Walter Blanding Jr. was born on August 14, 1971 in Cleveland, Ohio to a musical family and began playing the saxophone at age six. In 1981, he moved with his family to New York City, and by age 16, he was performing regularly with his parents at the Village Gate.
Blanding attended LaGuardia High School for Music & Art and continued his studies at the New School for Social Research. Living in Israel for 4 years he had a major impact on the music scene, inviting great artists such as Louis Hayes, Eric Reed and others to perform. He also taught in several Israeli schools and toured the country with his ensemble.
Walter’s first recording, Tough Young Tenors, was acclaimed as one of the best jazz albums of 1991. He has performed or recorded with numerous musicians, such as Cab Calloway, the Wynton Marsalis Septet, Marcus Roberts, Illinois Jacquet, Eric Reed and Roy Hargrove among others. His latest release, The Olive Tree, features fellow members of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.
Clarinetist, tenor and soprano saxophonist Walter Blanding Jr. currently performs as a member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.