At five years old, Wajdi Cherif played on piano the melodies that he heard on the local radio in his native Tunisia by ear. As he grew up, his passion for music has never left him even when he studied at university to get a BA in English literature in 1998.
Wajdi Cherif discovered jazz by watching live performances videos of pianists Chick COREA, Thelonious MONK, Bill EVANS at the American cultural center in Tunis. This marked a turning point in his musical career as he decided to study jazz mainly by himself. He made his debut as a professional jazz pianist in 1998 when he played with the famous Tunisian jazz guitarist Faouzi Chekili in many jazz festivals in Tunisia and Europe. Wajdi Cherif played also with many international jazz artists on tour in Tunisia such as Claudio Perez (USA), Deidda Dario (Italy), Dick De Graaf (Holland), Sigi Finkel Germany)... In 1999, he was invited by the Gothes-Institut of Tunis to play the premiere of the German pianist Dieter Kohnlein and to direct a master class on jazz piano. Few months later, Wajdi Cherif played the premiere of a jazz legend, Archie SHEPP during the “Jazz in Tunis” festival. The same year, he met pianist Bernard MAURY, an important figure of jazz piano in France, who became his harmony teacher. His later meetings with great jazz pianists Kenny WERNER, Chick COREA and Ahmad JAMAL, Martial SOLAL shaped significantly both his vision of music and of playing piano in general.