A native of eastern Pennsylvania, JD Walter's past, present, and future has always embodied music. From church Boy choirs at the age of six to the American Boy choir school in Princeton to the University of North Texas on a vocal jazz scholarship, Walter has become a pioneer of improvisation and electronic innovations in the world of jazz. His recording career spans 20 years and his purist progressive approach to jazz music has been recognized worldwide.
After extended studies in Amsterdam with Jazz vocal Icon, Deborah Brown, Walter returned to the U.S. and embedded himself in the New York Jazz scene. It was in New York, surrounded by visionaries of jazz, where he began to organically develop his liberated, vibrant style that turned him from straight-ahead to progressive jazz singing. Walter's recordings include, "Sirens in the C-House," "Clear Day," "Dedicated to You," "2Bass, a Face and a Little Skin," "Live in Portugal," "Live at the 55 Bar," "One Step Away," and Guest appearances on over 100 recordings.
While recording his soon-to-be-released album, "Dressed in a Song," a life-threatening health scare and subsequent heart and vocal cord surgeries kept Walter out of the studio and off the road for several years.
The latest album, set to release on February 7, 2020, testifies to his personal progression as an evolving artisan and provides an intimate, inventive collection of standards and originals. "Dressed in a Song," produced by Walter and Grammy-winning producer and A&R executive Al Pryor, features piano and vocal duets and trios with veterans and up-and-comers alike, including Jim Ridl, Orrin Evans, Jean-Michel Pilc, Marc Cary, Taylor Eigsti, Julius Rodriguez, Ben Wolfe, Obed Calvaire, and Becca Stevens.
"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, April 2008"
Over the decades, Walter has performed as a featured artist at numerous American jazz clubs and festivals in the U.S., Europe, the Middle East, Central America as well as over 80 tours in Russia. He remains a regular in the New York music scene, and has headlined at Dizzy's Lincoln Center, The Jazz Standard, The Blue Note, and The Jazz Gallery, among other venues.
He has shared the stage with legendary artists, ranging from Dave Liebman, Billy Hart, Tom Harrell, Eddie Gomez, Bob Dorough, Nicholas Payton, Ben Monder, Sean Jones, Jean- Michel Pilc, Bill Evans, Mark Murphy, Greg Hutchinson, Ari Hoenig, Randy Brecker, Tim Warfield, Jim Ridl, Orrin Evans, Seamus Blake, Igor Butman, Nasheet Waits, Craig Handy, Boris Kozlov, Robin Eubanks, Eric Revis, Billy Drummond, Christian McBride, Adam Nussbaum.
Walter currently resides in New York and teaches privately and abroad at The Prince Claus Conservatory in Groningen, Holland, The Jazz and Music School in St. Petersburg, and the Music Wave School in Moscow.