When two of the best musicians on the planet combine their estimable talents to create a band without boundaries, the result is the Wolff & Clark Expedition. These sonic explorers embrace the past, venture into the future, but remain rooted in the improvisatory present. Pianist Michael Wolff and Drummer Mike Clark - will release their second album on Random Act Records in September 2014. Featuring jazz luminaries like bass stalwart Christian McBride and trumpeter Wallace Roney, the new album’s personnel also reflect the future of the music: Rising star saxophonist Hailey Niswanger and 17-year-old bassist extraordinaire Daryl Jonhs join the Expedition for a journey to uncharted musical territories.
Michael Wolff is an internationally acclaimed pianist, composer and bandleader. He made his recording debut in 1972 with Cal Tjader, and went on to record and perform with Cannonball and Nat Adderley, Nancy Wilson, Sonny Rollins, Tony Williams, Warren Zevon, Jean-Luc Ponty and many others. As pianist and music director for jazz singer Nancy Wilson, Michael wrote orchestral arrangements and conducted more than twenty-five major symphony orchestras worldwide.
From 1989 to 1994, Michael garnered notoriety as the Musical Director for the Arsenio Hall Show, which gave him the opportunity to perform with established artists such as Ray Charles, Phil Collins, Whitney Houston, Patti LaBelle, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock and saxophonist/President Bill Clinton. In addition to numerous sessions as a sideman, Michael Wolff has released twelve critically acclaimed albums as a leader, he was a recipient of the BMI Music Award for television composition and was also the winner of the “Gold Disc Award” in Japan for his album “Jumpstart,” with Tony Williams and Christian McBride.
Mike Clark is a true percussion legend – He gained worldwide recognition as one of America’s foremost jazz and funk drummers while touring and recording with Herbie Hancock and The Headhunters in the early 1970’s. Mike became known as a major innovator through his incisive technique, original beats and his ability to combine the jazz aesthetic with the soul of funk music. He is undoubtedly one of the most vital musicians to ever sit behind a drum kit. During his legendary career, he has performed with Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Tony Bennett, Christian McBride, Joe Henderson, Woody Shaw, Donald Harrison, Vince Guaraldi, Chet Baker, Larry Coryell, Eddie Henderson, Jeff Berlin, Bobby McFerrin, Al Jarreau, Dave Liebman, Oscar Brown Jr., Gil Evans and his Orchestra and a host of others.
Mike is possibly the most-sampled drummer of the digital age; his beats are omnipresent in several genres, including rap, hip/hop and funk. A leader of several solo projects, in 2010 his superb outing, “Blueprints of Jazz – Vol. 1” was selected as one of the best jazz CD’s of the decade. Mike is currently finishing his forthcoming solo CD “Indigo Blue,” featuring Randy Brecker, Christian McBride, Donald Harrison, Rob Dixon and Antonio Farao.
Both Mikes state: “Together, we have years of combined experience playing with many of the greatest jazz artists of all time, so we share an innate understanding as to how to play at a consistently very high level, with a mutual feel for improvised music. Since we both spent time in the Bay Area, and since we've been friends and band mates for many years, The Expedition is a natural result of our shared, cumulative experiences.”
Together they bring a combination of swing and groove to unique deconstructive takes on classic jazz, popular standards, and original compositions, creating a freedom in the sound that electrifies listeners and audiences worldwide. With their vast collective experience, the Wolff& Clark Expedition defies boundaries of genre, age and gender, showcasing the brilliant newcomer Hailey Niswanger. The young saxophonist (alto and soprano) has already shared stages with Esperanza Spalding, Terri Lyne Carrington, James Moody, DeeDee Bridgewater and George Duke. A daring player, she intrepidly joins the Expedition.
“We strive to take all listeners on unparalleled musical journeys, to unexplored sonic realms,” say Wolff & Clark. “And our band is highly entertaining, without compromising the music!” The incomparable Michael Wolff and Mike Clark are musicians who constantly deliver the highest quality music with the inimitable humor and rapport reserved for best friends. On their Expedition, the possibilities are limitless…