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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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WARREN WOLF

Warren Wolf

Mack Avenue MAC 1059

 

 


1. 427 Mass Ave.
2. Natural Beauties
3. Sweet Bread
4. How I Feel at this Given Moment
5. Eva
6. Senor Mouse
7. Emily
8. Katrina
9. One for Lenny
10. Intimate Dance

Warren Wolf - Vibes, marimba
Tim Green - Alto sax, soprano sax (tracks 1-3, 8, 9)
Jeremy Pelt - trumpet (tracks 1, 3)
Peter Martin - Piano, Fender Rhodes (tracks 1-5, 7-10)
Christian McBride - Bass (tracks 1-5, 7-9)
Gregory Hutchinson - Drums (tracks 1-5, 7-9)

 

Warren Wolf was apparently a child prodigy in music, playing the drums when he was only three, then taking up the vibraphone, and touring with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra at the age of nine. He also plays the piano and composed six of the tunes on this CD. In a way, he is an old-fashioned player, eschewing such advances as playing the vibes with four mallets. He seems content to use only two mallets but he gets a strong, muscular sound with them. He confesses to modelling his style on that of Milt Jackson.

This is evident in the opening 427 Mass Ave. which refers to the address of Wally's bar in Boston. Warren doesn't give himself a solo on this complex-timed piece until saxist Tim Green and trumpeter Jeremy Pelt have soloed. This is typical of the whole CD. One might expect to hear more from Warren , given that - apart from some limited releases - this is Wolf's first album as a leader. He is forcefully backed by bassist Christian McBride and drummer Greg Hutchinson.

Other potent tracks include Sweet Bread and the ridiculously fast One for Lenny which displays Warren Wolf's dexterity. These are contrasted with such ballads as How I Feel at this Moment, which has Warren playing the delicate marimba as well as the vibes, and Emily, the gorgeous Johnny Mandel film theme which makes a swaying waltz. Intimate Dance is another waltz, interpreted with tranquillity. Warren performs a duet with himself on Senor Mouse, which he plays on vibes over a pre-recorded backing on marimba. It is intriguing but lacks the forward movement of Chick Corea's original.

All in all, this is a listenable debut from Warren Wolf but nothing about it is particularly outstanding.

Tony Augarde

www.augardebooks.co.uk



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