About Warren Wolf
Baltimore's Warren Wolf is an acclaimed jazz vibraphonist known for his sophisticated, exploratory, nearly acrobatic post-bop style that moved one critic to exclaim that "he plays the vibraphone like an electric guitar!" Since 2005, he has been recording as a leader and touring with his own groups. His debut, Incredible Jazz Vibes for M&I Jazz, garnered attention from critics all over the globe. In 2007 he became a member of bassist Christian McBride's Inside Straight quintet. In 2011, Wolf signed a deal with Detroit's Mack Avenue label, and delivered his widely celebrated self-titled offering. After touring with the bassist, being an in-demand session player, and leading his own groups on tours of clubs and festival stages, Wolf issued Convergence in 2016; its lineup included McBride (who also acted as co-producer), Jeff "Tain" Watts, John Scofield, and Brad Mehldau.
Born in Baltimore in 1979, Wolf first began playing music at age three, studying vibraphone, marimba, drums, and piano with his father, a teacher and amateur musician. Focusing on classical music in his youth, Wolf attended the Peabody Preparatory School, during which time he also took lessons with former Baltimore Symphony Orchestra member Leo LePage.
It wasn't until his teens, while attending the Baltimore School for the Arts, that Wolf became increasingly interested in jazz. After high school, he earned his undergraduate music degree at Berklee College of Music in Boston, studying privately with vibraphonist Dave Samuels. Also during his time at Berklee, Wolf befriended trumpeter, classmate, and future collaborator Jeremy Pelt. Pelt introduced the vibraphonist to other fellow Berklee notables, including Kendrick Scott, Walter Smith III, and trumpeter Jason Palmer, with whom Wolf would co-lead a band at local club Wally's for most of his time in Boston.
After graduating in 2001, Wolf continued to gig around Boston, while also working as a percussion instructor at Berklee. In 2005 he returned to Baltimore, where he quickly established himself as an in-demand performer and bandleader. As a sideman, Wolf has performed and/or recorded with such luminaries as Bobby Watson, Christian McBride, Wynton Marsalis, Christian Scott, Robert Glasper, Esperanza Spalding, and others.
As a solo artist, Wolf made his debut in 2005 with the independently produced effort Incredible Jazz Vibes. He then signed with Mack Avenue Records and released his sophomore album, 2011's Warren Wolf. Two years later he returned with the quartet album Wolfgang in 2016, featuring appearances from pianist Benny Green, bassist McBride, and others. For the next several years Wolf was called upon often as a session and touring sideman. He appeared on Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah's Stretch Music and Willie Jones III's Groundwork in 2015. The following year he resumed his work as a bandleader with Convergence, featuring McBride, drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts, and pianist Brad Mehldau, as well guitarist John Scofield in a guest spot.
Over the next four years, Wolf spent a lot of time in Europe. He played on a series of dates as a sideman including Andrea Motis' Emotional Dance, and Sarah McKenzie's Paris in the Rain. In the States he played on the SF Jazz Collective's Music of Miles Davis & Original Compositions, and T.K. Blue's Amour. He was a featured guest on the Rodney Green Quartet's Live at Jazzhus Montmartre Copenhagen in 2017, and played with the Ted Nash Quintet for Live at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola the following year. In the spring of 2020, Wolf released Reincarnation for Mack Avenue. Its title signified a shift in the artist's musical priorities. Here, he indulged his love for the R&B and soul music that served as the soundtrack to his formative years during the 90's (albeit in original jazz compositions). It featured lead and duet vocals by Imani-Grace Cooper and Marcellus "Bassman Shepard, fronting a quintet that included pianist Brett Williams' drummer Carroll "CV" Dashiell III, and bassist Richie Goods, with guitarist Mark Whitfield appearing as a guest on two tracks. ~ Matt Collar