Press Kit

Mike Wofford, Jazz Pianist

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Press Kit

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Biography

Click Here to download a pdf file of Mike Wofford’s bio


Wofford, Hofmann Make Beautiful Music Together

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Pianist Mike Wofford is a touchstone for the San Diego jazz community: He provides an impossibly high standard that raises everybody’s game.

In terms of versatility alone, his curriculum vitae cannot be duplicated. He’s played the sensitive accompanist role at the highest level, performing with both Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan; his studio musician credits began with Oliver Nelson and include John Lennon, laurels certainly worth resting on; yet he has also followed his muse into the avant-garde, playing with multi-instrumentalist Vinny Golia, and recording with bassist Lisle Ellis, on the iconic Sucker Punch Requiem alongside free-jazz legends Oliver Lake and George Lewis.

Also appearing on that record date is Wofford’s wife, flute virtuoso Holly Hofmann, who blends with Lake like she’d been doing it all of her life. So much for labels, genres and categories.
Wofford and Hofmann are universal musicians who tour constantly but just happen to live in San Diego. The city ought to find a way of working that into its logo.

On Feb. 16, the musical team settled in at the new Croce’s Park West for three sublime sets of jazz at its finest, with double-bass veteran Rob Thorsen and drummer Tim McMahon completing the lineup. Taking their cues from their extremely relaxed leader, an opening blues by Rahsaan Roland Kirk, “Serenade to a Cuckoo,” gave the trio sans Hofmann a chance to warm up and stretch out.
It didn’t take long before all of the cylinders were firing.

“I Hear a Rhapsody” burned from Bar 1, as Hofmann, brimming with ideas, weaved bebop filigree with dashes of Eric Dolphy laced into an aggressive statement. Wofford’s touch is amazing — tasteful is an understatement — and his deft, in-the-moment harmonic choices are devastatingly hip.
Hofmann is about to release an album that concentrates entirely on the alto flute (Low Life: The Alto Flute Project, due out in April on Capri Records), and her woodshedding on this instrument became obvious when the band took up the seldom heard “When the Sun Comes Out.” Hofmann’s sound was dark, voluptuous and lithe, swirling around target tones with appoggiatura as Wofford hung ornaments of bluesy filigree beneath.

Even at the brisk tempo of the post-bop burner “Further Adventures,” Wofford’s delivery was never hurried, despite transmitting more information than a high-speed Internet server. Thorsen tore it up with rough-sawn velocity, and McMahon followed with explosive exchanges.

My favorite moment came in the second set, with “How Deep Is the Ocean.” Hofmann came out smoking over minimal accompaniment, carving though the changes like a surgeon with a hot date waiting. Wofford toggled between jangling harmonies and cascading single-note lines over Thorsen’s protean bass and the precise ride cymbal pings of McMahon.

You can catch Wofford and Hofmann next time at the San Diego CD release concert for Low Life on May 6, as a part of the Athenaeum Jazz at TSRI series. This show will feature the L.A. heavyweights John Clayton, Jeff Hamilton and Anthony Wilson, who also appear on the album.

-Robert Bush

DOWNLOADS AND LINKS:

Click Here for Mike’s bio  |  Click Here for Holly’s bio


Holly Hofmann Quartet

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Holly and pianist Mike Wofford currently perform and tour with a quartet that has included such artists as Ray Brown, Peter Washington, Jeff Hamilton and Victor Lewis. The varied repertoire of original material and inventive arrangements of standards features both flute and alto flute in unexpected ways, from full-on high energy mainstream jazz to balladic and Latin lyricism. As one critic has written, “Hofmann works to give the flute frontline parity with horns….Dizzy said her ideas were like those of a trumpeter.” (Kirk Silsbee, LA City Beat)

– Review: JazzTimes Magazine

HOLLY HOFMANN
Minor Miracle (Capri)

Holly Hofmann possesses one of the most exquisite flute tones in jazz. She also demonstrates a sure technique, inventive ideas, a secure sense of swing and a broad emotional range. Put her with some of the best practitioners of their own instruments—husband Mike Wofford on piano, Peter Washington on bass and Victor Lewis on drums—interpreting together an attractive collection of standards and originals, and the result has to be a winner. And a winner Minor Miracle is, with all hands displaying a consummate professionalism enhanced by that special quality that only players of their caliber can bring to a performance.

Jobim’s lovely “Samba Do Avião,” a flute and piano duet, fittingly displays Hofmann’s beautiful tone and both improvisers’ highly melodic phrasing. Similar examples include Francis Himes’ Brazilian “Minha” and Cole Porter’s “Everything I Love.” On the other end of the emotional spectrum, “CRS-Craft,” a bluesy, 16-bar groover by the late bassist Ray Brown, finds the flutist digging in and swinging hard. Other up-tunes include Matt Dennis’ “Will You Still Be Mine,” Ellington and Strayhorn’s “Tonk” and Strayhorn’s “Johnny Come Lately” (fitted with an Afro-Cuban beat). The jaunty “Minor Miracle,” the couple’s own imaginative stretched blues (à la Bobby Timmons’ “This Here”) resides somewhere in between.

-David Franklinn

DOWNLOADS AND LINKS:

Click Here for Mike’s bio  |  Click Here for Holly’s bio

Click Here to download the high resolution image file  |  Click Here to see Holly Hofmann and “Brasilia”


Holly Hofmann and Mike Wofford

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Flutist Holly Hofmann and pianist Mike Wofford have a long history of performing together in various performance settings. One of their more recent collaborations is as a duo, which has been recorded on Capri as Live at Athenaeum Jazz, Vol.2.

With its spirit and unusual approaches to the jazz repertoire as well as their own original material, the duo has received acclaim around the country wherever they have appeared. Of their CD, Cadence Magazine wrote, “This is an astounding example of how two instruments can conjure up the richness of a complete orchestra by employing exceptional harmonics, talent and creativity.”

– Dee Dee McNeil

REVIEW
allmusicguide…jazz

A number of jazz spouses have worked together on record dates over the decades, though it is still a relatively infrequent occurrence. But flutist Holly Hofmann, a perennial critic’s favorite, found a true soul mate in pianist Mike Wofford, as they demonstrate throughout this enjoyable duo concert recorded at the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library in southern California. On this occasion, Hofmann makes her recorded debut playing alto flute on three selections, a reflective “More Than You Know,” a risk-taking romp through two infrequently performed Thelonious Monk works (“Introspection” and “Eronel”), and a driving take of the standard “If I Should Lose You” that has a humorous air.
Hofmann contributed two originals: “Free Day” is a haunting melody inspired by a fragment from American classical composer Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings, while “Presentimiento” is a dark, sensuous bossa nova. Wofford wrote the quirky “Floof” for his wife, a demanding chart that is full of sudden twists and turns. Pete Malinverni’s “Twelve,” full of the playful dissonance and unexpected chords heard in the music of the late Herbie Nichols, is negotiated flawlessly by both Hofmann and Wofford. This intimate concert was recorded acoustically without amplification on the flutes, giving the listener an unforgettable experience similar to those who were able to attend this memorable evening of jazz.

by Ken Dryden

DOWNLOADS AND LINKS:

Click Here for Mike’s bio  |  Click Here for Holly’s bio

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Holly Hofmann Quartet with Strings: Tribute to Antonio Carlos Jobim

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Flutist Holly Hofmann and pianist Mike Wofford have now added another configuration to their jazz duo and quartet touring schedule. This chamber jazz project is “A Tribute to Antonio Carlos Jobim,” featuring Holly and Mike with bassist Christoph Luty, drummer Jeff Hamilton and Latin percussionist Luis Conte, with a twelve to sixteen-piece string orchestra. The arrangements have been written for this ensemble by notable composer/arrangers Mike Wofford, Bill Cunliffe and Chris Hughes. Some of Jobim’s most beloved works have been included, like Girl from Ipanema and No More Blues, as well as his lesser known compositions, such as Song of the Jet, Luiza, and Agua de Beber. The combination of Holly’s beautiful tone with jazz rhythm section over the lush orchestral accompaniment is particularly suited to the beauty of Jobim’s compositions. All About Jazz writes, “This project presents Holly and Mike at their lyrical best, filled with vibrant in-the-moment creativity and sensuous Brazilian ambience.”

– Thomas Burns, President and CEO Capri Records, Ltd.

DOWNLOADS AND LINKS:

Click Here for Mike’s bio  |  Click Here for Holly’s bio

Click Here to download the high resolution image file


Holly Hofmann/Mike Wofford Quintet featuring Terell Stafford

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In addition to flute and trumpet, Hofmann and Stafford also play alto flute and flugelhorn in this configuration. This is unique jazz quintet instrumentation, but Wofford’s arrangements stay with the rhythmic and harmonic intensity of a traditional tenor/trumpet front-line, adding the beautiful timbres of flute and flugel. Their repertoire features original compositions from Turn Signal, the group’s 2012 Capri Records release, as well as lesser-known standards from Strayhorn, Monk, and Gershwin.

“Turn Signal” is a departure into new territory for Mike Wofford and Holly Hofmann, an excursion off the mainstream and into a world of warm, rich tones and beautiful, harmonic nuances, a journey taken in the company of the always playful Terell Stafford. It’s a very rewarding ride.”

– T. Michael Crowell, Host of KSDS Jazz 88.3’s Offramp

DOWNLOADS AND LINKS:

Click Here for Mike’s bio  |  Click Here for Holly’s bio

Click Here to download the high resolution image file


Critics Comments

“One of the outstanding pianists of our time. Wofford is a pianist with a mind of his own, a fine touch, a very musical sound, and technique to spare.”
– DownBeat

“Wofford is well worth meeting.”
– Time Magazine

“Wofford’s playing reflects a well-bred lyricism that is conspicuously absent in many contemporary recordings.”
– Cash Box

“I would urge all those with an interest in modern piano to lend an ear.”
– Billboard

“Wofford performs with unusual sensitivity and enviable technique.”
– Billboard

“Wofford’s improvising aesthetic has risen to the level of pure communication—stripped free of artifice and cliché, his touch alone can trigger an array of feelings. The pianist doesn’t just enter the “zone”, he holds the door open for the listener.”
– Robert Bush, SD Reader

“Over the course of nine numbers the pianist surprises time and again by darting down improvisational side streets that range from introspective to quietly rollicking. That they come at the darnedest times makes it that much more entertaining.”
– Jazz Times

“Wofford displays his full range, including lyricism, blues power and Latin passion. His touch and dynamic control are major elements of his expressiveness.”
– Jazz Times

“Wofford has all the traits an ideal jazz pianist should have.”
– Dirk Sutro, Los Angeles Times

“Wofford has the kind of forward melodic propulsion I associate with Tristano and Bud Powell … [His] sense of invention is ever alert.”
– David Dupont, Cadence

“A musician who makes equal use of brain, heart and muscle.”
– Jazz Times

“Pianist Mike Wofford doesn’t waste notes. Each one has purpose, as if his improvisations were worked out in advance. Of course that’s not the case. But his taste and beautiful choices say a great deal about his craftsmanship and the many moods he’s able to create with engaging chord voicings.”
– Marc Myers, JazzWax

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