long as I'm blowing my own horn, I might as well tell you a bit
about myself and my musical journey to this website. I guess you
could call this a resume.
was born on New Year's Eve of 1951, in Washington, D.C., fifty-three
years ago. At the age of twelve, I began playing the trumpet.
I was fortunate enough to have a teacher who introduced me to
jazz in pretty short order. Also in short order, I found an old,
beat-up Conn 6-H tenor trombone at school, and fell in love with
it. My teacher had me listen to the 1937-38 Count Basie band,
(the one with Tbone soloists Dicky Wells and Benny Morton), and
I fell in love with that, too.
my one year of college in Vermont, I got in the habit of hitchhiking
to Boston on the weekends and going to jam sessions. Since that
absorbed most of my energy, I decided to drop out and move to
Boston, where I helped form my first serious band, the Pure Sound
Collective. After about a year and a half of regional touring,
the band broke up and in early 1972 I moved to New York City.
in New York, I attended a number of ongoing workshops led by such
musicians as Sam Rivers, Barry Altschul, Lee Konitz, and Ornette
Coleman, among others. I also joined German multi-instrumentalist
Gunter Hampel and the GALAXIE DREAM BAND, with whom I recorded
two albums. (I was fortunate, while performing with the GALAXIE DREAM BAND, to make the acquaintance of trombonist Marty Cook; now living in Germany, he continues to express himself with some of the most delicately beautiful sounds I've ever heard from the trombone). During this time, I had the privilege of studying with trombonist Garrett List, one of the finest, most versatile and fluent trombonists in both classical and jazz idioms, especially the avant-garde reaches of both disciplines.
early 1975, I moved to southwestern Massachusetts, in the Berkshire
Mountains, where I had lived while in the Pure Sound Collective.
There I found work with a jazz quintet of local musicians, and
also found work as a refrigeration mechanic.
1976, I joined the Boston-based POWERHOUSE BLUES BAND, which specialized
in the horn-heavy "jump blues" sound of the 1940's and
early 50's. I toured New England, New York state, and the Washington,
D.C. area for about a year, and in 1977 was offered a teaching
position with a jazz workshop in Pittsfield, Mass. which had received
a grant to operate for a year. In 1978, the funding for the workshop
had ended; I spent another year working in the area in different,
and mostly commercial, bands. However, work was by then becoming
1979, I moved to the Washington, D.C. area, and worked in a variety
of blues and r & b bands, small jazz groups, and several jazz
1982, along with four others, I helped found the band which would
become the UPTOWN RHYTHM KINGS, a band which, like POWERHOUSE,
emphasized the "jump" blues tradition, along with a
healthy dose of early New Orleans r & b. Eventually the band
expanded to eight, and briefly ten, pieces, and enjoyed increasing
1987, domestic changes required me to leave the band and move
to St. Louis, Missouri. After about a three year absence from
the music scene, my domestic situation changed again, and I found
myself resuming my musical life with a vengeance. I rejoined the
UPTOWN RHYTHM KINGS after being included on their first album,
"OOH, WOW!" in 1990, and performed with them whenever
they went on tour. I also, in 1991, joined the local swing band
SWING SET, with whom I would perform full-time for the next two
1991, I also enrolled as a full-time music student at Webster
University, where I would also remain for two years. While there, I studied with bass trombonist JAMES MARTIN, who in addition to performing with the St. Louis Muny Opera has performed with the great St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, the Rochester Symphony, the Buddy Rich Orchestra, and other top-notch classical and jazz orchestras.
July of 1993, I formed the John Wolf Quartet, with whom I would
release a C-D in December of 1993. This led directly to the establishment
of BONEHENGE MUSIC.
1994 I formed SPEAK EASY, a trio specializing in early (1920's
and 30's) blues and pop which worked for about a year, and played
extensively with other local bands, playing music ranging from
solo jobs to jazz to "alternative" rock bands to bluegrass/Balkan
folk-influenced bands. As I acquired more technical skills, I
branched out into the sound and recording fields to a limited
1996, in addition to my musical activities, I put some sweat equity
into a new, and welcome, addition to the St. Louis club scene,
BB's Jazz, Blues and Soups. BB's is a name which has regularly
appeared, and will appear again, on my calender page.
December of 1997, I was flown to Vancouver, B.C. to record for
Warner Brothers/ Canada with Canadian Superstar COLIN JAMES, a
C-D entitled "Little Big Band II", featuring some of
the best examples of the "Jump Blues" and Swing genres.
January of 1998 I was hired as the newest member of the great
Jump/Swing/R & B band ROOMFUL OF BLUES. I performed continuously
with them for over a year and a half, travelling all over the
United States and most of Western Europe and recording the C-D
"There Goes The Neighborhood" (Rounder/ Bullseye Blues
#11661-9609-2) in February of 1998. In May of '99, while on tour
in Switzerland, I was privileged on two occasions to perform with
St. Louis trumpet legend CLARK TERRY, while in Bern.
July of 1999, due to my responsibilities as a parent and my desire
to spend more time on my own projects such as the JOHN WOLF QUARTET
and my wish to be more of a presence on the St. Louis music scene,
I reluctantly resigned from that fine organization. I thus found
myself back in St. Louis, fronting my Quartet, performing with
blues legend BENNIE SMITH and his band URBAN BLUES EXPRESS, and
free-lancing with other groups and in the commercial studios.
A highlight of this period was getting to perform several times
with bassist MARK DEUTSCH, one of St. Louis' top instrumentalists
and inventor of the "Bazantar," an instrument combining
the full-size double bass with the Indian Sitar, in Deutch's group
MASS AMALGAM. I thus found myself performing with icons of the
New York avant-garde just like nearly 30 years previously; players
such as reedman J.D. PARRAN of St. Louis Black Artist Group fame,
and trumpet virtuoso ROY CAMPBELL.
2001, I was asked to join one of the finest and longest-running
St. Louis blues bands, the SOULARD BLUES BAND. Currently, I find
most of my performing is taking place with them and with the UNIVERSITY
CITY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA, with whom I perform on bass trombone.
there you have it! Plant you now, dig you later, and hope to see
you around, or right here at my website!
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