Walter Smith III - TWIO


Side A
Ask Me Now
Walter Smith III
Nobody Else But Me
Walter Smith III
On The Trail
Walter Smith III
We'll Be Together Again
Walter Smith III
Side B
I'll Be Seeing You
Walter Smith III
Walter Smith III
SocIal Call
Walter Smith III
Walter Smith III


  • Artist : Walter Smith III
  • Label : Whirlwind Recordings
  • Format : 1 x 12" (g)
  • Color : Tri-Color Vinyl
  • CountryFrance
  • GenresJazz
  • Pressing500 Copies
  • Estimated shipping dateDelivery within 2 to 7 days


The joyful freedom of Ferde Grofé’s ‘On the Trail’ captures precisely the intended spirit of Walter Smith III’s new album Twio. Collaborating closely with established colleagues in double bassist Harish Raghavan and drummer Eric Harland, the ​Texas-native, California-based tenor saxophonist & composer presents his own illuminating vision of the saxophone trio while also inviting, along the way, guest appearances by Joshua Redman (tenor saxophone) and Christian McBride (double bass).

Working and touring for the last fifteen years, playing multi-layered compositions in different configurations with artists such as Terence Blanchard,​ Roy Haynes,​ Sean Jones, Ambrose Akinmusire and with his own bands, Smith also began to revisit classic jazz songs. He elaborates: “I would try and alter tunes quite radically by rearranging, reharmonizing and altering meters to a point where I was barely playing the original song; but realized that I was confusing the point of playing the songs, so I began to interpret them more directly, as they were first meant to be played. For this album, out of around twenty recorded songs, I chose nine pieces that I have a particular relationship with and have always loved playing, including some which are maybe less frequently heard”.

While that concept appears straightforward, this recording (the saxophonist’s fifth as leader) reveals much about the ultra-confidence and musicality which these established players bring to the table, entering the studio to intuitively share ideas and discover uncharted paths. Taking sparkling dual-tenor feature ‘Contr​a​fact’ as an illustration (crafted around ‘Like Someone in Love’, but in a five meter), Smith explains: “I simply sent Josh the melody and we showed up and played... With no rehearsal, it was just ‘OK, here we go’; and that’s what I wanted for this project – just fun and live; an open sound without a chordal instrument defining the harmony, rhythm or direction. I had ideas for endings, for example, but on once instance after I had said to Christian, “We’ll close it like this”, when we got to that point he did something different which was perfect because it helped the music feel loose. We were all receptive to that organic process”.

Here, Thelonious Monk’s ‘Ask Me Now’ waltzes and trips through “a million chord changes”, Smith ever the ebullient, characterful melodicist; then Harish Raghavan’s pacey, bass propulsion of the popular Jerome Kern ‘Showboat’ tune, ‘Nobody Else But Me’, is embellished by Harland’s coruscating percussion. Sammy Fein’s amiable ‘I’ll Be Seeing You’ becomes buoyed by McBride’s clear, strutting bass; and the evergreen groove of Wayne Shorter’s ‘Adam’s Apple’ is fascinating in fizzing drum-featured trio guise. Two duo spots offer Carl Fischer’s ‘We’ll Be Together Again’ for sax and drums (“one of the best A-sections of a song ever written”) and a blithe sax-and-bass promenade on Gigi Gryce’s ‘Social Call’. Jimmy Rowles’ ‘The Peacocks’ is bathed in luscious tenor sonorities, and that Dayna Stephens arrangement of ‘On the Trail’ is a six-minute wonder as Smith and Redman josh genially across the rhythm section.

“I was pleased that Twio ended up being so close to what I wanted it be”, enthuses Smith. “It was unlike any other recording I've done, because there was nothing for me to actually prepare other than go along to the studio, play and hang out. The point of the album is ‘community’ – normally when we tour with original music, it's hard to invite people up on the stage to join the band because they are simply unfamiliar with that particular repertoire that I or someone else in the group has written. This project represents something that everyone of all levels can relate to because it presents familiar and accessible songs that we've all grown up playing. The plan is that when we tour, I’ll use that opportunity to invite the community to come sit in, have fun, and share ideas, which I imagined this music was all about in the first place.”


"Twio presents terrific tenor saxophonist Walter Smith III in a tight, tight, tight trio setting."
DownBeat Magazine (Editor's Pick)

"A fine session."
★★★★ Jazzwise Magazine

“TWIO deconstructs the jazz repertory’s hidden gems with knowing references, closely articulated finesse and immaculate bass and drum support.”
Financial Times

“Straight-swinging, but bending the familiar with flawless musicianship.”
The Guardian

“Fresh sounding and deeply satisfying.”
Jazz Views

"Spiraling, discursive solos."

"Smith's tone and melodicism are just killing with a flow of ideas that's vast and beautiful."
DownBeat Magazine (Editor's Pick)

​"​The clarity, economy and fluency of Smith’s ideas and the interplay in the band is compelling.​"
London Jazz​

​"I​ntricate soloing over clever grooves​... Impressive impressions."
Jazz Weekly​

​"A treat from start to finish!​"
Step Tempest

​"​The clarity, economy and fluency of Smith’s ideas and the interplay in the band is compelling.​"
London Jazz​

​"​Twio achieves a near perfect balance between accessibility and musical excellence​."
★★★★​ ​All About Jazz

“An enlightened version of the saxophone trio.”
Rhein Main Magazine

“Accessible as this music was originally intended to be... A wonderful album.”
Digitale Jazz Zeitung

Smith has a seductively elegant tone, perfect technique, and expressive play... All delivered with casually deceptive ease... “
CD Tipps

WDR 3 Radio

"Lively, free and fun."
Medien Info

"Walter Smith III has an unmistakably supple tone that is nevertheless grounded in blues... Thrilling."
★★★★★ Fono Forum

"Smith's fluid, sonorous sound thrills with quickening tempos, staccato phrasing and solo cadences."
★★★★★ Jazz 'n' More

"The interplay within this piano free trio is dazzling."
Musik an sich

"A refreshingly different interpretive style."
Musikreviews Magazine

"A total hit."

"Smith is laid back with an amazing tone and incredible drive."
Lira Musikmagazin

​"​Serious tenor saxophone lyricism​."
Bird is the Worm​

​"Unadulterated enjoyment."
★★★★★​ Saarbrücker Zeitung

​“Tradition becomes the avant-garde of the moment... A new and significant statement on the tenor.”
Jazzthetik Magazine

“Wonderfully modern.”

“Both a traditionalist who has internalized large parts of jazz history and a very progressive composer and instrumentalist with fresh ideas.”
SWR2 Jazz Time

“{Walter Smith III] presents his own illuminating vision of the saxophone trio.”
DrumHead Magazine

“Catchy melodies meet thrilling rhythms, sometimes contrasted with quieter passages... A combination of playfulness and improvisation.”
Der Hörspiegel

“Wonderfully swinging music... Recommended.”
Radio Dreyeckland

"An imaginative and successful take on what a saxophone trio without a piano or guitar can do."
Jazz Journal

"Music of consistent quality... Impeccable."
Citizen Jazz

"A tightrope-walking sax-bass-drums trio date in the Sonny Rollins mold, with the imaginative tenor saxophonist Smith unleashing torrents of bracing melody over the roiling rhythms of drummer Eric Harland and bassists Christian McBride and Harish Raghavan."
The Inquirer

Walter Smith III