Walter Page

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Count Basie, Bennie Moten, jazz, Blue Devils, “walking bass,” University of Kansas






Walter Page  Born in 1900, Walter Page’s love of music is still known today. Originally from Gallatin, Mo., Page’s infatuation with music began with his Aunt Lillie, who was a music teacher. At 10 years old, Page moved to Kansas City with his mother where he learned how to play various intruments in his neighborhood band. Page often attributes his musical success to his Lincoln High School, located at 2111 Woodland Ave., band teacher, who was a retired military bandleader, named Major N. Clark Smith. After graduating from high school, Page attended the University of Kansas to complete a three-year music program in just one year. During his time at KU, he played with the Bennie Moten Orchestra in Kansas City on the weekends. He went on the play with the Kansas City Blue Devils and the Count Basie Orchestra. During this time, he developed his own style of jazz music. Page was known for his technique called “walking bass,” which is a style where the bassist played four beats, rather than just two. Even with Page basically created a new way of playing the bass, his name isn’t quite as well-known as some of the other greats such as Charlie Parker and Bennie Moten. This may be because Page died at a younger(er) age of 57 from pneumonia while on tour in Chicago. But, his memory still lives on.