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Walter Booker, 72; played bass with Adderleys, Vaughan

November 29, 2006|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Walter Booker, 72, a double bass player who performed with jazzmen Cannonball Adderley and Nat Adderley and mentored young musicians at his Boogie Woogie Studio in New York, died at his home in Manhattan on Nov. 24 after suffering cardiac arrest, said his wife, pianist Bertha Hope.

Born in Prairie View, Texas, on Dec. 17, 1933, Booker began playing the double bass at age 26 when he was in the Army.

After leaving the service, he joined a quintet that caught the attention of Cannonball Adderley.

Booker's playing was marked by voice-like inflections, glissandos and techniques such as tremolo. He often danced while playing, Hope said.

In a decades-long career, Booker played with a long list of jazz giants. One of his first jobs was touring with the Shirley Horn Trio.

After moving to New York City in 1964, Booker worked with Donald Byrd and later with Stan Getz. In the 1960s Booker performed with such jazz artists as Sonny Rollins, Ray Bryant, Art Farmer, Milt Jackson, Chick Corea and Thelonius Monk.

In 1969, Cannonball Adderley invited Booker to join his group, where he remained until Adderley's death in 1975. From 1975 until 1981, Booker performed with Sarah Vaughan. During those years, he also recorded with such artists as Betty Carter and Billy Higgins.

From 1981 to 1983, he worked with John Hicks. In later years, he joined the Nat Adderley Trio and remained with the group until Nat Adderley's death in 2000.

For 15 years, he also ran a free studio where young musicians were able to learn and "were free to explore their creativity," Hope said.

In recent years, Booker performed with the Bertha Hope Trio, the Walter Booker Quintet and Elmollenium.

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