The JOHN WOLF QUARTET was founded in the early
summer of 1993, at least partly as a "laboratory" for
experimentation with a "non chord-instrument" format,
meaning no piano, guitar, or other chord-capable instrument. I
have long enjoyed the work of such jazz pioneers as Ornette Coleman,
Steve Lacy, Gerry Mulligan, and others who pioneered in writing
for and performing with such groups. With the great talent available
in the St. Louis area, I felt that finding the musicians capable
of partaking in such a venture would not be a problem. I believe
I was right.
In the fall of 1993, The JOHN WOLF QUARTET recorded
a CD entitled FIRST LIGHT. By clicking on FIRST LIGHT, you can
find out more about the recording, view the graphics, and even,
if you wish, download AUDIO SAMPLES of the music! You will also
find information on how to order your copy of the CD or cassette
and the groovy-looking T-shirt!
Instrumentally, the JOHN WOLF QUARTET as represented
on 1993's "First Light" constisted of: 1) Trombone and
other low brass : 2) Vocals and Flute: 3) Acoustic Bass: and 4)
Drums and Percussion.
Obviously, the Low Brass position is filled by
yours truly, and the Flute/Vocals job is handled to perfection
by Ms. Margaret Bianchetta. Due to the fluid nature of the music
business and the fact that bassists and drummers are always in
high demand, the people I use in the QUARTET are subject to "change
without notice." However, as represented on our CD "FIRST
LIGHT," they are: Eric Markowitz, Bass and Jim Miller, Drums
on some cuts and Jim
Greene, Bass and Gary Sykes, Drums on the others.
Cut to 1999:Having returned from over 1-1/2 years
on the road with ROOMFUL OF BLUES, I've reorganized the QUARTET;
while Ms. Bianchetta will be featured on some of our performances,
the new line up is as follows: besides yours truly, there is the
talented THOMAS RICKARD on Vibraphone, JAMES GERA on Bass Violin,
and KEVIN GIANINO on Drums.
MARGARET BIANCHETTA (Flute, Vocals) is arguably
one of the finest and most versatile vocalists to call St. Louis
her home, and her skills as a flautist are easily on a par with
her singing ability. After graduating from her music studies at
the University of Missouri-Columbia, she performed over much of
the nation with the immensely popular band SPATZ , from 1984-86.
When SPATZ disbanded, she turned her energies to the creation
of HOT CLUB CANARY, a very talented and versatile vocal trio which
released a recording. Currently, she performs with the MIGHTY
BIG BAND, one of St. Louis' finest R&B ensembles which also
featured the late BILLY GAYLES, a St. Louis legend who helped
make music history with, among others, Ike Turner. She also performs
with guitarist MARY D BROWN in JOBIM DREAMS.
JAMES GREENE (Bass Violin), who is featured on
several tunes on FIRST LIGHT, is a St. Louis native who attended
Wm. Paterson College in New Jersey, where he studied with jazz
bass masters Rufus Reid and Todd Coolman. He has also studied
with legendary St. Louis Symphony principal bassist Henry Lowe.
Residing in New York City from 1988-93, he has performed with
such jazz notables as ART FARMER, BENNY GOLSON, and LEW TABACKIN.
Returning to St. Louis in the spring of 1993, he worked with a
number of local and national performers, including a stint as
the house bassist at St. Louis' premier jazz club, JUST JAZZ (now
JAZZ AT THE BISTRO). He returned to New York in 1995, and now
tours with the popular band THE NEUTRINOS.
GARY SYKES (Drums, Percussion) is without doubt
the finest drummer in St. Louis; for that matter, he is, in my
opinion, one of the six or seven finest and most creative drummers
to be found anywhere. Also a native St. Louisan, he has had an
enviable career both here and in New York City. A list of the
jazz legends with whom he has performed would require at least
a page itself; Duke Jordan, Lester Bowie, James Moody, Dakota
Staton, and bluesman Albert King are just a few of the luminaries
whose performances have been graced and propelled by Mr. Sykes'
highly musical drumming.
As to the current (1999) lineup, TOM RICKARD,
vibraphonist, hails originally from Boulder, CO. A 1989 graduate
of Boston's Berklee College of Music, he performed in the Boston
area with Joe Brenna and the Michael Andrew Frank band. Relocating
in 1990 to Kansas City, he performed with Carl Bender, Mark Strozier,
Arny Young, and others. While there, he composed and performed
on Kim Kirchner's recording "Red Ribbon Diaries," a
project which benefited AIDS research, and recorded a C-D with
the Matt Kane Trio. In '97 he moved to Metro East and has been
performing with Todd Mosby, Dave Stone, his own trio, and most
recently the JOHN WOLF QUARTET.
Bassist JAMES GERA, a St. Louis native, studied
with local legend Tom Kennedy and former St. Louis symphony bassist
Henry Lowe. The list of local jazz musicians with whom he has
worked reads like a "who's who" of St. Louis music:
Willie Akins, Dave Black, Carolbeth True, Rob Block and Joe Charles
is just the tip of the iceberg. In addition, he has performed
with such international jazz luminaries as Clark Terry, Steve
Turre, John Pizzarelli, and Lewis Nash. In addition to his energetically
creative work on bass violin, he also performs expertly on six-string
DAVID JOHNSTONE, the drummer for the JOHN WOLF
QUARTET from July 1999, has, as of January 3, 2000, gone to Los
Angeles to "seek his fortune." Being the superb musician
he is, he should have no trouble establishing himself in that
highly competitive environment, and all of us in the St. Louis
jazz community wish him well. His long-time instructor, KEVIN
GIANINO, takes his place in the JOHN WOLF QUARTET.
KEVIN GIANINO, who begins performing with the
QUARTET as of February 6, is considered one of the most versatile
and talented drummers in the region. In addition to his extensive
teaching duties and a roster of students who are themselves among
the top performers in the area, his expertise crosses all musical
boundaries. Since graduating from the University of Missouri (St.
Louis) in 1979, he has performed with artists as varied as Roger
Williams, vocalists Diane Schuur and Nancy Wilson, trumpet masters
Clark Terry and Bobby Shew, woodwind virtuosos Lew Tabackin, David
"Fathead" Newman and Nick Brignola, trombonists Bill
Watrous and Al Grey, composer/arranger Toshiko Akiyoshi, the great
Red Skelton, and other well-known artists far too numerous to
mention in these pages. We look forward to the creativity, virtuosity,
vast experience and impeccable professionalism which Kevin brings
to the JOHN WOLF QUARTET.
As for me, you can get my "vital statistics"
by going to the JOHN WOLF page and the JOHN WOLF'S RESUME page.
For more info or booking email me HERE, phone 314.962.3266 or
fax me at 314.968.9466...Mail all purchases by check or money
order to: BONEHENGE MUSIC, 1247 McKinley Ave., St. Louis, MO 63119-1161
Enjoy yourself, and thanks for stopping in!!!