Take Five With Tim Wolfe, Jr.

Tim Wolfe, Jr. By

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Meet Tim Wolfe:
Bassist Tim Wolfe, Jr. keeps a busy schedule as a performer, recording artist, and educator. Wolfe has performed across the eastern seaboard, internationally, the greater Philadelphia area and central Pennsylvania. Tim earned his master's degree in jazz studies from The University of the Arts. He is an adjunct professor of music at Lebanon Valley College where he teaches bass, jazz improvisation, and directs small-group comobos. Working with students of all ages, Wolfe also teaches workshops, clinics, and master classes from elementary through high school grades in Pennsylvania and Maryland. In February 2014, The Tim Wolfe, Jr. Quintet released their debut album, Topic of Conversation (Self Produced).

Upright bass and electric bass.

Teachers and/or influences?
My main teacher was bassist Jim Miller. I've also studied with Kevin MacConell, Peter Paulsen, Joshua Davis, Matt Penman and others. I have many influences including Paul Chambers, Ray Brown, Ron Carter, Charles Mingus, Dave Holland, and Wilbur Ware.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when...
I had my first paid gig when I was 14. It was a much better way to make money than being a dish-boy at the local restaurant in town.

Your sound and approach to music:
The three T's: Time, Tone, Tuning. I just want to play good quarter notes and make the band/soloist sound good!

Your teaching approach:
Although I have an outlined curriculum to develop students (technique, reading, and theory), I cater to their interest by showing them how to apply what they are learning to music they know and love.

Your dream band:
This is a tough one to answer! I would have loved the opportunity to sit in P.C.'s shoes for a night with Philly Joe Jones and Red Garland.

Road story: Your best or worst experience:
I played a venue in the middle of no-where in PA during the middle of winter once. It was late because I got caught in a snowstorm on the highway. The rest of the band had gotten there on time. The club owner—not the bandleader—docked my pay for being late! It turned out this guy always found a reason to dock the band (he pocketed it) and the club shut down shortly thereafter.

Favorite venue:
My favorite place to play is my practice studio at my house! That's where my bass sounds best. There's a small restaurant in Lancaster, PA called The Pressroom I like playing.

Your favorite recording in your discography and why?
That would have to be my new record, Topics of Conversation. There's a great band sound; everyone was listening and interacting really well at the session.

The first Jazz album I bought was:
My dad gave me Mingus at The Bohemia (Debut, 1955) for Christmas when I was 13 or 14. That record made me decide to play upright.

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?
Quarter notes!

CDs you are listening to now:
Sonny Rollins, A Night at the Village Vanguard (Blue Note, 1957);
Wilbur Ware, Wilbur Ware Super Bass (WWI, 2012).

How would you describe the state of jazz today?
There are so many young kids who play their butts off that I'm not worried about the music going anywhere. I know some friends that have recently lost steady gigs, which is a drag, but I'm optimistic about the future. In my area, every high school jazz band sounds killer and they play almost every week in public.

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing?
Hanging; it's all about exposure. Young musicians need to hang out with older, more experienced musicians. Bringing clinicians in to work with young students and encouraging them to listen to records and go to jam sessions.

What is in the near future?
I'm just about to release a new recording, so I'll be keeping busy promoting the album.

By Day:
I'm an adjunct professor in the music department at Lebanon Valley College and I teach private lessons on bass.

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