Adam Walter Jazz Quartet, The
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"Spreading Joy Through Jazz"

Spreading joy through jazz
By Kyle Geller

Listening to the sweet chime and rhythm of his saxophone, children at Chico's Rosedale' Elementary after school program sat with open mouths and open ears, anxious to hear the next tune.
The man behind the saxophone was fourth year Chico State student Adam Walter.
Giving back to the community is something he has a real talent for, musically and personally.
Accompanied by fellow Chico State band member Nate Strock on bass guitar, the small gym was lit up with a classy selection of upbeat jazz melodies.
There was no reason needed other than the sweet satisfaction of showing the children what years of hard work and practice have helped Walter develop his craft and as a person.
"Music has influenced how I view life," Walter explained to the children. "Interacting with other people through music has opened my mind to new possibilities. "
Walter said he plays his tenor and alto saxophones whenever he gets the chance. Practicing at any moment available to strengthen his skills is something he takes great pride in.
His dedication within the music program at Chico State has given him opportunities to play for bands such as the Midnight Six Jazz Combo, Chico State's Jazz Express, The TuMadre's Hom Section, Chico State's Wind Ensemble, and pep band for the men's basketball games.
As a professor, mentor, and friend to Walter, Rocky Winslow believes his student is a very talented musician who has the opportunity to make a successful living playing music.
"He stands out over all the other students with his music vision," said Winslow. "He can see with his ears better than I do."
Growing up in Saratoga, Walter developed his taste in music, especially jazz from his father, Dale. His parents would push him to practice, giving encouragement and paying for lessons and instruments.
"When I play, people don't understand the commitment," said Walter. "There is a lot of behind the scenes people don't know about. It takes up a lot of time."
With his music major and environmental studies minor, Walter rarely gets to go home and relax. He works part time at the Associated Students Recycling Center and bottles beer for Butte Creek Brewing Company. He plays with his bands every night, doing shows at Chico restaurants such as 33 Steaks, Booze and Jazz, The Black Crow, Left Coast Pizza and Duffy's.
"He is never home," said roommate Reid Griggs.
"When he is home we usually play (music) together or talk about conspiracy theories."
This upcoming weekend is very special for Walter, as the Chico State Jazz Express will be playing with professional tenor saxophonist John Gunther, a prominent New York jazz musician. Gunther also plays clarinet, flute and is a talented composer.
Gunther is known for his success in cities such as Boston, New York and Los Angeles, and is good friends with Winslow.
The chance for Walter to play with Gunther is courtesy of his mentor, Winslow.
"Chico is a great place to practice music," said Winslow. "Adam should stay at Chico State and look toward his master's."
Such credentials sound appealing to Walter, as one day he wishes to write original music and tour across the United States with a band.
The hours of practice and concise precision of playing his saxophones takes time away from him helping out with environmental projects, for which he has a passion.
'Walter strives to make the world better at any cost, whether it be filling the air with his symphonic melodies or discussing the community's well-being.
Music is a big influence on Walter's life, but he knows he has a lot more to learn and realizes he should never be satisfied with the level of his playing.
"I can't see myself doing anything else but play music," said Walter.
Usually when Walter plays "gigs" outside of Chico State such as performances at 33 Steaks, Booze and Jazz, Left Coast Pizza, The Black Crow and Duffy's, he gets paid.
He played for the students at Rosedale Elementary for free, taking his time away from his classes and busy schedule to "spread the joy of music through jazz."

"Facebook Public Profile" -

"Chico's "It" Group"

Left Coast Pizza Company - Chico, CA

Thursday - April 14, 2005


Stephen Fratallone/Jazz Connection Magazine

Copyright photos by Stephen Fratallone/Jazz Connection Magazine

It's amazing what six months time will do to improve the sound of a group - that, and the four D's: the Development of raw talent, the Dedication to one's own craft, the Drive to excel, and the Determination to raise the personal and corporate bar to the next level. Such is the case with the jazz group, Midnight Six.

Comprised of six music students from California State University, Chico, who dig the modern straight-ahead sounds of jazz, Midnight Six is fast becoming the "It" group of jazz in this Northern California college town of about 60,000.

Judging by how enthusiastically they were received from patrons during their two-hour gig at Chico's Left Coast Pizza Company on April 14, they may have arrived. Members of Midnight Six are Mike Torres, trumpet/flugelhorn; Adam Walter, alto and tenor saxophones; Juan Aguilar, trombone; Phillip Bailey, keyboards; and the Strock Brothers - Nate on bass and David on drums.

When these young musicians made their debut last November for an on-campus university event (calling themselves at the time the Jazz Combo From Chico State), they sounded good, portraying themselves as a finesse band of sorts, as opposed to being an ensemble that plays "in-your-face" music. The group's strength and appeal lie in its tight ensemble sound and imaginative improvisational skills.

These same characteristics about the group hold true today, whose musical grab bag consists of succulent supplies from modern jazz pioneers such as Lee Morgan, Thelonious Monk, Herbie Hancock, Horace Silver, Miles Davis, Hank Mobley, and Antonio Carlos Jobim, to name a few. However, time and the diligent discipline of those four D's have turned the Midnight Six into a tighter, smoother, and more cohesive unit. Now they sound better than good, honing a more energetic and aggressive sound.

Torres and Walter are the backbone of the Midnight Six front line. That's taking nothing away from Aguilar, who plays excellent trombone, but unfortunately, he did not always play as part of the triumvirate horn section.

Torres' flugelhorn - graceful, lyrical and ever swinging with its satin-like tone - was a stand out on the Miles Davis classic, Freddie The Freeloader, and the Count Basie hit, Shiny Stockings.

Walter's sax was all over the place on the rocking Hamp's Boogie Woogie, on Kenny Garrett's Wayne's Thing, and on the funky ditty, Chicken.

The Midnight Six rhythm section kept everything tight and "in the pocket" with Bailey "tickling the ivories" well all evening. To show that infectious music has no limits, Bailey himself was dancing and groovin' around his electric piano during a few of the funk pieces that were played.

Bassist Nate Strock's ability for composition and arranging was spotlighted on his Gringo Swingo, a piece where "Latin meets swing."

Vocalist Molly Mahoney, a sophomore vocal performance major at Chico State, joined Midnight Six on the jazz standard, Love Me Or Leave Me, as did trumpeter Cory Dearborn who was featured on the melancholy opus, Autumn Leaves.

Midnight Six opens for the Chico State Jazz X-Press concert on Saturday, April 16 at 7:30 p.m. at the Harlan Adams Theatre on the campus of CSU, Chico. The concert is titled "Funky Fusion: The Jazz X-Press From The Funky Side." Guest artist performing with the Jazz X-Press is trumpeter Greg Gisbert.

Left Coast Pizza Company is Chico's new roosting spot for jazzers to take in the local jazz scene. Local groups will be featured there every Thursday evening, according to owner Chris Ardrey. It's the perfect locale with spacious flooring and an interior design that reflects a jazz-friendly atmosphere. Etched on the walls are life-size paintings of jazz musicians. Street signs from New Orleans and an old alto saxophone perch the top of said walls like trophies.

Hosting weekly jazz at Left Coast Pizza Company could be Chico's belated response to the Shakey's Pizza Parlor Dixieland jazz craze from three decades ago. Left Coast Pizza Company is located at 800 Bruce Road, Suite 100 (at the corner of Bruce and East 8th Street). And the pizza is good, too!


Jazz Connection Magazine . April 2005 .

- Jazz connection Magazine


Recordings of live performances, EP due out summer of 2009.



The Adam Walter Quartet aims to honor the tradition of the jazz idiom though impressive improvisition, inventive arrangments, and contemporary original compositions. The great jazz standards come to life like never before as young hungry talent sink their teeth in, while new compositions truly take performances to the next level. With seasonal residences at restaurants and experience playing numerous venues in the greater Houston area, The Adam Walter Jazz Quartet's members have supremely impressive credentials for their young ages. Half of the group have Bachelors of Arts Degrees in Music, and three out of the four received scholarships for performance. For a group of guys in their twenties, they boast an impressive combined 30+ years of playing experience. Look for them to continue to impress and make a name for themselves in the local scene.