|Birth name||Michael Blieden Wolff|
July 31, 1952 |
Victorville, California, U.S.
|Origin||New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.|
|Occupations||Musician, composer, bandleader, producer, educator|
|Instruments||Piano, vocals, accordion|
|Labels||Columbia Records, Fantasy Records, Verve, Capitol, A&M Records|
Michael Blieden Wolff (born July 31, 1952) is an American jazz pianist, composer, producer, vocalist, and educator. He was honored as a Steinway Artist and obtained a Broadcast Music Incorporated award. He also won an award at the Hamptons International Film Festival.
Wolff began his music career performing in Cal Tjader's band. He went onto become the musical director for jazz singer Nancy Wilson who introduced him to Arsenio Hall, and the latter of which he served as the bandleader for his FOX prime-time talk show, which broadcast from 1989-94. Wolff provided the score and co-produced The Tic Code (1999). He also co-starred and produced the music for the film The Naked Brothers Band (2005), winning him an Audience Award for Family Feature Film at the Hamptons International Film Festival. By early 2007 it became the pilot to the Nickelodeon musical comedy series of the same name, which he co-starred in and earned a BMI Cable Award for producing the series' music. Wolff was the leader of the jazz band Impure Thoughts which featured Indian tabla player Badal Roy, drummer Mike Clark, percussionist Frank Colón and electric bassist John B. Williams. Reconstructed as Wolff & Clark Expedition, it is a jazz-funk group consisting of Wolff and Clark as band leaders, with Steve Wilson and Lenny Pickett as saxophonists, and James Genus as the bassist. Wolff currently teaches jazz music at universities in New York City and performs at various jazz clubs in Manhattan and across the United States with his new band.
Wolff married actress Polly Draper after meeting her when she was a guest on The Arsenio Hall Show. He and Draper have two sons — Nat Wolff and Alex Wolff — who starred in and wrote the music for The Naked Brothers Band film and series which was created, produced, written, and directed by Draper. Wolff's wife wrote and co-starred in The Tic Code which was influenced by his life with Tourette syndrome. He serves on the Board of Directors at the Tourette Syndrome Association (TSA), and is involved in mentoring children with Tourette's through the chapters of the TSA.
Wolff was born in Victorville, California and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. His family is culturally Jewish and his father, Marvin, was a medical doctor, treating Elvis Presley when the Wolffs' settled in Memphis, Tennessee. At age nine his family moved to Berkeley, California. He began studying classical piano at age eight, and drums at age 12. He had begun playing piano with the University of California Jazz Ensembles under the direction of Dr. David W. Tucker while attending Berkeley High School. After graduating from high school, he attended the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) before enrolling in the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
Wolff left college in 1972 to begin his music career, joining Cal Tjader's band. He then joined Cannonball Adderley's band in 1975. In 1977 he formed the band Answering Service with saxophonist Alex Foster. Wolff worked with other famous artists including Warren Zevon, The Thad Jones/ Mel Lewis Orchestra, Sonny Rollins, Wayne Shorter, Jean-Luc Ponty, Children On The Corner, Terri Lyne Carrington, Tony Williams, and Christian McBride. Wolff composed and played original music—and served as host—for the Riverside Shakespeare Company production of The Mandrake in New York City, featuring Tom Hanks in 1975.
In 1978, singer Nancy Wilson chose Wolff as her musical director. Arsenio Hall was Wilson's opening act, and in 1989, when Hall was given his own talk show, Wolff was chosen to serve as its bandleader and musical director. He met his wife, actress Polly Draper, when she appeared as a guest on the show. In 1995 he released Jumpstart featuring Christian McBride and Tony Williams and in 1997 the trio released 2AM. Wolff was the leader of the jazz band Impure Thoughts which features Indian tabla player Badal Roy, drummer Mike Clark, percussionist Frank Colón and electric bassist John B. Williams.
He wrote music for the films Who's the Man? and Made up, as well as writing for and performing in other films. A movie released on video in 1999—The Tic Code starring Gregory Hines as a saxophone player with Tourette syndrome who befriends a young boy also with Tourette's—which was written by Draper and loosely based on Wolff's life. Wolff contributed the score and Draper co-stars in the film. Wolff co-starred in The Naked Brothers Band on Nickelodeon with his sons, Nat and Alex. The show was created, executive produced, written, and directed by Polly Draper. Wolff was the co-executive producer and music supervisor of the show.
Wolff oftens plays in various nightclubs in Manhattan, including the Knickerbocker Bar and Grill, performing with members of the Michael Wolff Trio, such as drummer Victor Jones and bass player John B. Williams. He is on the faculty at The New School For Jazz And Contemporary Music and recently formed a new band called Wolff & Clark Expedition, a jazz-funk group consisting of Wolff and Clark as band leaders, with Steve Wilson and Lenny Pickett as saxophonists, and James Genus as the bassist. Wolff currently teaches jazz music at universities in New York City and performs at various jazz clubs in Manhattan and across the United States with his new band.
- 1993 – Michael Wolff (Columbia Jazz)
- 1995 – Jumpstart! (Jimco/Cabana)
- 1996 – 2AM (Cabana)
- 1998 – Portraiture: The Blues Period (Fuel 2000/Varese Saraband)
- 2000 – The Tic Code Soundtrack (Razor And Tie)
- 2001 – Impure Thoughts (Indianola Music)
- 2003 – Intoxicate (Indianola Music)
- 2003 – Christmas Moods (Artemis)
- 2003 – Getting Into Heaven Soundtrack
- 2004 – Dangerous Vision (Artemis Records)
- 2005 – Sexual Healing (3D)
- 2006 – Love & Destruction (Wrong Records)
- 2007 – jazz, JAZZ, jazz (Wrong Records)
- 2009 – Joe's Strut (Wrong Records)
- 2011 – Detroit Dozen (Wrong Records)
With Cal Tjader
- 1972 – Live At Concerts By The Sea (Fantasy)
- 1999 – Last Bolero In Berkeley (Fantasy)
- 2008 – Best Of Cal Tjader: Live At The Monterey Jazz Festival 1958-1980 (Monterey Jazz Festival)
- 1973 – Tambu (Fantasy)
With Cannonball Adderley
- 1975 – Phenix (Fantasy)
- 1975 – Volume One: Montreal 1975 (Essential Media Group)
With Tom Harrell
- 1975 – Aurora (Adamo/Pinnacle)
- 1976 – Bird Gets The Worm (Adamo/Pinnacle)
With Sonny Rollins
- 1977 Live At The Village Gate (Bootleg)
With Nancy Wilson
- 1979 – Live In Munich
- 1982 – At My Best (ASI)
- 1991 –With My Lover Beside Me (Columbia)
With David Axelrod
- 1993 – Requiem - The Holocaust (Liberty)
- 2003 – The Big Country (Stateside)
With Warren Zevon
With Children On The Corner
- 2003 – Rebirth (Sonance) 
With Alex Foster
- 1997 – Pool Of Dreams (Truspace)
With Dave Samuels
- 1998 – Tjaderized (Verve) 
- 2001 – Pastiche (Summit)
With Sam Morrison
- 2005 – Miles Away (Convalian)
|1999||The Tic Code||Engineer #2||Also co-producer and wrote original score|
|2005||The Naked Brothers Band: The Movie||Dad||Also contributed the underscore and produced and arranged the music|
|2007||The Girl In The Park||Jazz Club Piano Player|
|Year||Program or series||Role||Notes|
|1989–1994||The Arsenio Hall Show||Himself||Bandleader and musical director|
|1990||Beverly Hills, 90210||Duane||"Every Dream Has Its Price (Tag)" episode|
|2007–2009||The Naked Brothers Band||Dad/Mr. Wolff/Sonny Wolff||Also co-executive producer, music producer, and music supervisor|
Honors and awards
Wolff was honored as a Steinway Artist in June 2006. The Tic Code won awards at the Berlin International Film Festival, the Giffoni Film Festival and the Hamptons International Film Festival. Wolff and sons won the 2007 BMI Film and TV Award for the music on The Naked Brothers Band (TV series).
- [dead link]
- Cal Tjader - Tambu CD. CD Universe. Retrieved on 20 May 2011
-  Retrieved on 21 May 2011
- Michael Wolff / Impure Thoughts Biography. Oldies.com. Retrieved on 20 May 2011.
- list Of New School Instrumental department faculty. Retrieved 23 May 2011
- Michael Wolff (I) Filmography. IMDb.com. Retrieved on 20 May 2011.
- Michael Wolff. Retrieved on 12 January 2006.
- "Nickelodeon's New TEENick Series The Naked Brothers Band to Bow With Star-Studded TV Movie on Saturday, January 27, and 'Rock On' With Weekly Episodes Starting February 3.". Digital Media Online. 27 January 2007.
- Smason, Alan (2006-11-02). "Cleveland set to enjoy smooth jazz stylings of Michael Wolff". Cleveland Jewish News. Retrieved 2007-02-16.
- Finances and Leadership. Tourette Syndrome Association. Retrieved on 4 January 2007.
- Jazz Musician Michael Wolff (PDF). Tourette Syndrome Association. Retrieved on 4 January 2007.
- Michael Wolff, Pianist. MichaelWolff.com. Retrieved on 25 March 2008.
- Houston Press Impure Thoughts bio Retrieved on 24 May 2011
-  Retrieved in 21 May 2011
- Rebirth Sonance Records website
- Terri Lyne Carrington Discography Retrieved 24 May 2011
- Review by Jann Racquoi, Heights/Inwood Press of North Manhattan, March 14, 1979.
-  Jazz Times article Sept. 2007 Retrieved on 22 May 2011
- Michael Wolff Discography CD Universe. Retrieved on 26 May 2011
- Michale Wolff Discography CD Universe. Retrieved on 26 May 2011
- The Tic Code. IMDb.com Retrieved on 9 May 2006.
- Magic Sticks IMDb.com Retrieved on 21 May 2011
- The Tic Code IMDb.com Retrieved on 21 May 2011
- "A TV Family Bound by Blood and a Band" NY Times Retrieved on 21 May 2011
- The Girl In The Park IMDb.com Retrieved on 21 May 2011
- "Every Dream Has Its Price IMDb.com Retrieved on 21 May 2011
- Naked Brothers Band IMDb.com Retrieved on 21 May 2011
- Awards for The Tic Code (1999). IMDb.com. Retrieved on 10 July 2006.
- Michael Wolff's website
- Michael Wolff at All About Jazz
- Michael Wolff at the Internet Movie Database