Primary Instrument: Bass
Bassist-composer, Ben Wolfe, has recently released his new CD, “No Strangers Here” on MAXJAZZ. As Wynton Marsalis said, “Ben Wolfe swings with authority.” And as can be heard from Ben’s original compositions on this, his fifth and newest CD, Ben also innovates and “scores” with authority. Downbeat Magazine says, “ He hews to the esthetic of group interplay and the rhythm’s of bebop, and displays a well-honed sense of sonic narrative.”
In January 2008, The New York Sun reviewed Ben’s new composition, “From Here I See,” created for the Harlem in the Himalayas series at the Rubin Museum, as a piece “Bernstein would doubtlessly have approved of.” Like many of Ben’s compositions, this 25-minute Suite fell into line with the jazz concept of a double quartet a format that combines the standard jazz quartet with the standard string quartet.
Ben Wolfe’s work is a true ensemble expressed in the group sound, rather than dominated by extended solo compositions. Chamber Music America awarded Ben the 2004 New Works: Creation and Presentation Program Grant, funded through the generosity of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. As a result of this award, Ben was able to compose his extended composition Contradiction: Music for Sextet.
Ben also recently made his mark as a film composer, working with Matthew Modine on the film short, I Think I Thought. At the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival, The New York Sun reviewed Ben’s work on this film as, “a standout music score.”
Born in Baltimore, Maryland and raised in Portland, Oregon, Ben has gained a large following from his performances with Wynton Marsalis, Harry Connick Jr., and Diana Krall.
Early on in Ben’s career, he formed a Duo with Harry Connick Jr. and went on to record over a dozen albums and soundtracks. During his five years with Connick, he performed on numerous world tours as musical director. He then joined the Wynton Marsalis Septet and remained until it disbanded. Ben also became an integral part of Diana Krall's touring band and played on many of her recordings, including the Grammy Award winning CD, When I Look In Your Eyes.
As a member of The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (JLCO), Ben has performed with Joe Henderson, Doc Cheatham, Jon Hendricks, Harry Sweets Edison, and Billy Higgins. Other artists he has also recorded with include Branford Marsalis, James Moody, Eric Reed, Carl Allen, and Benny Green.
In addition to his latest CD, Ben’s previous recordings include “13 Sketches” (1996) and “Bagdad Theater” (1997), both released on Mons Records; the critically acclaimed “Murray's Cadillac” (2000) on Amosaya Music; and “My Kinda Beautiful” (2004) on Planet Arts Records.
Ben is currently on the teaching faculty at The Julliard School Jazz Division.