JD WALTER

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Bio

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, "Dressed in a Song", “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 most recent 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, released 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.

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.



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quotes

  • "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
  • "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, JAZZ NEWS
  • “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
  • “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

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

  • “A highwater mark in Vocal Jazz... an absolutely modern music that inspires and points the way..." - Bob Dorough - Singer/Songwriter/Composer Schoolhouse Rock!, Vocalist on Miles Davis's "The Sorcerer"

  • “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

  • “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"