23rd Dominican Republic Jazz Festival – Musician Biographies

 

Miguel Zenón

Multiple Grammy Nominee, Guggenheim and MacArthur Fellow Miguel Zenón represents a select group of musicians who have masterfully balanced and blended the often contradictory poles of innovation and tradition. Widely considered as one of the most groundbreaking and influential saxophonists of his generation, he has also developed a unique voice as a composer and as a conceptualist, concentrating his efforts on perfecting a fine mix between Latin American Folkloric Music and Jazz.

Born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Zenón has released twelve recordings as a leader, including the Grammy Nominated Yo Soy La Tradición (2018) and Típico (2017), as well as his latest Sonero: The Music of Ismael Rivera (2019). As a sideman he has worked with jazz luminaries such as The SFJAZZ Collective, Charlie Haden, Fred Hersch, Kenny Werner, David Sánchez, Danilo Perez, The Village Vanguard Orchestra, Guillermo Klein & Los Guachos, The Jeff Ballard Trio, Antonio Sanchez, David Gilmore, Paoli Mejias, Brian Lynch, Jason Lindner, Miles Okazaki, Ray Barreto, Andy Montañez, Jerry Gonzalez & The Fort Apache Band, The Mingus Big Band, Bobby Hutcherson and Steve Coleman.

Zenón has been featured in publications such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe and Chicago Tribune. In addition, he topped both the Jazz Artist of the Year and Alto Saxophonist categories on the 2014 Jazz Times Critics Poll and was selected as the Alto Saxophonist of the Year by the Jazz Journalist Association in 2015, 2018 and 2019.

As a composer he has been commissioned by SFJAZZ, NYO Jazz, The New York State Council for the Arts, Chamber Music America, Logan Center for The Arts, The Hyde Park Jazz Festival, The John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, MIT, Jazz Reach, Peak Performances, PRISM Quartet and many of his peers. Zenón has given hundreds of lectures and master classes at institutions all over the world, and is a permanent faculty member at New England Conservatory of Music. In 2011 he founded Caravana Cultural, a program which presents free-of-charge Jazz concerts in rural areas of Puerto Rico. In April 2008 Zenón received a fellowship from the prestigious John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. Later that year he was one of 25 distinguished individuals chosen to receive the coveted MacArthur Fellowship, also known as the “Genius Grant”.

 

Jose Alberto ‘’El Canario’’

The Latin Grammy-nominated Jose Alberto “El Canario” (The Canary), astonished the Latin music scene with his exquisite voice and his ability to melodiously whistle as a solo instrument. He is one of the most successful and respected artists in the Salsa music scene, with a recording history spanning 40 years and 16 solo albums.

José Alberto spent his childhood in Puerto Rico, where he studied music at the Antilles Military Academy. He later moved to New York, where he joined prominent local music bands as a percussionist, meanwhile showcasing his exceptional voice, which led to his established career as a vocalist. In 1974 he recorded his first single and in 1976, José Alberto made his inaugural recording as lead vocalist on the album “Curious” by Tito Rodriguez, Jr. Between 1978 and the early 80’s he was lead vocalist for the band Tipica 73.

José Alberto offers incredible productions with an exciting and diverse mix of new rhythms with stimulating characteristics. Canario’s music is powerful, vibrant and is the maximum expression of “salsa dura”. José Alberto’s recordings have received critical acclaim, and winning numerous Gold and Platinum album status, along with prestigious awards and recognition.

 

Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Ensemble

The Afro Latin Jazz Ensemble (ALJE) is an octet made up of some of the most virtuoso musicians in jazz today. Led by Arturo O’Farrill, a six-time Grammy-winning pianist, composer and music educator, the bands repertoire honors the pioneers of Latin jazz, like Mario Bauza and Tito Puente, while keeping a strong foothold in a progressive development of music by performing contemporary compositions of the genre.

Recently, the ALJE has teamed up with the Malpaso Dance Company from Havana, Cuba, creating three programs: Despedida, Dreaming of Lions, and 24 Hours in the Life of a Dog, in which Arturo O’Farrill scored the music in collaboration with Osnel Delgado, who choreographed the piece. The ALJE has performed internationally to critical acclaim, playing such festivals as the Cubadisco Festival (Havana, Cuba), the Luminato Festival (Toronto, Canada), Aperitivo in Concerto (Milan, Italy) and the Jacobs Pillow Dance Festival (Becket, MA).

 

Pengbian Sang & Retro Jazz

In 2011, the renowned Dominican musician Pengbian Sang embarked on a project which made its mark on the jazz scene, successfully connecting the great audience of popular music and the select jazz-loving audience.

Making use of his extensive musical training and experience as an arranger, orchestrator and Jazzist, Pengbian combines the beauty and elegance of the most popular Dominican songs with the spontaneity of improvisations and the harmonic depth of jazz, in its most important aspects: swing, funk, blues, Latin music and afro-Caribbean.

Composed of musicians with recognized backgrounds and featuring the expressive voice of Nairoby Duarte as protagonist, Retro Jazz brings us songs that were originally popular merengues, romantic boleros, tasty salsas and melancholic bachatas. The band has created rhythmically and harmoniously different sounds from the original versions, while maintaining their melodic richness and beauty of their lyrics.

The group has three albums: Jazzeando el Dominican Songbook & Volume 1, Volume 2 and Volume 3. All have achieved recognition and critical acclaim from the industry and public. The success of the first production was awarded with the renowned Premio Soberano 2014 in the category Album of the Year, and was the first jazz production to have received this award. Pengbian Sang & Retro Jazz has successfully participated in numerous national and international events.

 

Jane Bunnett and Maqueque

Five-time Juno Award winner Jane Bunnett has turned her bands and recordings into showcases for the finest musical talent from Canada, the US, and Cuba. She has been nominated for three Grammy Awards, received The Order of Canada, The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, and, most recently, The Premier’s Award for Excellence.

An internationally acclaimed musician, Bunnett is known for her creative integrity, improvisational daring, and courageous artistry. Her exploration of Afro-Cuban melodies expresses the universality of music, and her ability to embrace and showcase the rhythms and culture of Cuba has been ground-breaking. She has toured the world bringing her own special sound to numerous jazz festivals, displaying her versatility as a flutist, saxophone player, and pianist.

With Maqueque, Bunnett has created something new and phenomenal in the world of jazz. What started out five years ago as a project to record and mentor young brilliant Cuban female musicians, has become one of the top groups on the North American jazz scene. In the last year, they have played in major jazz festivals like Newport and Monterey, been featured on NPR’s program Jazz Night in America , were nominated for a Grammy Award for their newest release, Oddara , and, most recently, were voted as one the top ten jazz groups by the prestigious DownBeat magazine’s critics poll. This concert reunites Maqueque with one of the founders of the group, Daymé Arocena (courtesy of Brownwood Records), who has gone on to international stardom and is one of the brightest lights in Cuban music today.

Maqueque are: Jane Bunnett, soprano saxophone & flute; Melvis Santa, vocals & percussion;  Mary Paz, congas & vocals; Dánae Olano, piano; Tailin Marrero, acoustic & electric bass; Yissy García, drums.

 

Josean Jacobo & Tumbao

Named the “Ambassador of Afro Dominican Jazz” by Bitz magazine, the pianist and composer Josean Jacobo has created a unique style, and with the support of his group “Josean Jacobo & Tumbao” entertains audiences with an eclectic palate of sounds.

Jacobo studied Jazz Composition at the prestigious Berklee College of Music, and later moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he studied Film Scoring and Multimedia. He continues to grow as an artist as he fulfills his creative mission to integrate native Dominican rhythms with Jazz.

An academic of the Dominican Republic’s Afro-descendant cultural richness, he incorporates these elements into his compositions as a way of making them known, while preserving them for future generations. The magazine All About Jazz wrote “Josean Jacobo is among the most relevant exponents of the new generation of Latin Jazz.”

Josean Jacobo and his group Tumbao have performed at the renowned Barranquijazz Jazz Festival, Panama Jazz Festival, Dominican Republic Jazz Festival, and at the Salem Maritime Festival, along with prominent jazz clubs in the Dominican Republic and the US.

 

Justin Kauflin

Justin Kauflin is an award-winning American jazz pianist, composer, producer, educator and Quincy Jones Artist. He performs worldwide as solo artist and with his Trio, has recorded on 31 albums, composed the film score for the critically acclaimed documentary, Keep On Keepin On, published 29 original compositions and produced 4 albums as leader.

Born March 10, 1986 in Silver Spring, MD, Justin Kauflin began music at age 4 with Suzuki violin. After losing total vision by age 11 and a decade of classical violin and piano, he switched to jazz piano in high school at the Governors School for Performing Arts studying with Liz Barnes and Old Dominion University’s John Toomey. He attended the Vail Jazz Workshop, Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead Residency, and received top honors in jazz festivals across the U.S. He began performing jazz professionally at age 15, most notably with the Jae Sinnett Trio.

In 2004, Justin attended William Paterson University in New Jersey where he was taken under the wings of legendary trumpeter Clark Terry and became a member of the Clark Terry Ensemble. During this time, Justin’s relationship with mentor Clark Terry was being chronicled by friend and fellow musician, Al Hicks. Five years in the making, the resultant documentary, Keep On Keepin On, won numerous awards and made the Oscars Short List. Justin composed the film score and was subsequently signed for management by legendary producer and music icon, Quincy Jones.

Quincy Jones oversaw Justin’s second and fourth full-length albums, Dedication (2015) and Coming Home (2018). Dedication debuted at #6 on CMJ Jazz chart, #10 on Billboards Traditional Jazz Chart, hit #1 on JazzWeeks chart and remained in the top 10 spot for 9 straight weeks.

 

Berklee Global Jazz Ambassadors

The Berklee Global Jazz Ambassadors are an ensemble band chosen from the most accomplished graduate and undergraduate-level players and composers enrolled in the prestigious Berklee Global Jazz Institute (BGJI) .

An honors program at Berklee College of Music in Boston, The BGJI is a program created to encourage gifted musicians  to become student leaders of a world community, with a mission to effect positive social change. The individual musicians performing in the ensemble at the Dominican Republic Jazz Festival will be announced.

 

 

The Dominican Jazz Project

The Dominican Jazz Project began when Dominican born jazz artist Guillo Carias invited American jazz pianist Stephen Anderson to perform with him and local players for the 2014 Jazzomania Jazz Festival in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

The concert and associated clinic went beautifully, and the drummer, Guy Frómeta, invited Anderson to return to Santo Domingo to perform with him in his group for the Casa de Teatro Jazz Festival a few months later. It was there that Anderson met Sandy Gabriel, tenor saxophonist. Their collective friendship grew further with that experience, and following the festival, they agreed to record together.

What intrigued Anderson when he visited the Dominican Republic is that while Dominican musicians are very much at home playing Afro-Cuban/clave-based music, their traditional music also has a variety of other less known grooves that are not commonly played in Latin jazz today outside of the Dominican Republic. Anderson was impressed by their knowledge of modern American jazz, and Sandy Gabriel’s compositions, in some ways, were very similar to the aesthetic that he had been developing in the Stephen Anderson Trio recordings in recent years. Based on traditional Dominican grooves, the group composed new material found on their recent recording.

 

Nando Michelin

Born in Montevideo, Uruguay, Nando Michelin came to Boston to study at Berklee College of Music where he currently teaches. His discography includes over 14 CD’s as a band leader, mostly original compositions, and several more as a sideman. Nando has recorded with such artists as Esperanza Spalding, Jerry Bergonzi, George Garzone, Antonio Serrano, Jeff Ballard, Claudio Ragazzi and Richie Barshay.

Nando has performed at venues including the Wang Center, Kimmel Center for the Arts, Smithsonian, Jordan Hall, Teatro Opera (Buenos Aires), and Roy E. Disney Center for the Arts, among others.

As a producer, Nando has recorded the Award-winning “Amores Torcidos” and “The Other Side” with Katie Viqueira, and “Ave Rara” with Teresa Ines. Nando has performed with John Pattitucci, Eddie Gomez, Jerry Bergonzi, Randy Brecker, Jeff Ballard, Anat Cohen, George Garzone, Antonio Sanchez, Chico Pinheiro, David Liebman and MPB icons, Jair Rodrigues, Celso Adolfo, Jamelao, Lo Borges, Geraldo Azevedo, Flavio Venturini.

Nando is a dedicated educator, serving as Associate Professor for the Piano Department at Berklee College of Music, Tufts University, and Longy Music School, along with presenting lectures in Barcelona, Montevideo, Sao Paulo, Venezuela, South Africa, Mexico, Colombia and around the US.

 

JOSHY & su 4

A native of Montellano, Puerto Plata, Joshy Melo leads Joshy & su 4, an Afro-Dominican jazz group with an original repertoire focused on jazz fusion with island roots music, using rhythms such as mangulina, bambula, gagá, pri-pri, and congo percussion, among others. Additionally, the band offers their own particular versions of Latin and jazz classics.

Joshy & su 4 is a regular feature in the cosmopolitan jazz circuit in the country, performing at such events as Jazz Nights in La Zona (Colonial Zone), Sunset Jazz Party (Dominican Fiesta Hotel), Jazz Night at Acropolis (Acropolis) Center, Live Sessions (from Lulu Tasting Bar, Colonial Zone), Jazz in La Casa (Theater House) and The Galleries (Terraces of Mesón de la Cava, Mirador Sur).

 

FEDUJAZZ Ensemble

The FEDUJAZZ Ensemble was formed in September 2019, to create an educational and creative performance group in which students of the foundation can experiment with live improvisation, jazz, and music as a vehicle for personal growth, and strengthening of positive values for social betterment.

 

 

23rd Dominican Republic Jazz Festival – Summer Edition

CHUCHO VALDES

Winner of six GRAMMY® and three Latin GRAMMY® Awards, the Cuban pianist, composer and arranger Chucho Valdés is the most influential figure in modern Afro-Cuban Jazz.

A protean performer, as comfortable offering solo performances as leading small and large ensembles, his most recent project, Jazz Batá 2, is an exceptional work in which he revisits an idea he first explored in 1972: a piano jazz trio featuring batá drums in place of the conventional trap set. The batá are the sacred, hourglass shaped drums used in the ritual music of the Yoruba religion, better known as Santeria. Released on November 16, 2018, Jazz Batá 2 marks Chucho’s debut on Mack Avenue Records.

A few days earlier, on November 13, Chucho received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences™ in a ceremony held during Latin GRAMMY week in Las Vegas. Chucho was also inducted in the Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame, and received a DC Jazz Festival Lifetime Achievement Award, his name joining an illustrious list that includes Kenny Barron, James Moody, Ellis Marsalis, George Wein, and Dave Brubeck. Also, Chucho enjoyed another type of honor, personally satisfying as pianist and performer, as he debuted in the historic Tchaikovsky Concert Hall in Moscow, last March.

Finally, in August, Chucho and pianist, composer and educator Rebeca Mauleón presented “Decoding Afro-Cuban Jazz: The Music of Chucho Valdés & Irakere” (213 pages, Sher Music Co.) This tome includes an overview of Cuban music; biographical information; and a history of Chucho’s Irakere, a band that, with its bold fusion of Afro-Cuban ritual music, popular Afro- Cuban music styles, jazz and rock, marked a before and after in Latin jazz. The book also includes lead sheets of 11 of Chucho´s most notable compositions, including classics such as ”Misa Negra,” “Mambo Influenciado,” and “Bacalao Con Pan,” and a glossary of terms and Afro-Cuban rhythms.

A very active performer, in early 2018 Chucho completed a two-year tour with Trance, a two-piano duo project. Trancerepresented a dramatic change of sound for Chucho, as it followed the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the birth of Irakere, a group that for all intents and purposes, suggested a small big band. The extensive tour was highlighted by a live recording,Tribute to Irakere: Live at Marciac (Jazz Village / Comanche Music), which won a Grammy for the Best Latin Jazz Album in 2016.

Born in a family of musicians in Quivicán, Havana province, Cuba, on October 9, 1941, Dionisio Jesús “Chucho” Valdés Rodríguez, has distilled elements of the Afro-Cuban music tradition, jazz, classical music, rock and more, into an organic, personal style that has both, a distinct style and substance. His first teacher was his father, the great pianist, composer and bandleader Ramón “Bebo” Valdés. By the age of three, Chucho was already playing the melodies he heard on the radio at the piano, using both hands and in any key. He began taking lessons on piano, theory and solfege at the age of five and continued his formal musical education at the Conservatorio Municipal de Música de la Habana, from which he graduated at 14. A year later, he formed his first jazz trio and in 1959 he debuted with the orchestra Sabor de Cuba, directed by his father. Sabor de Cuba is considered one of the great orchestras in modern Cuban music history. As it turns out, Chucho is perhaps best known as the founder, pianist and main composer and arranger of yet another landmark ensemble in Cuban music: Irakere (1973-2005). Not well known outside Cuba, Irakere was discovered by Dizzy Gillespie, who was visiting Havana on a jazz cruise, in 1977. The following year, producer Bruce Lundvall, then president of CBS, went to Cuba on Dizzy´s advice, heard the band live and signed it on the spot.

The same year Irakere debuted, unannounced, as “surprise guests,” at Carnegie Hall as part of the Newport Jazz Festival. Selections from that performance were later included in Irakere (CBS), the band’s debut recording in the United States. The album won a Grammy as Best Latin Recording in 1979. That original band featured future global jazz stars such as Paquito D’Rivera and Arturo Sandoval, but over its rich, long life, Irakere became a rolling university of Afro-Cuban music while also featuring influential musicians such as the late Miguel “Angá” Díaz; Jose Luis Cortés (who would later found NG La Banda) and Germán Velazco.
Chucho stayed with Irakere until 2005.

Through the many changes the band experienced over the years, he remained the one, essential constant. But Irakere’s success had its personal costs, as Chucho’s talent as a pianist was largely obscured by his responsibilities as a leader.

In 1998 — having won his second Grammy the previous year for Habana (Verve), this time as a member of trumpeter Roy Hargrove’s group Crisol — Chucho launched a parallel career as a solo player and small-group leader.

An enormously fruitful period followed, highlighted by albums such as Solo Piano (Blue Note, 1991), Solo: Live in New York (Blue Note, 2001) and New Conceptions (Blue Note, 2003), as well as quartet recordings such as Bele Bele en La Habana (Blue Note, 1998), Briyumba Palo Congo (Blue Note, 1999) and Live at the Village Vanguard (Blue Note, 2000), which won a Grammy for Best Latin Jazz Album.
Since, Chucho also won Grammys for Juntos Para Siempre (Calle 54, 2007), the duet recording with his father, Bebo; and for Chucho’s Steps (Comanche, 2010), which introduced his new group, the Afro-Cuban Messengers.

JOSE ALBERIO “EL CANARIO”

Jose Alberio “El Canario” (The Canary), multi Latin Grammy Nominee, amazed the Latin music scene with his exquisite voice and ability to use his highly melodious whistling skills as a soloing instrument. He is one of the most successful and respected artists in the Salsa music scene, with a recording history spanning 40 years and 16 solo albums. Jose Alberto spent his childhood in Puerto Rico where he studied music at the Antilles Military Academy. Later he moved to New York, where he joined many local music bands as a percussionist and at the same time took advantage of the scene and showcased his exceptional unique voice, which later established him as a vocalist.

In 1974 he records his first single and in 1976 Jose Alberto made his inaugural recording as lead vocalist on the album “Curious” by Tito Rodriguez, Jr. Between 1978 and the early 80s be was lead vocalist with the grouJ1d-breaking ensemble Tipica 73. His recordings with Tipica 73 included; Salsa Encendida (1978), Charangueando con La Tipica 73 (1980), and Into the 80s (1981). He was also among the lead vocalists on Louie Ramirez’ production Noche Caliente, the first album to give popular Spanish ballads an up tempo salsa feel.

Jose Alberto El Canario formed bis own group in 1983 and recorded three albums on the Sono Max label titled Tipicamente (1984); Canta Canario (1985); and Latino Style (1986). Many of the tracks from these albums were among the favorite singles of the time, including Desesperado, La Cinta Verde and the international hit Rio Manzanare. In 1987 Jose Alberto became the first artist to record for the newly formed RMM label which catapult him internationally as a Solo artist. His first international smash-hit with RMM was in 1988 with Sueno Contigo. His glittering follow-up Mis Amores (1989) was also a chart topper. El Canario hasn’t slowed down since the 1990s. He recorded and co-produced several hit albums. Dance with Me (1991) produced by Grammy Winner Sergio George followed by Llego la Hora with tracks Nada Se Compara Contigo y Disculpeme Senora also international hits, in 1992 Llego la Hora and De Pueblo y Con Clase (1994). Then (1995) he release On Time which features a duet with undisputed Queen of Salsa, the inunortal Celia Cruz, with whom he frequently toured.

Celia chose Jose Alberto for years as her favorite co-vocalist. In 1997 Jose Alberto recorded, Back to The Mambo Tributo a Machito, features guests Grammy Winners the legendary, The King of Timbal, Tito Puente and Dave Valentin.

Jose Alberto worked with some of the most influential artists in tropical music. His productions have been co-produced by a list of high profiled composers and arrangers (winners and nominees of numerous awards such as Grammy); the 1naestro Isidro Infante, the maestro A 11gel Cuco Pena, Luis Perico Ortiz, the Maestro Tito Puente, Jose Febles, Manuel Jimenes. Paquito Pastor. Ricky Cionzalez, Ramon Sanchez, Omar Alfano, Amauri Ciutierrez, Mario Diaz among others.

In 2011, Jose Alberto El Canario proceeds to open his own independent record label, Los Canarios Music and releases his 1st production titled “Original” Limited Edition, which granted him a Latin Grammy Nomination for Best Salsa Album. The success of this release created a worldwide tour for two years. In 2012 he launched “Intimamente Salsero Live”, which is a Live compilation of some of his greatest hits. In 2014 he releases “Romantico & Rumberlo”. Jose Alberto meticulously took his time to select the songs on this grand production, which it is presently gaining much recognition on the National and International Latin radio, clubs and DJ’s.

In June 2015, Jose Alberto released under his label a production be co-produced with the world renown group el Septeto Santiaguero titled, Tributo a Los Compadres No Quiero Llanto. This majestic production counts with amazingly great featurings from some of Salsa top artists like: Andy Montanez, Oscar De Leon, Ismael Miranda, Eliades Ochoa, Aymee Nuviola, Tiburon Morales, Grupo Esencia and Edwin Bonilla. Tributo a Los Cornpadres No Quiero Llanto was nominated and won at the 16th Annual Latin Grammy Awards for Best Tropical Traditional album and, was nominated for Best Tropical Album at the 58th Annual Grammy Awards 2016.

Jose Alberto always delivers spine-tingling productions with exciting and diverse blend of new rhythms with the exhilarating characteristics Canario fans expect. Canario’s music is powerful, swinging and with his one of a kind voice, he delivers “salsa dura” at its best.

Jose Alberto recordings have been very successful which have earned numerous Gold and Platinum records, aside from very prestigious awards and recognition which very few selected Spanish artists receive.

WALTER SMITH III

From a young age, Walter began taking music very seriously. “My first gig was playing at a McDonalds in Houston with another saxophone player. I took a solo on “Blue Bossa.” It was terrible. People clapped, and I figured if I could get away with that and get applause, how could I fail?”

Although it may appear Smith is a new voice on the scene, he is widely recognized as an adept performer, accomplished composer, and inspired educator. Smith released his 5th album as a leader, “Twio” in February of 2018 with his longtime trio of Harish Raghavan and Eric Harland including guest appearances by Christian McBride and Joshua Redman.

In the Jazz tradition, Smith has developed under the wings of many of the music’s greats. Walter is/has been a member of several legendary groups (recording and/or touring) including the Roy Haynes Fountain of Youth Band, Terence Blanchard Quintet, Eric Harland’s “Voyager”, Jason Moran’s In My Mind:Monk at Town Hall, Ambrose Akinmusire Quintet, the Christian McBride “Situation”, Christian Scott group and the Sean Jones Quintet to name a few. Smith has performed all over the world participating in virtually every international festival as well as famed venues such as Carnegie Hall, the Village Vanguard, and the Kennedy Center.

In addition, he has shared the stage and/or appeared on recordings with many Jazz notables including Mulgrew Miller, Eric Reed, Billy Childs, Joe Lovano, Herbie Hancock, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Terri Lynne Carrington, Bill Stewart, Ralph Peterson, and a host of others. To date, Walter has appeared on over 100 recordings that are released worldwide. Originally from Houston, TX, Smith now resides in Boston, MA and is Chair of Woodwinds at Berklee College of Music helping to prepare the next generation of Jazz students.

BERKLEE GLOBAL JAZZ AMBASSADORS

The Berklee Global Jazz Institute (BGJI) is a performance program designed to foster creativity and musicianship through various musical disciplines, with pianist and composer Danilo Pérez as its founder and artistic director. The Berklee Global Jazz Ambassadors is an ensemble group comprised of rotating members of the student program.

The BGJI provides a comprehensive contemporary music environment where students are given opportunities to explore their creativity to the highest level possible, advance the power of music as a tool for the betterment of society, and connect musical creative thinking with the natural environment.

See the full Line-Up here