Current Issue / DU Alumni

Drummer Walter Sorrentino is a weekend bluesman

Walter Sorrentino

It was a wedding that introduced Walter Sorrentino, BSBA ’80, to his lifelong love of music.

“When I was in the second grade I was seated next to the drummer at my cousin’s wedding. I thought that was the coolest thing to play those drums.”

Forty years later, the Denver city appraiser still feels that way, especially when he’s playing percussion for the bluesy Jill Watkins Band.

The Chicago born-and-bred Sorrentino says he has focused on the blues because the genre is “a lot more expressive than rock and roll. It just sends out a more pertinent message than rock does nowadays.”

Sorrentino came to Colorado to attend DU because of its “perfect” location. “I thought Denver was in the mountains, and I wanted to be in the mountains,” he recalls. But while he found that Denver wasn’t the mountain city he expected, he also discovered that it supports the blues.

“There’s a tight-knit and highly active blues community here,” he says, noting that there are a number of female-fronted blues bands, like his own, in the Denver area.

Although the Jill Watkins Band has had a couple of out-of-state gigs, the band mostly plays along the Front Range from Pueblo to Fort Collins. They try to play about three weekends a month and released their first CD, Just One Good Man, in March.

“Other than Jill, the rest of us are family guys. We all have day jobs,” Sorrentino says.

Although his 12-year-old twin daughters and 17-year-old son don’t really care for their dad’s style of music, Sorrentino says they do like the band. “We have rehearsals at my house on Monday nights, so that’s pizza night and they really like that.”

Music has not only been a creative outlet for Sorrentino; it was therapeutic as well when his wife died in 2000.

“Playing helped me to recover,” he recalls. “It helped me through some tough times.

“We’re just a bunch of old guys who, instead of playing cards on the weekends, play music.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *