Walt Weiskopf (born July 30, 1959 in Augusta, Georgia) is an American jazz saxophonist, multi-instrumentalist, composer, author, and educator. He has released 16 CDs as a leader and performed on countless other albums as a sideman, having worked with artists such as Buddy Rich, Frank Sinatra, and Steely Dan. Author and journalist Cicily Janus regards Weiskopf as "one of the best unknown musicians in the modern scene", and JazzTimes Magazine considers him to be underrated and "a highly potent tenor saxophonist who demonstrates a strong Trane-Rollins influence".
Walt Weiskopf performing on stage
|Birth name||Walter Weiskopf|
|Born||July 30, 1959|
Augusta, Georgia, USA
|Genres||Avant-garde jazz, hard bop, post-bop, modal jazz, free jazz|
|Occupation(s)||Musician, composer, author|
|Instruments||Tenor, soprano, and alto saxophone, clarinet|
|Labels||Criss Cross, Posi-Tone|
Weiskopf was born in Augusta, Georgia and grew up outside of Syracuse, New York. He took up his first instrument, the clarinet, at age 10 and began his saxophone studies four years later. He studied at the Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester from 1977–80. After earning his BA in Music Performance he moved to New York City in September 1980.
Weiskopf began his New York career performing with the Buddy Rich Big Band in 1981 at the age of 21, and began a 14-year stint with the Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra two years later. Since then he has released 16 recordings as a leader, and holds numerous credits as a sideman.
It was 1988 when Weiskopf decided to attend Queens College of the City of New York, where he spent 2 years studying with clarinetist Leon Russianoff, later earning a Master of Arts degree in clarinet performance. Over the next two decades he went on to perform with a number of notable orchestras including the American Ballet Theatre Orchestra, the American Composers Orchestra, and the Gotham Chamber Orchestra.
In 2002, Weiskopf became a part of the popular music group Steely Dan, and was featured on the title track of their 2003 album Everything Must Go. A few years later in 2006, he began to tour and perform with the Donald Fagen Band, as well as with the Dukes of September Rhythm Revue in 2010.
In addition to performing, Weiskopf has taught at a number of different universities, as well as authored several books on jazz improvisation. Weiskopf was an Adjunct Professor at New Jersey City University in Jersey City, New Jersey from 1996–2000. From 2001 to 2009, Weiskopf was a visiting associate professor at the Eastman School of Music, and taught part-time at Temple University in Philadelphia from 2010 to 2012. He is currently an Coordinator of Jazz Studies at New Jersey City University in Jersey City, New Jersey.
In 1991 and 1993 respectively, Weiskopf co-authored Coltrane: A Player's Guide To His Harmony and The Augmented Scale in Jazz (pub. J. Aebersold) with Ramon Ricker, and completed Intervalic Improvisation (pub. Aebersold) in 1994. Weiskopf's fourth book, Around The Horn, was released in 2001 and Beyond The Horn, a sequel, co-authored with his former student Ed RosenBerg, was released in 2006. His most recent book, Understanding the Diminished Scale, was released in 2013.
Weiskopf has received three performance grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. He also was awarded funding for the creation and recording of his 2004 sextet recording Sight to Sound (Criss Cross Jazz) from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and Chamber Music America. This suite of ten movements was inspired by the work of visual artists Dalí, Picasso, Van Gogh, Miró, and others.
- As leader
- 1989 Exact Science (Iris 1002) w/ Joel Weiskopf, Jay Anderson, Jeff Hirshfield
- 1991 MindWalking (Iris 1003) w/ Joel Weiskopf, Jay Anderson, Jeff Hirshfield
- 1992 Simplicity (Criss Cross Jazz 1075) w/ Andy Fusco, Conrad Herwig, Joel Weiskopf, Peter Washington, Billy Drummond
- 1994 A World Away (Criss Cross Jazz 1100) w/ Larry Goldings, Peter Bernstein, Bill Stewart
- 1995 Song for My Mother (Criss Cross Jazz 1127) w/ Anders Bostrom, Jim Snidero, Joe Magnarelli, Scott Robinson, Joel Weiskopf, Peter Washington, Billy Drummond
- 1996 Night Lights (Doubletime Records 106) w/ Joel Weiskopf, Drew Gress, Steve Davis
- 1997 Sleepless Nights (Criss Cross Jazz 1147) w/ Andy Fusco, Conrad Herwig, Joel Weiskopf, James Genus, Billy Drummond
- 1999 Anytown (Criss Cross Jazz) w/ Joe Locke, Renee Rosnes, Doug Weiss, Tony Reedus
- 2000 Siren (Criss Cross Jazz 1187) – w/ Anders Bostrom, Jim Snidero, Joe Magnarelli, Scott Robinson, Joel Weiskopf, Doug Weiss, Billy Drummond
- 2002 Man of Many Colors (Criss Cross Jazz 1219) w/ Brad Mehldau, John Patitucci, Clarence Penn
- 2004 Sight To Sound (Criss Cross Jazz 1250) w/ Andy Fusco, John Mosca, Joel Weiskopf, Doug Weiss, Billy Drummond
- 2005 Tea For Two (Criss Cross Jazz 1265) w/ Andy Fusco, Joel Weiskopf, Paul Gill, Billy Drummond
- 2008 Day In, Night Out (Criss Cross Jazz 1300) w/ Andy Fusco, Michael Leonhart, John Mosca, Gary Smulyan, Peter Zak, Doug Weiss, Kendrick Scott
- 2010 See The Pyramid (Criss Cross Jazz 1327) w/ Peter Zak, Doug Weiss, Quincy Davis
- 2011 LIVE (Capri 74109-2) w/ Renee Rosnes, Paul Gill, Tony Reedus
- 2014 Overdrive (Posi-Tone) w/ Yotam Silberstein, Behn Gillece, Peter Zak, David Wong, Donald Edwards
- 2015 Open Road (Posi-Tone) w/ Peter Zak, Mike Karn, Steve Fidyk
- 2016 The Way You Say It (Posi-Tone) w/ Brian Charette, Behn Gillece, Steve Fidyk
- 2017 Fountain of Youth (Posi-Tone) w/ Peter Zak, Mike Karn, Behn Gillece, Steve Fidyk
- 2018 Walt Weiskopf European Quartet (Orenda Records) w/Carl Winther, Daniel Franck, Anders Mogensen
- 2019 Walt Weiskopf European Quartet, Worldwide (Orenda Records) w/Carl Winther, Andreas Lang, Anders Mogensen
- 2020 Walt Weiskopf European Quartet, Introspection (Believe Digital) w/Carl Winther, Andreas Lang, Anders Mogensen
- As Sideman
- 1982 Frank Sinatra/Buddy Rich – Concert for the Americas (DVD)
- 1984 Toshiko Akiyoshi/Lew Tabackin – Desert Lady Fantasy (BMG Victor)
- 1984 Toshiko Akiyoshi/Lew Tabackin – Ten Gallon Shuffle (Ascent Records)
- 1986 Toshiko Akiyoshi/Lew Tabackin – Wishing Peace (Concord)
- 1986 Toshiko Akiyoshi/Lew Tabackin/Frank Wess – Wishing Peace From "Liberty Suite (Ascent Records)
- 1988 Jean-Loup Longnon & His New York Orchestra – Jean-Loup Longnon & His New York Orchestra
- 1989 American Composers Orchestra – Four Symphonic Works By Duke Ellington (Musicmasters)
- 1990 Roland Vazquez – No Separate Love
- 1990 Toshiko Akiyoshi The Four Seasons (Nippon Crown)
- 1991 Toshiko Akiyoshi – Chic Lady (Nippon Crown)
- 1992 Toshiko Akiyoshi/Lew Tabackin – Carnegie Hall Concert (Columbia)
- 1993 Maurice Peress – D. Ellington/American Composers Orchestra (Musicmasters)
- 1993 Bill Warfield – The City Never Sleeps (Seabreeze)
- 1993 Toshiko Akiyoshi/Lew Tabackin – Desert Lady Fantasy (Concord)
- 1993 Toshiko Akiyoshi – Dig (Nippon Crown)
- 1994 Toshiko Akiyoshi – Night and Dream (Nippon Crown)
- 1994 The Buddy Rich Big Band – Burning For Buddy – A Tribute to the Music of Buddy Rich (Atlantic Records)
- 1994 Dave Stryker – Nomad
- 1995 Billy Drummond – Dubai (Criss Cross Jazz)
- 1995 Buddy Rich Big Band – Burning For Buddy (Atlantic)
- 1996 Jim Snidero – Vertigo (Criss Cross Jazz)
- 1996 Frank Sinatra, Jr. – As I Remember It (Angel)
- 1997 Andy Fusco – Big Man's Blues (Doubletime)
- 1997 Mark Soskin – Five Lands (TCB)
- 1997 The Buddy Rich Big Band – Burning For Buddy – A Tribute to the Music of Buddy Rich Volume II (Atlantic Records)
- 1998 Conrad Herwig – Heart of Darkness (Criss Cross Jazz)
- 1998 Cutting Edge – The Cutting Edge
- 2000 Linda Eder – Christmas Stays the Same
- 2001 Renee Rosnes – With A Little Help From My Friends (Blue Note)
- 2001 Renee Rosnes – Life on Earth (Blue Note)
- 2001 Joel Weiskopf – New Beginning (Criss Cross Jazz)
- 2002 Darius de Haas – Day Dream: Variations on Strayhorn
- 2002 Audra McDonald – Happy Songs
- 2002 Renee Rosnes – Life on Earth
- 2002 Original Broadway Cast – Thoroughly Modern Millie
- 2003 Steely Dan – Everything Must Go (Warner Bros. Records)
- 2003 Geoff Muldaur Futuristic Ensemble – Private Astronomy: A Vision of the Music of Bix Beiderbecke (Edge Music)
- 2003 Linda Eder – Broadway My Way
- 2003 Michelle Conte – Lucky Me!
- 2005 Tom Christiensen – New York School (Playscape)
- 2005 Eri Nobuchika – 鼓動 (Fearless Records)
- 2005 Donald Fagen – Morph The Cat (Reprise Records)
- 2006 Walt Weiskopf/Dick Oatts/Billy Drewes – Jam Session No. 18 (Steeplechase)
- 2006 Donald Fagen – Morph The Cat (Reprise)
- 2006 Steely Dan – The Definitive Collection (Compilation)
- 2006 Randy Sandke – The Subway Ballet
- 2006 Brian Stokes Mitchell – Brian Stokes Mitchell
- 2007 Steve Smith/Jazz Legacy – Live on Tour (Drum Legacy)
- 2007 Roland Vazquez – Quintet Live
- 2007 Various Artists – We All Love Ella: Celebrating the First Lady of Song (Compilation, Verve)
- 2008 Steve Smith's Jazz Legacy – Live at the Modern Drummer Festival (Hudson/DVD)
- 2008 Steve Smith's Jazz Legacy – Live on Tour, Vol. 2
- 2008 Pamela Luss – Magnet
- 2009 Steve Smith's Jazz Legacy – Live on Tour, Vol. 1
- 2010 John Fedchock Sextet – Live at The Red Sea Jazz Festival (Capri)
- 2010 Peter Zak – The Decider (SteepleChase)
- 2011 Vanguard Jazz Orchestra – Forever Lasting/Live in Japan (Planet Arts)
- 2011 Renolds Jazz Orchestra – Three Penny Opera – Live in Aarau (Shanti Records)
- 2012 Donald Fagen – Sunken Condos (Reprise)
- 2014 Donald Fagen/Michael McDonald/Boz Scaggs – Live at Lincoln Center – The Dukes of September (429 Records)
- 2016 Doug Webb – Triple Play
- 1991 Coltrane: A Player's Guide (Pub. J. Aebersold – co-authored by Ramon Ricker) ASIN B000PIFI54
- 1993 The Augmented Scale in Jazz (Pub. J. Aebersold) – Co-authored by Ramon Ricker) ISBN 978-1562240318
- 1995 Intervalic Improvisation (Pub. J. Aebersold))
- 2000 Around The Horn: 21 Modal Scales and Arpeggios Every Jazz Musician Needs To Know (Pub. J. Aebersold)) ISBN 978-1562240301
- 2006 Beyond The Horn: Challenging Exercises & Etudes for Modern Improvisation (Pub. J. Aebersold) – Co-authored by Ed RosenBerg) ISBN 978-1562240493
- 2010 Intervallic Improvisation – The Modern Sound: A Step Beyond Linear Improvisation (Pub. J. Aebersold)) ISBN 978-1562242596
- 2010 Giant Steps: A Player's Guide To Coltrane's Harmony for ALL Instrumentalists (Pub. J. Aebersold) – co-authored by Ramon Ricker) ISBN 978-1562240530
- 2013 Understanding the Diminished Scale: A Guide for the Modern Player (Pub. J. Aebersold)) ASIN 1562242881
- 2016 16 Moderately Challenging Jazz Solos (Pub. J. Aebersold))
- "Walt Weiskopf: Overdrive". PopMatters.com. Retrieved January 23, 2015.
- Janus, Cicily (July 13, 2010). The New Face of Jazz: An Intimate Look at Today's Living Legends and the Artists of Tomorrow. Clarkson Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony. pp. 305–306.
- Joyce, Mike. "Who's Overrated? Who's Underrated?". JazzTimes. Retrieved January 28, 2015.
- Akeny, Jason. "Walt Weiskopf Biography". AllMusic.
- "Walt Weiskopf". AllAboutJazz.com. All About Jazz. Retrieved September 15, 2014.
- "Walt Weiskopf – Overdrive". SomethingElseReviews.com. Retrieved January 25, 2015.
- "Walt Weiskopf Nonet Siren". JazzTimes. Retrieved January 25, 2015.
- "Walt Weiskopf". Last.fm. Retrieved January 25, 2015.
- "Saxophonist Walt Weiskopf talks Steely Dan tour, new album". axs.com. Retrieved September 15, 2014.
- "Walt Weiskopf". www.Amazon.com. Amazon. Retrieved September 15, 2014.
- "The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra keeps an essential American sound alive". Isthmus. Retrieved January 25, 2015.
- "Walt Weiskopf Discography". AllMusic.