May 31, 2012
Bob Wolfman has been an exciting guitar player in New York, and then after his time at Berklee School of Music, in Boston, but has never gotten much national attention. Equally at home with blues or jazz styles, he is a well-known teacher in New England, and has been in demand in the clubs in and around Boston.
That will hopefully change with his latest release, Transition. A CD that moves wildly from fusion to blues to torch songs, it features an outstanding band that has given Wolfman the opportunity to not only showcase his guitar, but his singing.
Wolfman is a life-long friend and protégé of Larry Coryell, the pioneering guitarist who has been on the cutting edge of electric jazz since the mid-Sixties. With his band the Eleventh House, Coryell helped invent fusion, that much criticized and much loved combination of jazz and rock. Arguably, it is Coryell, through his work with Gary Burton and Chico Hamilton that paved the way for the likes of John McLaughlin.
The Bob Wolfman/Larry Coryell Band featuring, bassist Victor Bailey, drummer Kenwood Dennard and keyboardist Ferdi Argenti is set to perform at Bull Run in Shirley, Massachusetts on Saturday, June 2 at 8:00. Bailey was the bass player for Weather Report during their final years from 1982 to 1986, and launched a solo career in 1988. He has toured and recorded with Coryell before, primarily in a trio with Return to Forever drummer Lenny White. Dennard will more than hold his own with these heavyweights, having toured the world with such greats as Chick Corea, Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock, and Jaco Pastorius, His numerous recordings include Sting's Nothing Like the Sun, and Live at Montreux with Miles Davis and Quincy Jones.
I spoke with Wolfman about his long friendship with Coryell, about his new CD (which Larry produced) and about the state of jazz fusion today. Click here to listen to our conversation, which features musical selections including:
The Eleventh House with Larry Coryell – “Yi” from Introducing the Eleventh House. This was the band that set Wolfman off on his career as a guitarist. Still fresh sounding today, it was groundbreaking in 1974. The band included Coryell (guitar), Randy Brecker (trumpet), Mike Mandel (piano and synthesizer), Alphonse Mouzon (drums and percussion) and Danny Trifan (bass).
Bob Wolfman – Title Track from Transition. Coryell wrote this burner for Wolfman, and it shows that the two friends know how to mix it up as they share sharp guitar lines.
Bob Wolfman – “Guess Who I Saw Today” from Transition. Wolfman shows off his vocal prowess on a Nancy Wilson tune from the sixties. The gender reversal adds a particularly poignant touch.
Bob Wolfman – “Bailey’s Bounce” from Transition. Victor contributed this composition to close out the CD. No sense having a bass playing legend on board without giving him a chance to show off his stuff as well!