Walt Weiskopf (Standards GPS: Exploring “Stella”)
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Saxophonist, composer and author Walt Weiskopf has made an impressive mark as both a leader and sideman with over a dozen critically acclaimed albums and countless sideman credits.
A dynamic player with enormous technical prowess, Weiskopf is equally well-regarded as a composer, with albums containing predominantly original work.
Weiskopf’s latest record, “The Way You Say It” (Posi-Tone Records, 2016), employs unique instrumentation to explore a wide vocabulary of styles and sounds. With organist Brian Charette, vibraphonist Behn Gillece and drummer Steve Fidyk, Weiskopf conveys his clear and straight forward message with the remarkable technical precision and a manifest knowledge of music audiences adore.
Born in Augusta, Georgia, Weiskopf grew up outside Syracuse, New York. He took up his first instrument, the clarinet, at age 10 and began his saxophone studies four years later. After graduating from Rochester’s Eastman School of Music in three years, he moved to New York City in 1980. He began his professional career performing with the Buddy Rich Big Band in 1981 at the age of 21. In 1983, Weiskopf began a fourteen-year association with jazz pianist and arranger Toshiko Akiyoshi, making seven recordings and touring the USA, Japan and Europe several times with her orchestra. During this time, he began recording his own material.
Under the tutelage of clarinetist Leon Russianoff in 1988-89, Weiskopf earned a Master of Arts in clarinet performance from Queens College of the City University of New York. He has performed with a number of notable classical orchestras.
In 1993, Weiskopf began releasing leader records that were all met with immediate positive journalistic acclaim and radio success. Weiskopf has continued his production since then and has nineteen albums to his credit; “The Way You Say It,” continues to show his evolution as a composer, bandleader and saxophonist.
Weiskopf has also performed as a sideman for many notables like Frank Sinatra, Donald Fagen, Michael McDonald and Boz Scaggs. Weiskopf’s long-running and current sideman gig is with Steely Dan.
Weiskopf is also among the most respected authors in the field, and has penned seven books on various topics in jazz improvisation. In addition, Weiskopf is currently working on a new play-along CD project for moderate to advanced players, “16 Moderately Challenging Jazz Solos,” (Aebersold, pub.) which includes one of New York’s best rhythm sections: pianist Joel Weiskopf, bassist Mike Karn and drummer Jason Tiemann.
Weiskopf was a visiting Associate Professor part-time at the Eastman School of Music from 2001 to 2008, then taught at Temple University, and is currently the Coordinator of Jazz Studies at New Jersey City University.
Content By Walt Weiskopf