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Drummer Was Much In DemandCopyright © 2002
Walter Bolden was the drummer in a local trio in Hartford when Stan Getz came through town one night in 1950, played with the band at the Sundown Club, and liked what he heard. The saxophonist took the trio on tour, and effectively launched the New York jazz careers not only of Bolden, but also of Horace Silver.
Walter Lee Bolden studied music at college in Hartford, and was influenced by his contemporaries in bebop, notably Kenny Clarke, Max Roach and Art Blakey. He relocated to New York in 1951, and played with a range of important jazz artists.
He recorded with Getz for the Roost label in 1950-1, and was a member of Gerry Mulligan's 10-piece band in 1951, and also worked with Howard McGhee, Horace Silver, Teddy Charles, Henri Renaud, Tony Scott, Coleman Hawkins, Zoot Sims, Al Cohn, J. J. Johnson, Jackie McLean, and the vocal trio of Lambert, Hendricks and Ross, among others.
According to the New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, he gave up performing in the early 60s until the early 70s, but became the director of music for Project Create in Harlem between 1973-5, and also worked on the Jazzmobile.
He returned to recording and performing thereafter, working with Howard McGhee, Billy Mitchell, Junior Mance, Earl Coleman, Walter Bishop, and others. He toured with both Jon Hendricks and Annie Ross in the late 90s.
He died of cancer, and is survived by his wife, Mabel, and a brother.