Acclaimed Multi-Instrumentalist and Composer Warren Wolf Celebrates The Lineage of the Vibraphone on his Eagerly-Awaited New Album, History of the Vibraphone, out August 23, 2024 via Cellar Music Group

Cellar Music Group is thrilled to announce the August 23, 2024 release of History of the Vibraphone, the eagerly-awaited upcoming album from renowned multi-instrumentalist and composer Warren Wolf. This expansive new project offers listener a comprehensive study of jazz lineage which pays homage to the great architects of the vibraphone including Roy Ayers, Terry Gibbs, Lionel Hampton, Milt Jackson, Bobby Hutcherson, Cal Tjader, Gary Burton, Roy Ayers, Dave Samuels and Joe Locke. On the subject of the vibraphone, there is no more capable arbiter than Wolf, whose deep study and love for the instrument has been imbued into his work as a bandleader as well as a notable sideman to the very frontline of jazz icons. Alongside Wolf, this lively release features saxophonist Tim Green, pianist Alex Brown, bassist Vicente Archer and drummer Carroll “CV” Dashiell III.

Baltimore’s own Warren Wolf began his musical studies at the age of three under the tutelage of his father Warren Wolf Sr. Classically trained on the vibraphone, marimba, drums and piano at a young age, Wolf’s trajectory was inevitable. Wolf attended Baltimore School for the Arts and then Berklee College of Music, where he became a fixture on the Boston music scene, soon-after becoming a professor in Berklee’s percussion department. Since leaving Berklee in 2005, Wolf has built a stellar career and reputation within the international jazz scene, performing and recording extensively with jazz icon Christian McBride, and recording his own releases for Mack Avenue Records. Wolf’s 2023 release Chano Pozo: Origins garnered wide-spread critical acclaim, featuring Wolf on all instruments and celebrating his multi-instrumental nature in true form. History of the Vibraphone shows an enthusiastic focus back on his primary instrument, the vibraphone. 

Drawing inspiration from Anthony Smith’s book “Masters of the Vibes,” which highlights intimate conversations with legendary vibraphonists, Wolf has crafted an album that pays homage to some of the greatest vibraphone players in history. “What I decided to do on ‘History of the Vibraphone‘ is to play material from some of the top players who’ve ever held a pair of mallets in their hands,” Wolf explains.

The album begins with Terry Gibbs’ bright-tempoed “Bopsticle Course”, on which Wolf channels Gibbs’ jovial spirit, imbued with his own soulfulness and technical finesse. The album continues with Lionel Hampton’s “Midnight Sun”, delivered here with nuance and a wistful air. “Herzog” is a composition by a hero of Wolf’s, jazz luminary Bobby Hutcherson. Wolf indicates “Bobby Hutcherson was one of my favorite people to ever play the Vibraphone. He completely modernized the sound of the instrument playing with the likes of Freddy Hubbard, McCoy Tyner, Eric Dolphy, and many more. “Herzog” is his original composition and you can really hear the band soar on this song.”

Sad Eyes” channels the understated hipness of Cal Tjader. Well supported by the steadfast rhythm section, Wolf delivers a solo that is a masterwork of lyricism and melodic development. Harnessing an adjacent hipness, Wolf delivers a stunning rendition of Roy Ayers’ “Vibrations”, giving the group the opportunity to stretch out over a groove. Wolf notes “ Roy Ayers is the Godfather of the Vibraphone. He, like many others, was a big straight ahead jazz musician, but eventually branched over into hip-hop, R&B, and soul music. “Vibrations” is his original that shows his early jazz roots but with soul and groove.”

Spring High” is a composition by Wolf’s former teacher at Berklee College of Music, Dave Samuels. “He was probably one of the most famous Vibraphone players in the 1980s with the fusion jazz group Spyro Gyra” indicates Wolf. This composition truly showcases the sounds of the 1980s adult contemporary music sound that Samuels was such a driving force behind. 

The album concludes with Wolf’s original composition “I See You, Baby, Lookin At Me”. The piece features a lyrical melody that seems to harken the meter of the title. The piece does a great job in summating Wolf’s inspirations into a contemporary piece, demonstrating his own sound – his own place in the pantheon of the jazz vibraphone.Wolf’s every melodic passage imbues a command of the history and lineage of jazz, and of the vibraphone – with a modern spirit.

History of the Vibraphone promises to be a landmark release, offering listeners an enriching experience that celebrates the past while paving the way for future explorations of the instrument.

Wolf’s meticulous selection and interpretation of pieces from legendary artists highlight his deep respect and admiration for their contributions to music. “There’s so much music that I wish I could have included on History of the Vibraphone. Maybe we’ll have to save that for History of the Vibraphone, Part II,'” Wolf muses. This eagerly-anticipated release will go far to cement Wolf’s stature within the history of the vibraphone.

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Track Listing:

  1. Bopsticle Course (2:28) (T. Gibbs)
  2. Midnight Sun (4:00) (L.Hampton)
  3. Django (5:53) (J. Lewis)
  4. Herzog (5:44) (B.Hutcherson)
  5. Sad Eyes (5:26) (C. Tjader)
  6. Captain Senor Mouse (8:10) (C. Corea)
  7. Vibrations (4:31) (R. Ayers)
  8. Spring High (6:20) (D. Samuels)
  9. Saturn’s Child (4:00) (J. Locke)
  10. I See You, Baby, Lookin At Me (6:56) (W. Wolf)
  11. Midnight Sun – Alternate Take (2:57) (L.Hampton)

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