As Wynton Marsalis said, “Ben Wolfe swings with authority.” Including his recent quintet recording, “Live at Smalls” on the SmallsLIVE label, Bassist-composer Ben Wolfe has released six CDs comprised solely of his original music. Of the music on his MAXJAZZ release “No Strangers Here” The New York Times says, “In this music Mingus and Miles Davis meet Bartok and Bernard Herrmann”.
In January 2008, The New York Sun reviewed Ben’s new composition, From Here I See, commissioned by the Rubin Museum for the Harlem in the Himalayas series 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.
Chamber Music America awarded him 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, Wolfe was able to compose his extended composition Contradiction: Music for Sextet
Wolfe 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 his work on this film as, “a standout music score.”
Born in Baltimore, Maryland and raised in Portland, Oregon, Wolfe has gained a large following from his performances with Wynton Marsalis, Harry Connick Jr., and Diana Krall. Early on in his career, he formed a Duo with Harry Connick Jr. and went on to record over a dozen albums and soundtracks. During his years with Connick, he performed on numerous world tours as musical director. He then joined the Wynton Marsalis Septet and remained until it disbanded. Wolfe 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.”
When a member of The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (JLCO), Wolfe performed with Joe Henderson, Doc Cheatham, Jon Hendricks, Harry “Sweets” Edison, and Billy Higgins, among others. Other artists he has also recorded with include Branford Marsalis, James Moody, Eric Reed, Carl Allen, and Benny Green. In addition to his most recent CDs, 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.