“Jeremy Walker may become the Duke Ellington of the early 21st century.” — Jazz Ink
Walker (known to some as “Boot”) is a prolific composer and pianist who started playing the saxophone at age ten in his hometown of Minneapolis, MN. At fourteen, he began studying jazz and has been intimately involved in this art form ever since—studying with Frank Kimbrough, David Berkman, and Benny Golson among others. In 2003, he founded the jazz club Brilliant Corners which received national acclaim, including Downbeat’s “One of the Top 100 Jazz Clubs Worldwide” with Walker being voted City Pages “Best Local Impresario.” He also founded Jazz is NOW, an educational arm of Brilliant Corners, with a kick-off concert by the Wynton Marsalis Quintet and a surprise appearance by Itzahk Perlman. To help the Dakota Jazz Club broaden their audience, Walker was also founded the Late Night series which continues to this day.
In 2005, an undiagnosed medical condition (recently discovered to be Lyme Disease) forced Walker to stop playing the saxophone; he turned to piano and composition, earning accolades including a Jerome Foundation Travel/Study grant and collaborations with Alvin Ailey alumni-TU Dance-and Zenon Dance Company. In his professional career, he has worked with Anthony Cox, Wessell “Warmdaddy” Anderson, Ted Nash, Matt Wilson, Vincent Gardner, Ron Miles, Carei Thomas and other notable musicians. Walker has been commissioned by Jackson State University, North Dakota Jazz, and Bethel University, and has written over seventy compositions for his bands: Boot Camp, Small City Trio, Boxcar, and The Bootet. His current projects include works involving opera, film—scoring “Photographic Justice: The Corky Lee Story”—and jazz ensemble with solo voice and choir, 7 PSALMS. Walker also authors a series of articles on culture for Walker Art Center and mnartists.org.
In 2013, Walker was profiled in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, on Minnesota Public Radio, on Jazz 88 KBEM, and KFAI’s Rhythm and Grooves. His struggle with Late Stages Lyme Disease was featured in the Pioneer Press.
In 2014, Walker released his most ambitious recording to date: 7 PSALMS. The album was released in MARCH 2014 on CD Baby, iTunes and Amazon and was listed in StarTribune as one of the 2014 albums in the Twin Cities Critics Tally with Walker listed as one of the “Jazz Heros” in JazzPolice. For more information, visit the 7 PSALMS tab on this website.
In October 2014, Minnesota Orchestra named Walker Curator of the new Jazz in the Target Atrium series at Orchestra Hall bringing together national musicians with the regional Atrium Jazz Ensemble. On December 2, Wynton Marsalis introduced the series in the 200-seat space which launched with The Bootet: Ted Nash (saxophones), Marcus Printup (trumpet), Vincent Gardner (trombone) from the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra plus Anthony Cox (bass), JT Bates (drums) and Walker (piano). To watch a two-minute video by videographer Brendan Lauer about the series kick-off, click here.
Jazz in the Target Atrium was featured in the Pioneer Press, StarTribune, KFAI, JazzPolice (The Year in Jazz) and Minnpost, listing the series in its 5 Biggest Trends in the Twin Cities Arts Scene (“A step toward our own Jazz at Lincoln Center or SFJAZZ?”) and in its review, ”You can’t come out much stronger than Walker and his group … the series still has three promising concerts to come.”