A potent tenor saxophonist and composer firmly in the tradition of John Coltrane
and Sonny Rollins
, Walt Weiskopf was born in Augusta, GA, and grew up in Syracuse, NY.
Upon moving to New York City, he joined the Buddy Rich Big Band in 1981 at the age of 21; two years later, Weiskopf signed on with the Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra
, concurrently forming his own quartet with brother Joel on trumpet, Jay Anderson
on bass, and Jeff Hirshfeld
on drums. His debut, Exact Science, appeared in 1989, followed a year later by Mindwalking; Simplicity, released in 1992, topped the European jazz charts for four weeks. After 1993's A World Away, Weiskopf for the first time departed from original compositions to record 1995's Night Lights, a collection of standards; 1997's Song for My Mother, however, returned his own material to the forefront. A graduate of the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, Weiskopf and fellow Eastman alum Ramon Ricker teamed in 1990 to write the books Coltrane: A Player's Guide to His Harmony and The Augmented Scale in Jazz; in 1994, Weiskopf also published Intervalic Improvisation, a player's guide for broadening the scope of modern jazz improvisation. In 1996, he joined drummer Rick Hollander
's quartet, and as a headliner returned in 1999 with Anytown. Siren was issued a year later. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi