#125 Warren Wolf- Vibraphonist for the SF Jazz Collective, Lincoln Center & More!
This week’s guest is Warren Wolf. Warren is a multi-instrumentalist from Baltimore,MD. From the young age of three years old, Warren has been trained on the Vibraphone/Marimba, Drums, and Piano. Under the guidance of his father Warren Wolf Sr., Warren has a deep background in all genres of music.
Gig Alerts for this week……
Damon is performing at the Greenwich Town Party with Charlie King and then heading back on the road with Morgan James for the end of May into June. Marcos will be playing with Sammy Figueroa for a Cal Tjader tribute concert. Here’s the link to the site with all the festivals for the upcoming year. JAMBASE!
The Educational Spotlight for this week…..
Percussive Arts Society registration is now open for this year to initiate or renew. PASIC (Percussive Arts Society International Convention) is in November and you can find out more about that by clicking the link. If you make it out there to Indianapolis, you may want to check out the rhythm discovery museum.
There are two iconic recordings for this week. The first is a live duet version of “Armando’s Rumba” by Chick Corea, performed by Corea and Gary Burton. Damon mentions the Michel Camilo version as well with Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez on drums.
Music News for this week…..
Austin is trying to help out local musicians with digital compensation for gigs. You can apply for the trial program by CLICKING HERE. FCC Wants Phone Companies To Start Blocking Robocalls By Default. A Whitney Houston Hologram Tour and Musical Are in the Works. Woodstock 50 Finds a Deep-Pocketed Investor. Earlier, a federal judge ruled that Woodstock 50 wasn’t cancelled after all. Now, there’s an investor willing to keep the show alive. Morehouse College Graduates’ Student Loans to Be Paid Off by Billionaire, Robert F. Smith, the billionaire investor who founded Vista Equity Partners and became the richest black man in America.
Warren attended the Peabody Prepatory for eight years studying classical music with former Baltimore Symphony Orchestra member, the late Leo LePage. During his high school years at the Baltimore School for the Arts, Warren studied with current Baltimore Symphony Orchestra member John Locke. And then graduated from Baltimore School for the Arts in June of 1997.
Warren may be known for playing jazz and have started with classical music but, Warren had studied classical composers from Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Paganini, Brahms, Vivaldi and Shostakovich. Warren also studied ragtime music learning music from the songbooks of Scott Joplin, Harry Brewer and Geroge Hamilton Green. In Jazz, Warren has studied artist and composers from Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Freddie Hubbard, Clifford Brown, Herbie Hancock, Oscar Peterson, Milt Jackson, Bobby Hutcherson, Cal Tjader, Return to Forever, Weather Report, Wynton Marsalis and many others.
His dad introduced him to artists like Spyro Gyra, The Yellowjackets, Anita Baker, The temptations and more!
Warren has a great ear and perfect pitch. He realized when he had it when some of his other classmates were trying to figure out “Real Love” by Mary J. Blige. Shout-out to drummer Gerald Hayward who toured with Mary.
Growing up in Baltimore, Warren has heard his fair share of references from “The Wire”, even though he has never seen one episode. Also, he hardly uses what is known as a Maryland staple, “Old Bay” Seasoning.
Warren brings up drummer Jarod Barnes from the Baltimore area as well, who played with Dru Hill and The Isley Brothers among others.
After graduating from high school, Warren headed north and enrolled at the Berklee College of Music in Boston,MA. During his time at Berklee, Warren studied with Carribean Jazz Vibraphonist Dave Samuels for seven of eight semesters. One semester was spent with vibist Ed Saindon. During his time at Berklee, Warren began to explore deeper into jazz. Hearing Arturo Sandoval with the GRP Big Band was an inspiration for Warren wanting to go to school in Miami. But, his father helped convince him to attend Berklee while playing pool (billiards). Warren would put on the Spyro Gyra song, “Morning Dance” which featured Dave Samuels and he later made the connection that Dave taught at Berklee.
Warren became an active performer around the Boston area, gigging frequently on the Vibraphone, Drums and Piano. One of the highlights of Warren's stay in Boston was co-leading a quintet with Boston-based trumpeter Jason Palmer at the historic jazz club Wallys Cafe. Warren was the house drummer at Wallys for two years, performing every Friday and Saturday. He also would play piano on Thursdays at the Wonder Bar.
Warren was the house pianist for the senior showcase at Berklee and talks about using simplicity in chord changes. Damon brings up some of Duke Ellington’s techniques.
In talking about what to do after graduating college and figuring out “what’s next"?”, Damon interrupts Warren to mention the book “From Zero to Sideman -in five steps” by (friend of the show), Mel Brown.
After graduating Berklee, Warren was working at Cheers, had a new daughter and was trying to make ends meet then he got asked to teach “Entering Piano for Drummers”. After that he was in the house band for Lewis Nash, which later became a catalyst for future gigs down the road.
After two years of teaching at Berklee College of Music, Warren headed back to Baltimore to start his main goal of becoming a full time performing musician. Since leaving Berklee as a teacher, Warren has landed the piano duties performing in the Rachael Price Group. Recording and touring with Rachael, Warren has had the opportunity to tour throughout the entire Unites States of America.
Damon and Warren touch on racism in Boston. The Boston Globe did a seven part series on that very topic.
In Warren’s stickbag, there are many things, one of which being some parachute cord. Any mallet player knows how important this is and will keep some spare close by in case of an emergency change needed in the middle of a performance.
You can check out Warren in the Masters of the Vibes book.