Michael Wolff – Impure Thoughts

“Impure Thoughts” from
Michael Wolff
by Paula Edelstein

Michael Wolff As the former director of music for the Arsenio Hall Show, Michael Wolff played with jazz, gospel and blues innovators such as Wayne Shorter, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Bobby McFerrin, Al Green and B.B. King. His highly acclaimed straight-ahead records, MICHAEL WOLFF, PORTRAITURE-THE BLUES PERIOD, JUMPSTART, 2 AM and POOL OF DREAMS went on to hold top five positions on the USA jazz charts. Having searched and found a new artistic direction, Micheal Wolff’s latest release, IMPURE THOUGHTS, finds the pianist leading an innovative lineup of Alex Foster on reeds, John B. Williams on bass, Badal Roy on tablas and percussion, Frank Colon on congas and percussion and Victor Jones on drums through exotic world rhythms, African and Indian beats, sounds and musical thoughts. This synthesis has yielded the best of all rhythmic worlds and epitomizes the excitement inherent in cultural diversity.

Performing covers of such pop favorites as Sly Stone’s “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin),” “Papa Was A Rolling Stone” and the historical fusion project by Miles Davis, “In A Silent Way,” the ensemble captures the adventurous Wolff approaching his music with an orchestral perspective. His acoustic piano is harmonic, yet singular, rhythmic and percussive. The centerpiece of this set is “In A Silent Way,” which features great improvisations and solos by both Alex Foster and Michael Wolff. Foster leads the way with great sax lines, underlined by Wolff’s light piano stylings. Followed by a great piano solo from Wolff that is punctuated with great percussion, the listener hears some great bass playing by John B. Williams as he holds down the rhythm logic. “Impure Thoughts” is wide-open with plenty of space for his sidemen to improvise whatever avant-garde thoughts they may be having! This CD provides a great sense of change for the listener throughout the program and the musical integrity of Michael Wolff should benefit from this great release of musical energy. Reach for the light continually.

Michael Wolff plays a very inspiring set that can be heard at the Kennedy Center on January 11, 2001 in Washington, D.C. and in New York at the International Association of Jazz Educators Convention on January 13th, 2001. Be there. Keep in touch with Michael at http://www.michaelwolff.com.