Rose was a mainstay of the jazz scene in San Francisco during the 1940s and 1950s. He was the pianist for Lu Watters's group, the Yerba Buena Jazz Band, for its entire existence, from 1939 to 1950. Following this he played with Bob Scobey (1951) and Turk Murphy (1952-54), then did mainly solo work for the rest of his career. He recorded for Jazz Man Records in 1941-42, did several albums for Good Time Jazz, and also recorded for Columbia Records. He did an album in 1982, which was his first release as a leader in 24 years.
In 1993, he made an appearance as the Hurley Bank Guard in Bitter Harvest.
- Ragtime Piano Masterpieces (Columbia Records, 1953)
- Wally Rose (Good Time Jazz, 1953)
- Cake Walk to Lindy Hop (Columbia, 1955)
- Ragtime Classics (Good Time Jazz, 1958)
- " Whippin' The Keys ( Blackbird, 1971 )
- Revisited (Stomp Off, 1982)
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