Funeral and burial services will be held Saturday (July 30) for Nashville saxophonist Walter Riley King. He died on July 19 at age 71.
The musician toured with blues great B.B. King for more than 35 years and created arrangements for the superstar’s band. He recorded with country stars Roy Clark, Mac Davis and The Oak Ridge Boys, as well as with Etta James, Eric Clapton, Albert King, Z.Z. Hill, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Billy Ocean, Hot, Joe Tex, Denise LaSalle and others.
Walter Riley King was born in Mississippi and raised near Memphis as the eldest of 19 children. He came to Nashville to attend Tennessee State University, where he performed in “The Aristocrat of Marching Bands” for three years.
Following graduation, he became a music educator working with the bands at Goodlettsville High School and Pearl High. He also entertained in the Nashville R&B groups The Tyrone Smith Revue and the Jimmy Church Band, among others.
In addition to B.B. King, he went on to perform with The Temptations, The Dells, Hot, Gladys Knight, Dr. John, U2, Lena Horne, Nancy Wilson, The Muscle Shoals Horns and the Nelson Riddle Orchestra.
In the studio, he worked with such top-ranked producers as Quincy Jones, Phil Ramone, Glen Frey, Jerry Wexler and Barry Beckett.
Walter Riley King was a longtime resident of Omaha and served as guest conductor of the Omaha Youth Symphony. He was also a songwriter, actor, flutist and black-belt Karate master.
He is survived by partner Brenda King and by sons Christopher King, Brandon King and Walter Burns, as well as by six grandchildren and 12 siblings.
There will be a viewing today (July 29) at Highland Hills Funeral Home, 2422 Brick Church Pike. Visitation will be tomorrow (July 30) from noon to 1 p.m. with the funeral service to follow at Mt. Nebo Baptist Church, 2416 Clifton Ave. The interment will be at Greenwood North Cemetery.
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