Walter Smith III: Live At Berklee

Written by Patrick Jarenwattananon from WBGO-FM

If you’ve put an ear to some of the most talked-about jazz bands of the last few years, you’ve likely heard saxophonist Walter Smith III. He’s kept the tenor chair in the Ambrose Akinmusire quintet, the Terence Blanchard quintet and Eric Harland’s Voyager band, as well as the new NEXT Collective cover-band supergroup. In there, he’s found time for his own bands, and recently signed a contract with Concord Records to document one of them. Here, he gathers an ensemble of mostly peers to show off the material he’s been developing.

The Houston native returns to his alma mater, Berklee College of Music, for this installment of The Checkout: Live. WBGO and NPR Music present a live radio broadcast and video webcast of the Walter Smith III quintet at Boston’s Cafe 939, starting at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday, March 7. For the full concert archive of this series, visit

  • Walter Smith III, tenor
  • Matt Stevens, guitar
  • Taylor Eigsti, piano
  • Harish Raghavan, bass
  • Clarence Penn, drums
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