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Music Releases (more headlines) 04-06-2017

Jazz Pianist Michael Wolff’s First-Ever Solo Piano Album Confirmed For May 19th Release; JAZZIZ Magazine Exclusively Premieres Two Tracks

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Website: http://michaelwolff.com/
For Immediate Release                                                                                                   
April 5, 2017

Jazz Pianist Michael Wolff’s First-Ever Solo Piano Album
Confirmed for May 19th Release

JAZZIZ Magazine Exclusively Premieres Two Tracks

While Recording ‘Zenith’, Wolff Recalled Intimate Childhood Moments Playing Piano for his Father

Acclaimed jazz pianist/composer Michael Wolff has confirmed his first-ever solo piano album.

‘Zenith’, set for May 19th release, is a 14-song collection of original tunes and inspired covers, ranging from John Coltrane to Sufjan Stevens to Jerome Kern. A full track listing is below.

JAZZIZ Magazine exclusively premiered two of the tracks:
By Matt Micucci, Top Feature, 4/5/17

JAZZIZ is happy to present an exclusive audio stream of “The Doc” and “Giant Steps,” the first two tracks from Michael Wolff’s upcoming solo piano album Zenith, which will be released on Indianola Records on May 19.
Zenith, produced by John Newcott, is Wolff’s first solo album. According to WGBO’s Gary Walker, who wrote its liner notes, it captures the “diverse spirit of a solo performance done well.” It does this through a tracklist that mixes original compositions, such as the New Orleans bounce “The Doc,” with covers of tracks written by such diverse artists as Coltrane (“Giant Steps”) and Sufjan Stevens (“Flint”). Listen to “The Doc” and “Giant Steps” below:  https://www.jazziz.com/jazziz-exclusive-listen-two-tracks-michael-wolffs-upcoming-album-zenith/
Wolff recorded the album with Producer John Newcott by his side – a physical dynamic that evoked recollections of Wolff’s father, and childhood memories that had deep, emotional resonance:

Wolff shares: “I've always played the piano by myself, since I was a young kid. I would play the piano, alone, and imagine I was in a great hall or club or recording studio. My father was an amateur musician and he loved jazz, and sometimes I would sit in the living room and play the piano for him.
     For ‘Zenith’, I asked producer John Newcott to sit next to me at the piano -- and that made me comfortable as I played for him and me. It reminded me of how I used to make music for my dad.
     I've recorded for years with various ensembles, and figured it was time to make a solo album, where I would have no limitations. The piano is a full symphonic/percussion instrument. It is rich from the bottom to the top. While recording this album I decided not to try to impose any preconceptions on the music. I just played my compositions (and others,) and allowed the music to speak through me. Relaxation at the piano is the key, and I did my best to relax and let the music tell its own story. I'm very proud of these results.”    Michael Wolff

Album notes, by Gary Walker:
Michael has captured the diverse spirit of a solo performance done well: from the opening New Orleans bounce; to Makin' Whoopee the way we all hope to; the choice of Sufjan Stevens; the rollicking sun/ fun of St. Thomas; the floating dischord of Cry Me a River; he's not stayed Too Long at the Fair. The lights are bright, the creativity, phrasing and turn on a dime feelings, taking us along. I enjoyed every ride. Zenith - a perfect title for this outstanding expression. Those 20 question sessions with oneself can be daunting. Sure sounds like Michael has the answers. – Gary Walker, WBGO -

‘Zenith’ Track listing:
The Doc (Michael Wolff)             
Giant Steps (John Coltrane)                    
Makin’ Whoopee (Walter Donaldson / Gus Kahn)  
Flint (Sufjan Stevens)                                         
Euphoria (Michael Wolff)                                      
All the Things You Are (Jerome Kern)       
Blue Couch (Michael Wolff)                                
Billie’s Bounce (Charlie Parker)                 
Cry Me a River (Arthur Hamilton)            
Little M (Michael Wolff)                         
Madimba / St. Thomas                         
(Michael Wolff / Sonny Rollins)    
Polly (Michael Wolff)                                            
Too Long at the Fair (Billy Barnes)                        
Hush (Michael Wolff)                             

Michael Wolff   Piano     
Produced by NewK & Michael Wolff
Recorded by Michael Brorby July 1 & 2, 2014 @ Acoustic Recordings Brooklyn, NY
Mixed by Ray Aldaco May 22 and August 15, 2015 @ Wolff Studios, NYC
Mastered by Ray Aldaco November 2 & 11, 2016 @ Wolff Studios, NYC
All compositions by Michael Wolff © 2017 Indianola Music/BMI
Photographs courtesy of Sean Caley Newcott

About Michael Wolff:
Michael Wolff is an internationally acclaimed pianist, composer and bandleader. He made his recording debut in 1972 with Cal Tjader, and went on to record and perform with Cannonball and Nat Adderley, Nancy Wilson, Sonny Rollins, Tony Williams, Warren Zevon, Jean-Luc Ponty and many others. As pianist and music director for jazz singer Nancy Wilson, Michael wrote orchestral arrangements and conducted more than twenty-five major symphony orchestras worldwide. From 1989 to 1994, Michael garnered notoriety as the Musical Director for the Arsenio Hall Show, which gave him the opportunity to perform with established artists such as Ray Charles, Phil Collins, Whitney Houston, Patti LaBelle, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock and saxophonist/President Bill Clinton. In addition to numerous sessions as a sideman, Michael Wolff has released 15 critically acclaimed albums as a leader, he was a recipient of the BMI Music Award for television composition and was also the winner of the “Gold Disc Award” in Japan for his album “Jumpstart,” with Tony Williams and Christian McBride. He and his wife, actress/writer/director Polly Draper, produced an acclaimed feature film, “The Tic Code,” featuring Gregory Hines, as well as “The Naked Brothers Band” movie. Their “Naked Brothers” effort spawned a long-running TV show featuring their award-winning actor/musician sons, Nat and Alex. 
Michael Wolff recently performed a retrospective concert at the West Bank Café in New York City. It was his biggest live event in years, and a wide range of coverage ran, including NY1-TV, Playbill, a preview feature by noted jazz critic Dan Ouellette, a concert review by veteran jazz writer Chip Stern, and more. Some links follow.

NY-1 TV – Your Weekend Starts Now By Stephanie Simon

A great color photo preview pick via Dan Ouellette, ran at ZealNYC - -

Jazz critic Chip Stern wrote – Sunday's Showcase Concert At THE WEST BANK CAFE Represented An EPIC Evening By An American Original
MICHAEL WOLFF is just a lot more interesting than so many pianists of comparable technical command, wherein inevitably I find my mind wandering midst a sea of well-oiled clichés.  Michael's command of historical antecedents being so comprehensive, his instincts for vectoring in and out of focus, to be able to abstract and superimpose disjunctive elements without losing a pleasing thread... of harmonically complex connections, and most significantly--from what we all felt so clearly on Sunday night--the swinging conversational rhythmic cues he puts forth are so clearly articulated, so drummer-friendly, I felt as if I could sit up there myself on the traps and get all the hits right, sans rehearsal, like a wide receiver gathering in a long pass, having been perfectly led by a quarterback with a vision for precisely where everyone will be in fifty yards or so.

In other live performance news, Wolff will perform at Kuumbwa Jazz Festival in Santa Cruz, CA on May 5th, and also at the SF Jazz Joe Henderson Lab on May 6th and 7th. All three appearances will be Wolff & Clark Expedition shows.   More touring news, here: http://www.michaelwolff.com/tour-dates/

Visit: http://michaelwolff.com/

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