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 2016), continues to show his evolution as a composer,
bandleader, and saxophonist. This quartet date is his third for Posi-Tone and is amazingly
supported by organist Brian Charette, vibist Behn Gillece, and drummer Steve Fidyk. It successfully combines Weiskopf's
high-powered harmonic message and stunning lyricism into an amazing performance, worthy of
Weiskopf was born in Augusta, Georgia and 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
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 fifteen
albums to his credit. Also in this time Weiskopf performed as a sideman for many notables
like Frank Sinatra, Donald Fagen and Steve Smith's Jazz Legacy. 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 six books on advanced
topics in improvisation. His first two books are Coltrane: A Player's Guide To His Harmony
and The Augmented Scale in Jazz (both co-authored with Ramon Ricker). In 1994, Weiskopf completed
Intervalic Improvisation. Weiskopf's fourth book, Around The Horn, was released in 2001
and the sequel, Beyond The Horn (co-authored with Ed RosenBerg) in 2010. His sixth and latest
book is Understanding The Diminished Scale (2012). Weiskopf was a visiting Associate Professor
part-time at the Eastman School of Music from 2001 to 2008 and currently teaches at Temple University
in Philadelphia, PA.