Bob Wolfman is an exciting and compelling performer with emotion, power and soulfullness to inspire even the most blase listeners, chops and technical virtuosity to quiet even the most discerning critic, and he truly loves to play and sing his heart out. He has fun on stage and so do his audiences, always enjoying his explosive solos, but then he’ll pull at their heart strings, and bring tears to their eyes with a quiet ballad.
Growing up in The Bronx, New York City during the sixties, in a very musical neighborhood and climate surely didn’t stunt Bob’s musical growth. As a young boy, Bob could hear the voices of local teenagers singing Doo-Wop in the alleyways right outside his window. His parents often played classical music on the stereo, and they frequently took Bob to concerts, plays and musicals on Broadway. Often, when returning home from school on any given day, Bob could hear some very tasty and inspiring guitar licks projected from the fifth story window of the next building on his block. It was in fact his lifelong friend Arlen Roth (founder of Hot Licks videos), one of the most innovative guitarists on the planet playing those licks. There were several pro musicians right on his block.
Bob started playing guitar at age 11, and started performing in summer camp at 13 years of age, playing rock and pop tunes of the sixties, the stuff on the radio of the day. Then along came Jimi Hendrix, Bob’s lifelong hero Jeff Beck, Clapton with Cream, and everything exploded from there. With the advent of the British invasion Bob had decided that he simply had to pursue a career in music no matter what. He became completely obsessed with the guitar, practicing day and night, cutting school to have all day and night jam sessions with friends all over New York City. It wasn’t unusual for Bob to play until the sun came up, either alone or with fellow musicians.
Heavily into the Blues all through his teens, Bob wore out the grooves on his record albums, tediously copying licks from his favorite players. B.B.King, Albert King , Mike Bloomfield, Kim Simmons, Peter Green, Muddy Waters, Duane Allman. Of course Jeff Beck and Clapton were in the mix. Having become a fairly proficient Blues player by age 16, Bob started doing some session work in Manhattan, but all the while he still jammed with anybody available whenever possible with the intent of honing his skills. He performed in outdoor concerts in parks in his own neighborhood, and around New York City, school concerts, and playing up in the Catskill mountain resorts on weekends.
After High School, Bob virtually lived in clubs all over New York City, but particularly in Manhattan and especially the Village. Clubs like The Bottom Line, The Vanguard, The Village Gate, The Blue Note, The Other End, Max’s Kansas City, and Sweet Basil’s, 7th. Avenue South, and Mikell’s way uptown became Bob’s stomping grounds.
It was the early 70’s and Bob became equally obsessed with Jazz/Rock fusion as he had been with the Blues. After a show at Max’s Kansas City Bob met one his guitar heros, the brilliant Larry Coryell (jazz fusion pioneer). Bob was utterly blown away by Larry and his Eleventh House band. Bob began studying Jazz improvisation with Larry soon after, and then became his protege. Bob was hanging out with a ton of biggies on the Jazz fusion scene in New York at that time. He played at the famous Boomers Jazz club in the Village with another one of his favorite guitar idols, the great Joe Beck. While staying with friend Hiram Bullock (guitarist for Late Night with David Letterman) and roommate Cliff Carter (keyboardist with James Taylor), it wasn’t unusual for people like Marc Egan and Danny Gottlieb from the Pat Metheny Group to show up for an all night jam session. Sometimes drummers like Steve Jordan or Victor Lewis would come by as well. Clubbing, jamming, recording, playing and hanging out with the likes of The Brecker Brothers, David Sanborn, Larry Coryell and his Eleventh house band, and dozens of jazz shows definitely enriched and heightened Bob’s musical standards and sensibility.
But…one fateful night after a gig uptown, upon returning with Hiram Bullock to the duplex on the lower West Side, Bob’s life took a significant turn. Hiram kicked Bob in the butt…pretty hard! Hiram acknowledged Bob’s playing technique, chops, speed and ears but said that these were not enough to hang and play with the Jazz heavyweights.
He told Bob to get properly trained and schooled in music theory, sight-reading and get into music school as Hiram himself had already done. It was that night when Bob decided to take the plunge.
Bob moved to Boston to attend the Berklee College Of Music and he graduated with a Performance Degree. Bob did lots of gigging around Boston and New England, while jamming and hanging out with many of today’s biggest names in music; Mike Stern, Kevin Eubanks, Victor Bailey, Tommy Campbell, Jimmy Earl, Aimee Mann, and many others. Soon after leaving Berklee Bob started doing gigs with his mentor Larry Coryell at such notable venues as The Jazz Workshop/Paul’s Mall, Jonathan Swift’s, Night Stage and Sandy’s.
It was also about this time that Bob had formed his first very formidable fusion band ELAN VITAL.
Bob has performed with jazz giants like the brilliant guitar legend Larry Coryell, keyboard genius Chick Corea, sax great Grover Washington Jr.(“Mister Magic”), New York City studio icon ~ guitarist/producer Joe Beck, John Payne(sax player with Van Morrison), Blues singer Toni Lynn Washington, Blues and Jazz Harmonica icon Mike “Turk” Richards, Bluesman James Montgomery, and many more over the last twenty years since his days at Berklee College.
In September of 1983 Bob opened Wolfman’s School of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. Quite ironic, considering his own reluctance to attend music school himself as a young player. The school was and still is an affordable alternative for those seeking quality music instruction. Offering a wide variety of theory courses, private instruction on all contemporary
instruments, ensemble programs, audio engineering courses in a fully equipped pro recording studio and it also served as a prep school for Berklee and other music college programs. Wolfman’s became a very well respected name and is still ubiquitous in New England.
Bob loves many styles, but his preferred playing/performance genres are Jazz, Blues and Rock. Having played in every type of ensemble imaginable since the age of 13, (even a killer Latin/ Salsa band for almost two years) he’s an extremely versatile guitarist. Fronting his own band, Bob still performs regularly with a host of the finest musicians around on the East Coast. Much to the delight of his fans, he’s just released his long awaited new CD, “TRANSITION”. Produced by none other than Bob’s lifelong hero and mentor, Yep! You got it!….Larry Coryell!!
Larry Composed the title cut for the album, “TRANSITION”, which basically showcases Bob taking a very long winded, indulgent and extravagant solo, ala JEFF BECK style. Bob is very excited about this album/CD release and there will be a CD release party for “BOB WOLFMAN/LARRY CORYELL and TRANSITION” at The Bull Run in Shirley, Massachusetts on Saturday, June 2nd, 2012. The album features Larry Coryell, the incredible Victor Bailey on Bass (Joe Zawinul/Weather Report), the amazing Kenwood Dennard on Drums (George Benson, STING, and a virtual “Who’s who” of studio work), and the brilliant Ferdi Argenti on Piano. All of the album personnel just mentioned are currently performing with Bob and will be at The Bull Run in June. This “supergroup” must be heard live to be believed, as the level of talent is simply unsurpassed.
The album is a diverse blend of styles ranging from a 60’s Jazz ballad, to classic Blues, to very hip contemporary Fusion. Most compositions are Bob’s own creations and he’s singing better than ever in different vocal ranges and styles.
You can see and hear Bob with his band in and around Boston, The North Shore of Massachusetts and expect a tour to be scheduled soon.
Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!