Michael Wolff Zenith
Acclaimed jazz pianist/composer Michael Wolff has confirmed his first-ever solo piano album.
Zenith, set for May 19th release, is a 14-song collection of original tunes and inspired covers, ranging from John Coltrane to Sufjan Stevens to Jerome Kern. A full track listing is below.
JAZZIZ Magazine exclusively premiered two of the tracks:
By Matt Micucci, Top Feature, 4/5/17
JAZZIZ is happy to present an exclusive audio stream of “The Doc” and “Giant Steps,” the first two tracks from Michael Wolff’s upcoming solo piano album Zenith, which will be released on Indianola Records on May 19.
Zenith, produced by John Newcott, is Wolff’s first solo album. According to WGBO’s Gary Walker, who wrote its liner notes, it captures the “diverse spirit of a solo performance done well.” It does this through a tracklist that mixes original compositions, such as the New Orleans bounce “The Doc,” with covers of tracks written by such diverse artists as Coltrane (“Giant Steps”) and Sufjan Stevens (“Flint”). Listen to “The Doc” and “Giant Steps” below: https://www.jazziz.com/jazziz-exclusive-listen-two-tracks-michael-wolffs-upcoming-album-zenith/
Wolff recorded the album with Producer John Newcott by his side – a physical dynamic that evoked recollections of Wolff’s father, and childhood memories that had deep, emotional resonance:
“I've always played the piano by myself, since I was a young kid. I would play the piano, alone, and imagine I was in a great hall or club or recording studio. My father was an amateur musician and he loved jazz, and sometimes I would sit in the living room and play the piano for him.
For ‘Zenith’, I asked producer John Newcott to sit next to me at the piano -- and that made me comfortable as I played for him and me. It reminded me of how I used to make music for my dad.
I've recorded for years with various ensembles, and figured it was time to make a solo album, where I would have no limitations. The piano is a full symphonic/percussion instrument. It is rich from the bottom to the top. While recording this album I decided not to try to impose any preconceptions on the music. I just played my compositions (and others,) and allowed the music to speak through me. Relaxation at the piano is the key, and I did my best to relax and let the music tell its own story. I'm very proud of these results.” -Michael Wolff
Album notes, by Gary Walker:
Michael has captured the diverse spirit of a solo performance done well: from the opening New Orleans bounce; to “Makin' Whoopee” the way we all hope to; the choice of Sufjan Stevens; the rollicking sun/ fun of “St. Thomas”; the floating dischord of “Cry Me a River”; he's not stayed “Too Long at the Fair”. The lights are bright, the creativity, phrasing and turn on a dime feelings, taking us along. I enjoyed every ride.Zenith - a perfect title for this outstanding expression. Those 20 question sessions with oneself can be daunting. Sure sounds like Michael has the answers. – Gary Walker, WBGO -
Zenith Track listing:
The Doc (Michael Wolff)
Giant Steps (John Coltrane)
Makin’ Whoopee (Walter Donaldson / Gus Kahn)
Flint (Sufjan Stevens)
Euphoria (Michael Wolff)
All the Things You Are (Jerome Kern)
Blue Couch (Michael Wolff)
Billie’s Bounce (Charlie Parker)
Cry Me a River (Arthur Hamilton)
Little M (Michael Wolff)
Madimba / St. Thomas
(Michael Wolff / Sonny Rollins)
Polly (Michael Wolff)
Too Long at the Fair (Billy Barnes)
Hush (Michael Wolff)