Walter Booker

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Walter Booker
Walter Booker.jpg
Background information
Birth nameWalter Booker
Born(1933-12-17)December 17, 1933
Prairie View, Texas, U.S.
DiedNovember 24, 2006(2006-11-24) (aged 72)
Manhattan, New York
InstrumentsDouble bass
Associated actsCannonball Adderley
Walter Booker performing with the Nat Adderley Quintet, 1993

Walter Booker (December 17, 1933 – November 24, 2006) was an American jazz musician. A native of Prairie View, Texas, Booker was a reliable bass player and an underrated stylist. His playing was marked by voice-like inflections, glissandos and tremolo techniques.


Booker moved with his family to Washington, D.C. in the mid-1940s. He played clarinet and alto sax in college with a concert band. In 1959 he began on bass while in the US Army, serving side-by-side in the same unit with Elvis Presley. He worked with Andrew White in Washington after his discharge, playing in the JFK Quintet during the early 1960s.

In 1964 Booker moved to New York City, being hired by Donald Byrd. After that, he recorded and toured with Ray Bryant, Betty Carter, Chick Corea, Stan Getz, Art Farmer, Milt Jackson, Thelonious Monk and Sonny Rollins, before joining the Cannonball Adderley Quintet in 1969, starting an association which lasted until Adderley's death in 1975. His next work was to tour the United States with the Shirley Horn Trio, along with Billy Hart on drums. During the same time, Booker designed, built, and ran the Boogie Woogie Studio in NYC, a mecca for musicians from all over the world, and through the 1980s, he played and recorded with Nat Adderley, Nick Brignola, Arnett Cobb, Richie Cole, John Hicks, Billy Higgins, Clifford Jordan, Pharoah Sanders, Sarah Vaughan, and Phil Woods.

Booker was married to the pianist Bertha Hope with whom he played in a trio that included drummer Jimmy Cobb. In addition to his own quintet, he also formed Elmollenium, based on the same core group as the Quintet (plus Bertha Hope) and dedicated to playing the music of Elmo Hope, who was previously married to his wife.

Booker died in his Manhattan, New York home on November 24, 2006, at the age of 72.


As leader[edit]

As sideman[edit]

With Cannonball Adderley
With Nat Adderley

With Nick Brignola

With Ray Bryant

With Donald Byrd

With Junior Cook

With Art Farmer

With Ricky Ford

With John Hicks

With Ronnie Mathews

With David "Fathead" Newman

With Harold Vick



External links[edit]