Walter Urban was born in New York City, USA on April 5th, 1925. His father was a successful lawyer and his mother worked at a clothing store. He grew up in Brooklyn Heights where he attended Stuyvesant High School (1936). At age 16 he left school to pursue music full time with the intention of becoming a professional musician.
In 1938 he formed the band “The Jazz Messengers” with his brother Frank and other musicians. They performed regularly in Harlem, New York City’s most famous jazz district. After several years of performing together they changed their name to “Walter & The JMs”.
Their first album was released in 1939 under the title “Jazz Messengers”, which reached number one on the Billboard chart.
In 1940 they recorded their second album “Jazz Messengers II: The Next Generation” which was followed by another hit single in 1942 with the song “I Got Rhythm”.
Walter & The JMs continued to record until 1945 when they disbanded due to World War 2. During this period they were joined by other musicians such as Bill Evans, Bud Powell, Charlie Christian and others. Many of these musicians went on to form the group Thelonious Monk’s Orchestra.
After the war Walter formed a new group called The Quintet which recorded their first album “New Faces, New Sounds” in 1946. They followed it up with their second album “Jazz Today, For Tomorrow And Forever” in 1947 and then disbanded.
In late 1947, he joined the Count Basie Orchestra where he became one of the most prominent members of the group. While playing with Count Basie he also continued to lead his own groups under his own name.
In 1952 he left Count Basie and formed his own band which was later signed by Capitol Records where they recorded several albums.
He continued to perform, both with his own bands and as a guest with other artists, until his death on December 17th, 1979.
Although he never received the level of fame and recognition that some of his other musician friends did, he was respected by his peers. Many have referred to him as one of the best jazz musicians of all time. He was known for his strong melodic sensibility and rhythmically powerful style of playing.
He is also known for his compositions, such as “Jelly Jelly”, “Along Came Betty”, “Our Love Is Here to Stay”, “Lover Man” and many more.
A year after his death a tribute concert was held in his honor. Musicians that performed at the concert included Quincy Jones, Grover Washington Jr, Greg Mathieson, Steve Gadd, Branford Marsalis, Joey DeFrancesco and others.
In 1980 the United States Postal Service released a postage stamp in his honor (pictured above).
Here is a list of Walter’s most popular compositions:
“Along Came Betty” (1940)
“Jelly Jelly” (1941)
“Our Love Is Here to Stay” (1937)
“Lover Man” (1940)
“April in Paris” (1937)
“I Mean You” (1944)
“Lulu’s Back in Town” (1940)
“I Didn’t Know What Time It Was” (1940)
“I Didn’t Nerver Know” (1940)
“Lazy Day” (1940)
“(What Did I Do To Be So) Black And Blue” (1926)
“I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart” (1941)
“Lotus Blossom” (1942)
“Serenade In Blue” (1942)
“The Man I Love” (1940)
“Lullaby Of The Leaves” (1940)
“(I’m A) Fool To Want You” (1949)
Grover was born on April 8th, 1943 in Charlotte North Carolina. He was named after his father, Grover Henderson. His mother, Ruby, was only 16 when she had Grover.
His father was 21. Grover’s father abandoned the family soon after his birth. Grover did not meet his father until he was 30.
Grover grew up in a poor family and had little contact with his mother’s side of the family. As a result, he did not find out that his grandmother was a full blooded Cherokee Indian until he was 11 years old. The family moved a lot when he was a child.
Grover had an identical twin brother named Walter who died at birth. Grover did not learn of his twin’s existence until he was 13 years old. His mother waited until he was 18 before she told him that his father was also his grandfather.
When Grover was 13 years old his mother married Dewey Hughes. They never had a good relationship and often fought. Grover ran away from home several times.
After he ran away from home for the third time his mother had him committed to a mental hospital in 1960. He was diagnosed with Schizoid Personality Disorder.
Grover spent two years (1962-1964) at the hospital in Goldsboro, North Carolina where he was treated for depression and paranoid schizophrenia. He refused to take the drugs that were offered to him at the hospital. He instead self-medicated with marijuana and alcohol.
Grover moved to New York City in 1965. He began taking singing lessons while working as an orderly at a hospital. He also worked as an assistant at a mental institution.
In his spare time he visited clubs on the infamous Dutch Straat in Greenwich Village where he was able to perform as a singer.
In 1967 he met two musicians, David Coes and Steve Weist. The three of them formed a trio and began performing at various clubs in New York City. The trio was later joined by another musician, Steve Weber.
Grover became romantically involved with Steve Weist’s girlfriend, Kay Landis. They married in 1968. The trio later became the foundation of the popular band, Blood Sweat and Tears.
Blood Sweat and Tears had their first hit record in 1969 with “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy”. The group won three Grammy Awards in 1970. The original group disbanded in 1971.
Several versions of the group have been formed over the years.
In 1970 Grover had a relationship with a woman named Lisa Cohen which resulted in a son, Simon James they raised him together and remained close friends.
Grover is a known alcoholic and has been in several alcohol rehabilitation programs over the years. He was diagnosed with hepatitis in the mid-80’s. He has survived two heart attacks.
Grover has written several songs over the years. His most popular song is “Spinning Wheel” which was recorded by Blood, Sweat and Tears.
Grover remains a popular singer and performer. He currently lives in New York City. He has three sons.
New York City, New York
Popular recording artist and singer.
$100,000 annual salary.
Grover has a “live and let live” attitude towards law enforcement and other government officials. If an officer can overlook the fact that he has a few criminal friends then he will be treated with respect. If not, he will not hold it against them.
Grover is a heavy drinker and can be abusive when drunk. He has been in several alcohol rehabilitation programs.
Grover has a love for marijuana and psychedelics and is not afraid to speak out in their favor. He has been arrested several times for possession of illegal substances.
Grover is seen as a non-conformist by most people. He does not have a “rat race” job and sees no need to compete with others. He lives his life on his own terms.
Grover is an average looking man. He stands at 5’9″ and weighs about 190 pounds. His hair is dark brown and he has brown eyes.
He has several tattoos: a peace symbol on his upper right arm, a cloven hoof on his upper left arm, the words “Hell’s Angels” on his back and “Mom” on his chest.
Grover usually wears a black leather jacket, jeans and cowboy boots.
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Sources & references used in this article:
Walter Benjamin’s urban thought by M Savage – Thinking space, 2000 – books.google.com
The calcium content of Connecticut forest litter by WU Garstka – Journal of Forestry, 1932 – academic.oup.com
Walter Benjamin’s urban thought: a critical analysis by M Savage – Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 1995 – journals.sagepub.com
Walter Benjamin, urban studies and the narratives of city life by M Keith – A Companion to the City, 2008 – books.google.com
AIDS risk reduction among a multiethnic sample of urban high school students by HJ Walter, RD Vaughan – Jama, 1993 – jamanetwork.com
A Sociolinguistic Description of Detroit Negro Speech. Urban Language Series, No. 5. by WA Wolfram – 1969 – ERIC
Urban deer management: a community vote by HJ Kilpatrick, WD Walter – Wildlife Society Bulletin (1973-2006), 1997 – JSTOR
An analysis of an urban heat sink by WD Urban – 1976 – US Department of Commerce …
Survey of emissivity variability in thermography of urban areas by WH Carnahan, RC Larson – Remote sensing of Environment, 1990 – Elsevier