Born in San Antonio, Texas, Mike Wofford grew up in San Diego, California where he began piano lessons at the age of seven. He later studied briefly with a local jazz piano teacher, Bill Franks, an admirer of Teddy Wilson, who primarily emphasized harmonic creativity in improvising rather than technique. Wofford is otherwise self-taught and was first influenced by hearing recordings of Art Tatum, Thelonious Monk and Horace Silver.
Mike began his professional career recording with Slim Gaillard in 1961. That same year he also joined Howard Rumsey’s Lighthouse All-stars. In 1962 Wofford became a member of Shorty Rogers and his Giants and also recorded with Mel Torme on the album “Comin’ Home Baby.”
While becoming active in the Los Angeles jazz club scene, he also toured with vocalist June Christy as her accompanist in 1963, and recorded with vibraphonist Gary Burton in drummer Larry Bunker’s quartet