Saxophonist, composer and author Walt Weiskopf began his New York career performing with the Buddy Rich Big Band in 1981 at the age of 21.
Since then, he has made an impressive mark as both a leader and sideman with over 20 critically acclaimed CDs and countless sideman credits, including performing and recording with Frank Sinatra, Steely Dan, Donald Fagen, Frank Sinatra, Michael McDonald, Boz Scaggs and others.
A dynamic player with enormous technical prowess, Walt is equally well regarded as a composer and his CDs contain predominantly original work.
His books on jazz improvisation, such as Beyond the Horn, Around the Horn, Understanding the Diminished Scale, The Augmented Scale in Jazz, 16 Moderately Challenging Jazz Solos and Intervallic Improvisation are among the most respected in the field.
HIs new release, Introspection, will be out in mid October 2021.
(For the podcast, the opening segment was from Walt’s tune, Backstage Blues from his release, Fountain of Youth.)
We talked about:
- Influence of playing clarinet and classical music into his technique
- How Walt uses theory for improvisation
- How the pandemic allowed him to pursue a passion project
- What it’s like working with Steely Dan
- His approach to short solos & big band solos
- Walt’s upcoming album, Introspection
- and much more!
Watch the Video of this episode here:
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Walt had a lot of good things to say and seemed very down to earth talking about his own playing and work. One thing he said that was not appreciated before was the fact that many of the greats did not read or write musical so it had to be all auditory. One hears all the time about current music students being too visual/cognitive, well it is no mystery why – all the written music and youtubes. His use of music theory to figure out why things might not sound right makes sense, but not overly nerdy. He is honest about his participation in jam sessions – ie a difficult exercise where all your experience and knowledge comes into play because you haven’t studied the tune and are winging it. Thank you.