Winnipeg's Jazz Magazine

September/October 2014: Chick Corea

Warren Wolf: Rising Star

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If you happened to be in the crowd a couple of years ago when Christian McBride was in town with “Inside Straight,” you will remember Warren Wolf, the young vibraphonist fronting the band. This fall, he returns to the Izzy Asper Jazz Performances leading the Warren Wolf Quartet.

Warren Wolf has made a name for himself as an innovative, sensitive, multi-faceted musician who always brings excitement, subtlety, and good taste to the stage. He has quickly established himself as a leading force on the vibes, but he’s also in demand as a pianist and drummer. Many highly-regarded jazz artists, including Christian McBride, Lewis Nash, Mulgrew Miller, Jeremy Pelt, Wynton Marsalis, and Jeff “Tain” Watts, perform and record with him, and champion his work.

Wolf was born in Baltimore, and began studying piano as a child. His father provided him with an eclectic musical background, and his classical grounding in Bach, Mozart, Shostakovich, Paganini, and others infuses his playing. After high school, he attended Berklee College in Boston, where he immersed himself deeply in jazz history and technique. After a couple of years in the percussion department at Berklee and playing around Boston, Wolf returned to Baltimore to develop his own career as a performing musician.

Still in his early 30s, he is certainly accomplishing that goal. He has toured widely in North America and South America, Europe and Asia, with several groups, including Christian McBride’s “Inside Straight” and Bobby Watson’s “Live and Learn.” He appears on many recordings, including several as a leader. His self-titled recording, produced and enthusiastically endorsed by McBride, has recently been followed by Wolfgang.

Wolf is one of the next big voices in this music. He is steeped in the jazz tradition and respectful of the technical and artistic skills it demands, but he is also original, playful, and outrageously accomplished. He and his bandmates—Mark Meadows on piano, Kris Funn on bass, John Lamkin on drums—will serve up brilliant interpretations of classics along with a few originals in a show called “Ellington and More.” Wolf will also offer a masterclass while he’s in town—all interested people can soak up his insights and musical ideas.

Warren Wolf’s star is on the rise. Don’t miss your chance to catch him on the way up!

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