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Bounce

Anything can happen when pianist/composer Michael Wolff enters a studio. From the heavy grooves of his band Impure Thoughts to intimate solo and duo recitals, Wolff the recording artist is a man of many skills and moods. “It’s never intellectual for me when I record,” he emphasizes. “It’s about what I feel.” Michael Blieden Wolff (born July 31, 1952) is an American jazz pianist and recording artist. He is known for serving as the bandleader on The Arsenio Hall Show (1989–94).

Wolff was honored as a Steinway Artist and obtained a Broadcast Music, Inc. award. Wolff left college in 1972 to begin his music career, joining Cal Tjader's band.  He then joined Cannonball Adderley's band in 1975. In 1977, he formed the band Answering Service with saxophonist Alex Foster. Wolff worked with other famous artists including Warren Zevon, The Thad Jones/ Mel Lewis Orchestra, Sonny Rollins, Wayne Shorter, Jean-Luc Ponty, Children On The Corner, Terri Lyne Carrington, Tony Williams, and Christian McBride.

Wolff is on the faculty at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music.[2] In the 2010s, he formed the jazz-funk band called the 'Wolff & Clark Expedition', consisting of Wolff and Clark as band leaders, with Steve Wilson and Lenny Pickett as saxophonists, and James Genus as the bassist.

Acclaimed jazz pianist Michael Wolff has confirmed a February 7th, 2020 release date for his joyful new album, ‘Bounce’. Exuberant, beautiful and able to convey a range of emotions, ‘Bounce’ reflects Wolff’s upbeat state of mind following his ‘miraculous’ recovery from aggressive cancer. He comments, “Isn’t it great to be alive?  I’m celebrating life every day. This album is dedicated to that celebration. Come Bounce with us!!!!!! I have the good fortune to play with these fantastic musicians: Ben Allison on bass and Allan Mednard on drums.  Their playing, ideas and vibes imbue this music with creativity and soul. It’s really a listenable album.  I thought about what I’d like to listen to at home, and tried to make that album.”

‘Bounce’ will be released by Sunnyside Records, and features an engaging range of songs, including the aptly named ‘Cool Kids’, written by Wolff’s son Nat (and featuring Nat on lead vocals as well). Other tracks evoke ‘West Side Story’ or nods to the Great American Songbook. Album highlights include the memorable title track, the lovely ballad ‘Long Lost’, the strong ‘Caribbean Rain Dance’ and ‘Omar Sharif’ by David Yazbek, from THE BAND’S VISIT musical. In all, the album is mostly original compositions by Wolff, a tune by Ben Allison, and two covers: ‘Omar Sharif’ and the standard, ‘You and The Night and The Music’.

Wolff notes, “‘Bounce’ is filled with music like the music I grew up listening to and playing. It transcends jazz and it feels like the best album I’ve ever made. It also comes at such a perfect time for me. It expresses my inner soul and the joy of living and making music. It’s the most important release of my life.”

The upcoming album and new tour dates mark a fresh start for Wolff, following his recent recovery from cancer. He comments, “I’m so happy to be back playing and recording and feeling well again. It’s been a monstrous journey, which I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.  But the outcome is miraculous.”

Musicians:
Michael Wolff – piano
Ben Allison – bass
Allan Mednard – drums
Nat Wolff – vocals

Episode #208

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