The vibraphone is a magnificently expressive melodic-percussive instrument that has been a mainstay mainly in jazz since the 1930s, shortly after it was invented. All percussion students learn to play it or its cousins, the xylophone or marimba, and certainly any pianist could play it, as it keys (aluminum bars, actually) mimic piano key locations. However, it is not as popular as one might expect and most jazz fans would have trouble naming a dozen practitioners of the instrument now or historically. That said, there have been spectacular players over the years and there still are today. Warren Wolf is among the new breed and he gets rave reviews from peers and audiences alike.
Warren certainly was a prodigy. Born in Baltimore, he was introduced to music early by his , an amateur percussionist and was playing vibes, piano and drums at the age of three! He was exposed to all types of music at home and was grounded in classical repertoire during the eight years he spent at the Peabody Preparatory School prior to attending the Baltimore School of the Arts and studied privately with Baltimore Symphony members. He spent equal time practicing drums, mallets (vibes/marimba, and piano) getting very good on all of them, but especially the mallet instruments. At the same time he had exposure to Scott Joplin through the contemporary jazz innovators. On vibes, that was Cal Tjader, Milt Jackson, his principal influence, and Bobby Hutcherson. Warren then matriculated at Berklee School of Music and was under the tutelage of Dave Samuels and Ed Saindon, who had been inspired by Gary Burton at that institution; but he was actually a protégé of Christian McBride from 2000 until joining McBride’s Inside Straight band in 2007. Meanwhile, Warren was playing gigs in Boston on vibes, piano and drums (he plays some bass, too, as South Florida JAZZ audience saw in 2011 when he was here with Inside Straight). After graduation, he was hired as an instructor at Berklee where he stayed two more years.
The past few years have been exciting for Warren, as he has held drum, piano or vibes chairs for several bands and now is focusing on the latest iteration of his own band, Wolfpack. The band’s Mack Avenue Records second release for the label, Wolfgang, is absolutely sensational. The incendiary and gifted swinger, Benny Green, will be on this date, which makes it very special. This is a high-energy group that thrills.
Warren Wolf - vibraphone
Benny Green - piano
Kris Funn - acoustic bass
Quincy Phillips - drums
Funding for South Florida JAZZ is provided in part by a grant from the Broward County Board of County