


 

Jazzreview.com
Featured Artist: J. D. Walter
CD Title: Clear Day
Record Label: Double-Time Records 2001


 

Musicians: J.D. Walter, vocals; Dave Liebman, saxophones, flute; Jim Ridl, piano; Steve Varner, bass; Ari Hoenig, drums
Reviewed by: Don Williamson

I've said it before and I'll say it again: "J.D. Walter is a one-of-a-kind jazz vocalist awaiting discovery by a wider public." It seems that the inner circle of jazz musicians, as always, recognizes outstanding talent and originality long before the jazz press and the record-buying listeners do. Take Dave Liebman, for instance. When Walter called him for advice, it turned out that Liebman was already familiar with Walter's work and owned his Dreambox Media CD, Sirens In The C-House. One thing led to another, including a joint gig at the renowned Deer Head Inn, and the next thing you know, they were recording an album on Double-Time Records--the label's first that features a singer leading a group.

Walter's strengths remain intact: right-on pitch, thrilling dynamics, distinctive scatting ability, daredevil metrical escapades, wordless chanting, unpredictable seemingly out-of-nowhere musical ideas, the seamless coalescence of lyric and reshaped melody and instrumental-like twists and turns as if channeling his voice through brass valves or woodwind keys. Indeed, not only do the musical complexities that Walter makes simple establish him as a jazzman to the soul, but also they make one wonder at the extent of his instrumental experience. Surely, he must have gained such theoretical insight, technical understanding and irresistible feel from at least some keyboard experience, if not that of horns. However, Walter's first interest is in the limitless possibilities of the human voice, and he doesn't sit down at the piano--like, say, Freddie Cole--or switch to a saxophone--like Curtis Stigers--to display a broader range of talent than that of the voice. Indeed, Walter revels in the joys of singing, making one believe that Clear Day represents a sampling of a longer session cut off by the customary limitations of CD length. . .and that the musical explorations continued for quite some time before and after the tracks we get to hear.

J.D. Walter, being attuned to musical circumstances, responds to the situations set up on Clear Day, which employs a new group of musicians from those used on his last album. The resulting atmosphere is more impressionistic, the clarity of purpose assured, and the artistic achievement luminously translucent. For one thing, Sirens in the C-House consisted, with one exception, of tracks written by widely recognized composers/songwriters, such as Rodgers & Hart's "It Never Entered My Mind" or Bill Evans' s "Turn Out The Stars," while Clear Day, on the other hand, features for the most part Walter's and Liebman's original compositions. So, while we got to marvel on his Dreambox Media CD at Walter's powers of invention as he transformed well-known songs into scatting adventures, Clear Day provides a more personalized session through which Walters's and Liebman's attitudes toward life experiences escape through music.

On "Mommie Eyes," written for Liebman's wife on the occasion of their daughter's birth, Walter abandons words altogether, making his voice a purely musical instrument that achieves a harmonic synthesis with Liebman's work on tenor sax. Shrewdly, Walter, inadvertently or not, crafts his swelling, unhurried tones with vowels and soft consonants, rather than note-clipping hard sounds--a sheen of "oh ohoh ah ahaheenn day ay oh" reminiscent of what Milton Nascimento does so well: outpourings of instantly felt emotion of a depth that renders words useless. Interestingly and appropriately, some of the song titles allude to pleasures of the visible universe, Walter's group painting rather than asserting.

Walter's two compositions are gleaming examples of his implicit swing, not to mention his effortless sliding between meters as the moods of the pieces change. "Kieshas Coy," an unpretentious minor blues, moves from a repeated head, Ridl's dense chords and minimalist approach signaling the changes gracefully, to Walter's scatted improvisation, much in the same way that "Golden Lady" introduced Sirens In The C-House. In the liner notes, Walter expresses his satisfaction with the lyrics he wrote for "Here I Am There I Go." But the real enjoyment of that tune is its combination of unexpected lurch to conform to apparently-but-not-really-added-at-the-last-minute words, a comfortable ease and a metrical slipperiness. Walter's give-and-take with Liebman reveals his fascination, not just with music, but with the essence of sonic beauty.

On Clear Day, Walter is accompanied by his "other trio" consisting of Ridl on piano, Steve Varner on bass and Ari Hoenig on drums. The contrast with his Jean-Michel Pilc/Steve Varner/Gregory Hutchinson group of Sirens In The C-House is illuminating. While Pilc remained irrepressible and challenging, always champing at the bit before embarking on some wild pianistic adventure, Ridl subsumes his considerable offshooting skills--like a Kenny Barron's or a Brad Mehldau's in his ability to make keys and strings convey complex thought and profound feeling--to advance the cohesive sound of the group. The fact that Walter is inspired by two different approaches proves not only his versatility, but also his fearlessness and curiosity.

Once again, J.D. Walter follows his own muse, not really walking in anyone else's shoes. And once again, he creates that hallmark of an outstanding jazz release: an album that offers new delights every time you listen to it--no matter how many times you listen to it.

 


 

Philadelphia Citypaper
May 17--24, 2001
musicpicks|jazz

 

J.D. Walter/David Berkman/Pete McCann
Those in the know have already checked out J.D. Walter, the Philly vocalist with the soaring improvisational style. Last year's Sirens in the C-House (Encounter) showcases both his Betty Carter-esque way of elasticizing a melody and his adept scat singing. The arrangements are impressive, too; he renders Stevie Wonder's "Golden Lady" as a driving samba, with solo commentary from pianist Jean-Michel Pilc (who appears, along with drummer Ari Hoenig and bassist Steve Varner, on this gig). This weekend's Jazz Underground schedule also features pianist David Berkman and guitarist Pete McCann ---- impressive 30-somethings on the Palmetto Records roster whose last Philly appearances were foiled by a surprise late-March snowstorm. -Nate Chinen

 


 

SavonSanomat newspaper, Kuopio, Finland
Feb 1st 2001
Translation by Dr. Ewen Macdonald

 

J D Walter stunning in Kuopio and Yllas:
J.D Walter, who stunned the audience in the Kuopio Jazz Club on Wednesday, repeated the trick at the opening concert of the Yllas Jazz Festival in the Akas Hotel, Pirttukirkko on Thursday. JD's backing band in Kuopio and Yllas is well known to Savo audiences, the Saarsalo-Hiekkala Quartet. After Thursday's concert, bassist JarmoHiekkala was stunned in his admiration of JD "A really unbelievable voice. You can only try to guess how he can make his voice do these things. Through the entire scale, from low to high, it sounds effortless. I Have never heard anyone sound so natural and so right" Hiekkala commented. JD is one of the top American male jazz singers. He is heading straight to being one of the world's elite. "You are going to hear at lot more of him" predicts Hiekkala. As to future collaborations, Hiekkala said it's too early to make predictions "Let's see how these gigs atYllas go"

 


 

ALL MUSIC GUIDE-2001 www.getmusic.com
AMG EXPERT REVIEW

Still in his thirties here, J. D. Walter is one of the newer breed of male singers, like Kurt Elling, who look to Bob Dorough (who provided this album's liner notes), Dave Frishberg, and Mark Murphy as their models. Like these veterans, Walter brings unique interpretations to standard and non-standard material alike. As a representative of the latter group, a Stevie Wonder song is on this play list. But even more significant is the way Walter addresses, or, more accurately, attacks the familiar material on this album. Throwing aside conformity and convention, he uses all sorts of vocal devices to provide a new perspective to this material. "It Never Entered My Mind" has Walter moving back and forth between regular and wordless vocalizing, sometimes in the same sentence. This is a segue into a lengthy and in-depth examination of the art of scatting. A tune popularly spoofed by Spike Jones, in the hands of Walter and his cohorts, borders on the avant-garde, especially in the dynamic pianism of Jean-Michel Pilc coupled with the probing drums and bass of Greg Hutchinson and Steve Varner, respectively. Out of the ordinary arrangements are a trademark of this session as shown on the Nat King Cole/Oscar Moore "Beautiful Moons Ago" which becomes a discourse between Walter, the flgelhorn of John Swana, and the Hutchinson snare. But Walter, if nothing else, is flexible. His rendition of "Turn Out the Stars" approaches a Gregorian chant with its intensity. This is one of the album's highlights. Another highlight is a swinging but slightly off-center "The Song Is You." While possessing a very pleasing to the ear voice, not everyone will warm to Walter's singing style, especially as it is applied to those classics which have been recorded by Sinatra, Cole, Torme, and the like. However, given a couple of hearings, this album will slowly but surely seduce and will be taken from the shelf often. This album is adventurous and recommended. - Dave Nathan

 


 

THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER- Sunday May 28, 2000
Music Report
J.D. Walter; Sirens in the C-House
(Dreambox media * * *)(Out of four stars)


 

J.D. Walter sings with the pizzazz of a horn player. He's also a freewheeling scatman capable of negotiating all the swoops and swirls required by that discipline.

University of the Arts faculty member, who grew up in the Lancaster-Lebanon area, has a light tone and an unusual approach to familiar material, finding new melody lines in tunes from Stevie Wonder's "Golden Lady" to Learner and Lowe's "Almost Like Being in Love." Walter, 32, sometimes plays it too safe and controlled, as though his technique is more important to him than the emotion he projects. Still, he is a very clean singer who gets sympathetic backing from Jean-Michel Pilc on Piano, Steve Varner on bass, Greg Hutchinson on drums. Trumpeter John Swana also contributes his svelte playing.
- Karl Starks

 


 

Cadence Jazz Magazine-November 2000

"Although the voice of Walter has a pureness to it, he also uses it as an instrument on 'Sirens In the C-House.' He becomes an integral member of the band as he scats, does vocalese, and sings his way through nine kicking tunes. The stunning piano trio led by Pilc is his strong supporter, while trumpeter Swana joins them on several cuts. Walter has a tinge of soul in his sound, but his most dramatic quality is his ability to fly as an equal member of the instrumental group. His voice ranges from the low, near-mumbling level where he projects in the moody style of Nina Simone, to the high-pitched squeals that typify his scatting. Speed is another quality that personifies his singing. He keeps up with the super-fast riffs of Swana or prances around the dazzling keyboard runs of Pilc, effortlessly matching his tone to theirs. Walter is a true improviser as a vocalist who alters the melody line at will. He does to a song what Betty Carter did, making it uniquely his own. 'Turn Out the Stars' will convince you. Walter is a natural who has 'can't miss' written all over him." - Frank Rubolino, Cadence Magazine

 


 

Marge Hofacre's JAZZ NEWS Fall 2000

In a round about fashion--- from south central Pennsylvania, through Texas, to Holland, to New York, and returning to Pennsylvania, this time to the Philadelphia area---J.D. Walter has picked up a few things along the way.

Things like the ability to scat like nobody's business. I mean, he scats like nobody else. Comparisons fail me. He plays with long tones like Betty Carter, takes risks like Kurt Elling, possesses a velvety smoothness like Mel Torme, investigates wordless ululations like Milton Nascimento, croons with the confident serenity of a Nat Cole. But J.D. Walter is his own man, as Bob Dorough notes in his round about and quirky fashion in the liner notes. And J.D. Walter has assembled a cracker-jack rhythm section that really could be recording as a piano trio and killing audiences with its attack and virtuosity.

I don't know if Sirens In The C-House is a debut album for MR.Walter, but it sure is an attention-getter. Let's hope that a wide, wide listening audience sits up and takes notice. With authority and astounding pitch and quickness of thought, Walter really does make each song his own, in spite of the fame of some of the composers like Bill Evans, Stevie Wonder or Rodgers and Hart.

How? Well he does almost exactly the opposite of what the listener expects, creating surprise and delight with every song. On say, Almost Like Being In Love, Walter actually uses the song as a point of harmonic departure as he and Pilc build intensity and wit with each chorus and with each dramatic phrase. Walter obviously enjoys scat singing and he eventually may be recognized as one of its contemporary masters. Thus, each song's stealthy introduction and exposition inevitably lead to scatting flights of fancy that challenge the listener with their daring, seeming to push to the end of a cliff only to be rescued with a logical, but until-then unanticipated, resolution. As much as I would like to pick one tune and give it as an example of the best of the CD, that's impossible because each track is of the same high level of technical mastery and artfulness.

Sirens In The C-House, limited in its promotion and distribution without the powerhouse budgets of an entertainment conglomerate, really is a CD that should be sought out and savored. Once those conglomerates discover J.D. Walter, I doubt if he'll remain an unknown beyond the Philadelphia-New York corridor much longer. And thus Sirens In The C-House, will be collected with the same curiosity and enthusiasm that, for example, Diana Krall's early Justin-Time CDs are sought now. Mark my word. -Bill Donaldson-

 


 

HiFilehti.fi
Helsinki, Finland
By MattiLaipio
Translation by Dr. Ewen Macdonald


 

JD Walter, who will be appearing at the Yllas Jazz Festival in February will be a new name to many. J.D. Walter has been performing predominantly in the Philadelphia area but has also started to become noticed in New York. JD's style is based on be-bop. His voice is very flexible and his range is wide, he has the vocal ability to match his creativity. When he uses his voice as an instrument, when he is scatting, he demonstrates improvisational talents and soloing creativity. In his backing band, you can find another increasingly popular artist, Jean-Michel Pilz, you should also check out his records. - MattiLaipio

 


 

All About Jazz
JD Walter: Live In Portugal
March 6th, 2009

 

JD Walter may be the most avant garde vocalist in jazz today. He uses a broad range of musical and linguistic approaches to create haunting atmospheres, rapid scat runs, and emotionally engaging interpretations of both standards and his own compositions. On this double CD set, recorded live at the Lagoa Jazz Festival in Portugal, he takes scat to a new expressive level. The word scat is in fact barely adequate to describe what Walter does. He creates meaningful shifts of emotions through extended improvisations, artfully bending elements of sound, pitch, and meaning. In addition, he uses electronic media to generate breathtaking harmonies and sonics.

Frequently compared to Betty Carter's experimental, late-career efforts, Walter's innovative approach goes far beyond that of any singer around today, yet adheres closely to the jazz idiom. As saxophonist Dave Liebman has noted, Walter uses his voice as an instrument, and it could be added that he takes this to a new level of perfection. Moreover, his well-honed voice effortlessly covers several octaves, rendering his funky musical approach beyond classification. Accompanied by an energetic rhythm section, he masterfully deconstructs and reconstructs the songs, which he approaches more for inspiration than with melodic exactitude.

Live In Portugal begins with an unusual rendition of "It Never Entered My Mind," in which Walter bends the melody almost beyond recognition, but retains its sense of lost love. Following a long note calling for the lost lover (and an invocation reminiscent of Canteloube's song cycle "Songs of the Auvergne"), it becomes clear how Walter's scat has its own vocabulary, which he uses here to convey the feeling of longing. The extended chant is accompanied by a synthesizer background, followed by a reflective interlude with sidemen pianist Jim Ridl, drummer Donald Edwards, and bassist Mark Kelley, a piano solo, and extended scat in which the mood alternates between the joy of memory and the agony of loss. Walter wrings every bit of emotion out of this ballad, which has previously been performed in a straightahead format by the likes of trumpeter Chet Baker, and sung soulfully by Frank Sinatra and Morgana King, among many others.

"Walter's innovative approach goes far beyond that of any other singer around today, yet adheres closely to the jazz idiom."

By contrast, "Never Let Me Go" is done in standard ballad style, and given a very sensitive interpretation (which stands comparison with Irene Kral's divine version).

"So Wonderful" is presented over two tracks; the first, a brief introduction in which Walter vocalizes a bass fiddle, the second, in the mode of an early Leonard Bernstein show tune. Walter shows himself to be at home with the vast scope of the American songbook, as is also demonstrated in the next number, the James Taylor classic, "Shower the People," which features an ingenious unison duet with bassist Kelley (or is it a synthesizer?). Then, Walter electronically harmonizes with himself in a way which is startling for a live performance, since such harmonies are more typically done in the studio with overdubbing after the fact.

On the second disc, we first hear Walter's original composition, "Keisha's Coy," with Kelley on bass after Walter states the theme. (Kelley uses amplified bass guitar throughout, which gives the entire album a funky fusion feeling.) Walter restates the melody, after which a bass walk reflects Keisha's coyness. In the tradition that critic Nat Hentoff called "telling a story," this song and its interpretation by the group tells us a lot about the personality of a lady named Keisha. Words are unnecessary here.

"Inword" is as far as Walter will go with a protest song and on account of its reticence is the least effective of the set. "I Was Telling Her About You" is a beautiful, melancholy song, with lyrics by Don George and music by Mark (Moose) Charlap, the father of pianist Bill Charlap. Following an introspective piano intro by Ridl, Walter renders heart-rending vocals, often venturing into the higher vocal registers. Walter usually sings in the baritone/tenor range, but here his voice extends smoothly as high as the Four Seasons' Frankie Valli sans the falsetto! Walter sang in a church boy's choir as a child and at times his voice echoes that clear innocence.

The CD ends with an ambitious, upbeat version of the classic "Just the Way You Look Tonight." Ridl offers soloing reminiscent of the title track from his album, Five Minutes to Madness and Joy (Synergy, 1999), using well-choreographed stylings and phrases to create a disturbance of mood. Walter's inventive "Latino"-style and rapid-fire scat on this piece, together with his use of synthesizer harmonies, gives the tune a genuine world music feel.

The sidemen for the concert are excellent, especially noteworthy for the drum work of Donald Edwards. And Ridl is one of the finest pianists in the business today, with a creative fecundity that few can rival. He proves himself consistently brilliant here, as he always does. The recording quality, too, is outstanding for a live performance.

If you haven't heard JD Walter before, this CD promises to be a treat. And if you're familiar with his singing, Live in Portugal will give you a broader sense of the various flavors of which this outstanding vocalist is capable.

 


 

Sirens In The C-House
J.D. Walter (Encounter)
All About Jazz.com
By Don Williamson


 

Five stars! Five stars, I tell you! "Sirens In The C-House" is, without a doubt, a five-star CD! J.D. Walter is a five-star singer! Nay, ten stars! A hundred stars! Turn out the stars! Yowza! "Sirens In The C-House" reveals the folly of trying to rate music, making it a kind of competition and blessing a reviewer's favorites with the "ultimate" rating, whatever that may be. "Sirens In The C-House" is absolutely, from track one to track nine, a stunner. I know. I know. It's not cool for reviewers to fall all over themselves in praise of a CD. But if a reviewer can't get excited about the music, what good is a reviewer? Answer me that. And while you're at it, answer me if you've ever heard of J.D. Walter. A show of hands.Just as I thought. Almost without exception, brilliant regional jazz talent falls beneath the radar screen of the national and international audiences. I cringe when I read, as I did once again last week in a national jazz publication, that a musician helpfully advised another to "move to New York if you want to be successful." Why is that so? Why can't regional talent thrive financially and critically, just as it can artistically? I mean, Kurt Elling was a Chicago phenomenon until Bruce Lundvall of Blue Note read a Chicago Tribute article about him, and then, voila! The world knows about Kurt Elling. Well, J.D. Walter inevitably will be compared to Kurt Elling. But in spite of the fact that they lead killer rhythm sections, Pilc/Varner/Hutchinson head to head with Hobgood/Amster/Wertico, and the fact that they're white male scat singers, their styles are considerably different. Walter doesn't indulge in the poetry or beat generation sensibilities, but rather uses his voice as just another instrument in the ensemble, much as Betty Carter or Anita O'Day did. With his smoky sound, Walter wavers tones ever so slightly, comes in when he damned well feels like it to stretch the confines of a song, growls, moans, exclaims and jabs with uncanny pitch and right-on articulation. You don't believe me? Just listen to what he does in just the first chorus of "My Ideal." As Pilc establishes the key with his lead-in chords, Walter comes in when least expected, after two-and-a-half beats, as if an afterthought, and then changes the mood to one of urgency as he poses his question, "Will I ever find...?" Pause. Billowy cushions around the words "the girl" as he identifies her as the center of the thought and as he anticipates the beat for effect. "In my mind" involves Walter's ever-so-slight bending of the pitch on the word "mind" in a Betty Carter-ish mode as he smoothes the way to his resolution of conception with the words "my ideal," faking the listener with an unexpected choice of note--that note being the same one on "my." And then he asserts a seeming inspiration with "yeah," as if he had actually just considered his "ideal" to be a "dream." Since all of this takes place in sixteen bars, that first chorus sets up a flight of distinctive scatting. Not like Elling. Not like Hendricks. Not like Torme. Not like Salinger. (I'm just checking to see if you're paying attention.) J.D. Walter didn't pack all of his energy and talent into only "My Ideal." Every track is like that, including a dramatic reworking of Stevie Wonder's "Golden Lady" that sounds nothing at all like Wonder or Walter's spirited charge on "The Song Is You." How does he sing like that? Breath control? Energy control? All kinds of control, giving the impression that he has lost control in his euphoria of song? Perhaps the most reverential of the tunes is Bill Evans' "Turn Out The Stars," a gem of a performance on which Walter and Pilc cool down, Pilc going horizontal in his phrasing and semi-classical in his interpretation of song and Walter realizing in a wordless vocal way, perhaps as Milton Nascimento does, the potential of the human voice for gripping the heart. John Swana's melodic quality on trumpet and flugelhorn becomes an appropriate counterpart to Walter's voice on several of the tunes. Thanks be to Jim Miller's Encounter Records for bringing talents like these to the attention of listeners beyond Walter's eastern-Pennsylvania live performance schedule. In spite of the typically small marketing budgets that small labels face, let's hope that the word gets out about J.D. Walter's exceptional CD. Track Listing: Golden Lady; You Always Hurt The One You Love; The Song Is You; Beautiful Moons Ago; My Ideal; Sirens In The C-House; Turn Out The Stars; Almost Like Being In Love; It Never Entered My Mind Personnel: J.D. Walter, vocals; Jean-Michel Pilc, piano; Steve Varner, bass; Greg Hutchinson, drums; John Swana, trumpet, flugelhorn




 

 

 

 

 

 



 



















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