It's difficult to pigeonhole Michael Wolff. The celebrated pianist/composer has been able to successfully navigate a career between commercial and non-commercial music. His performance credits include Cannonball Adderley, Nancy Wilson, Warren Zevon and, perhaps most memorably, a high-profile stint as musical director for The Arsenio Hall Show
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, as the title so brazenly suggests, Wolff leaves little doubt as to where his musical passion lies. The disc was recorded in 2001 with legendary bassist John B. Williams and drummer Victor Jones, both longtime associates of Wolff.
The selections, all familiar gems by the likes of Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock, are performed in a straight-ahead fashion, spontaneous and uncontrived. With the rock-solid support of Williams and Jones, Wolff throws caution to the wind and explores the outer fringes of harmony and tempo. The New Orleans native incorporates a dazzling display of unbridled momentum with unpredictable bursts of melodic design. Highlights include an impressionistic portrait of Dizzy Gillespie's "Con Alma, a lyrically-focused rendition of "Cry Me a River and a rollicking version of "Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise.
The camaraderie between Wolff, Williams and Jones is evident throughout the entire disc. The trio's relaxed approach and intuitive interplay makes for an energetic and fun sessionendearing and worthy of repeated listening.
Track Listing: Autumn Leaves; Solar; Con Alma; Cry Me a River; Dolphin Dance; Footprints; My Funny Valentine; Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise; Einbahnstrasse.
Personnel: Michael Wolff: piano; John B. Williams: bass; Victor Jones: drums.