Walton was born and grew up in Dallas , Texas. After briefly attending Dillard University in New Orleans ,  he went to the University of Denver as a composition major originally, but was encouraged to switch to a music education program targeted to set up a career in the local public school system.
This switch later proved extremely useful since Walton learned to play and arrange for various instruments, a talent he would hone with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers.
Walton was tempted by the promise of New York City through his associations with John Coltrane , Charlie Parker , and Richie Powell , whom he met at various after-hours sessions around the city of Denver , Colorado. In , he decided to leave school and drove with a friend to New York City. He quickly got recognition from Johnny Garry, who ran Birdland at that time. Walton was drafted into the U. Army, and stationed in Germany, cutting short his rising status in the after-hours scene.
Upon his discharge after two years, Walton picked up where he left off, playing as a sideman with Kenny Dorham on whose album This Is the Moment! Walton made his recording debut ,  Joining the Jazztet , led by Benny Golson and Art Farmer , Walton played with this group from to In April , he recorded an alternate take of " Giant Steps " with John Coltrane, though he did not solo. Forgot Password?
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