Mike Wofford

Born in San Antonio, Texas, Mike Wofford grew up in San Diego, California where he began piano lessons at the age of seven. He later studied briefly with a local jazz piano teacher, Bill Franks, an admirer of Teddy Wilson, who primarily emphasized harmonic creativity in improvising rather than technique. Wofford is otherwise self-taught and was first influenced by hearing recordings of Art Tatum, Thelonious Monk and Horace Silver.

Mike began his professional career recording with Slim Gaillard in 1961. That same year he also joined Howard Rumsey’s Lighthouse All-stars. In 1962 Wofford became a member of Shorty Rogers and his Giants and also recorded with Mel Torme on the album “Comin’ Home Baby.”

While becoming active in the Los Angeles jazz club scene, he also toured with vocalist June Christy as her accompanist in 1963, and recorded with vibraphonist Gary Burton in drummer Larry Bunker’s quartet.

Wofford’s first trio album under his own name, “Strawberry Wine,” on Epic Records was released in 1964 and he was subsequently asked to join Shelly Manne’s quintet at Shelly’s Manne-hole in Hollywood. His musical relationship with Manne would continue until the drummer’s passing in 1984.

Wofford became more and more in demand as a free-lance studio pianist working in TV, film scoring and recording in general. During this period he recorded or performed with, among others, The Ventures, Joan Baez, The Jackson Five, Cher, John Lennon, Donna Summer, Sergio Mendes, Harry Nilsson and Roger McGuinn. He has also recorded and performed with jazz legends Sonny Stitt, Stan Getz, Joe Pass, Quincy Jones, Benny Carter, Ray Brown, Tom Scott, Chet Baker, Art Pepper, Joe Henderson, Art Farmer, Kenny Burrell, Benny Golson, Oliver Nelson, James Moody, Phil Woods, Bud Shank, Zoot Sims, Frank Rosolino and Harry “Sweets” Edison, among many others.

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Discography

It's Personal

It's Personal

Capri Records
2013

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Turn Signal

Turn Signal

Capri Records
2011

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Live at Athenaeum Jazz

Live at Athenaeum Jazz

Unknown label
2005

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Time Cafe

Time Cafe

Azica Records
2001

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Live at Maybeck Recital Hall, Vol. 18

Live at Maybeck...

Concord Records
1992

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Afterthoughts

Enja Records
1977

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