WBGO Radar

Walt Weiskopf: "Open Road"

walt weiskopf open road

Walt Weiskopf has a thing or two to say on the saxophone. When he does, he speaks with clarity, concision and swing.

Weiskopf comes to work with a level of preparation few can challenge. A veteran of bands led by Buddy Rich and Toshiko Akiyoshi, he’s been a leader for twenty years and also a touring member of Steely Dan for over a decade.

Through his innovative teaching and series of books, Walt has opened the secrets of intervallic improvisation pioneered by John Coltrane for players around the world, introducing new colors to the palette of jazz.

Open Road is Weiskopf’s second Posi-Tone album and fourteenth as a leader over two decades. It’s a follow-up to 2013’s superb Overdrive, which featured him with a driving quintet.

This new album takes a leaner approach, reuniting Weiskopf with pianist Peter Zak and bringing bassist Mike Kam and Steve Fidyk into the fold.

The disk features Weiskopf’s hard-swinging originals and the standard “Angel Eyes.”

Throughout, Walt brings an open heart and tone to his playing. Like Coltrane, his complexities never sound academic or stand in the way of his melodies, but rather enhance them.

Open Road will be available from Posi-Tone June 26. Walt’s on tour with Steely Dan in July and August, but you can catch him with the Open Road quartet at Smalls in New York on October 2nd and 3rd.

In the meantime, savor this recording!

  - Tim Wilkins, WBGO digital content manager

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