Michael Wolff Fuses Rock, Jazz and World Musics
to Explore a New Landscape on Love & Destruction
Covers of Radiohead, Rolling Stones, Warren Zevon (and More)
are Paired with Original Tracks
Michael Wolff challenges expectations on his upcoming CD, Love & Destruction. Integrating rock, pop and world musics with his underlying jazz sensibilities, Wolff has cultivated a new terrain for himself - fusing original tracks with eclectic covers, exploring and expressing songs lyrically as well as musically.
Love & Destruction is an album of contrasts and provocative pairings -- elation and longing; confidence and insecurity; hope and despair; the masculine and the feminine; aggression and submissiveness; jazz and rock. Even the decision to add vocals is a reflection of the duality of this release -- as Wolff says: "Lyrics feel more concrete, and music more abstract -- using both is more of a 'Whole Brain Experience,' as the left brain is more word-oriented, and the right brain is more abstract/music-oriented."
The result may be perceived as 'Alt-jazz for the iPod generation' -- but regardless of the labels, this is very much a Michael Wolff album, anchored by his trademark forceful piano playing and winning arrangements.
Set for October 3rd release on WRONG RECORDS, the CD is 12 songs in all -- four original tracks and eight covers. The original compositions include "Tell Me," recorded with The African Children's Choir, and "Underwater," a somber reflection on the devastation in Wolff's native New Orleans. A music video for "Underwater" was filmed on location, and premiered at a recent Snug Harbor concert.
The covers include a mix of rock and alternative favorites, from The Rolling Stones' "Miss You" to Radiohead's "Everything in its Right Place" to such classics as "Ya Ya" and "Stop! In the Name of Love." The CD also includes Wolff's version of "Hostage O," a song written by his friend, the late Warren Zevon. Wolff deconstructs all these familiar tunes and rebuilds them within the framework of his evolving sound -- sometimes the result is jazzy, sometimes it's "atmospheric rock," sometimes there's a world music vibe, often an amalgam of the three -- regardless, Wolff pulls off the task with confidence and aplomb, as the songs come together as an intimate reflection of his state of mind.
Wolff adds: "I wasn't planning on making a vocal CD. I just wanted to add some color to the music. I've always loved singing, and loved accompanying some of the wonderful singers I've played for. I started out with a song I had written, "Falling in Love," as well as "Stop! In the Name of Love," and Warren Zevon's "Hostage O." I went into the studio and laid down the tracks, and sang from the piano as we were recording. I listened to those songs for a few months, and decided to continue working on other songs with words. In fact, I tried to go back to doing an instrumental record, but couldn't shake the vocal thing. It just kept coming up..." Whereas Wolff has described his critically-acclaimed 2004 release Dangerous Vision as the album he's "always wanted to make," he says that Love & Destruction is the album "he just had to make." "I love singing, I love the feel in my chest and throat of singing. It's visceral and sensual. Very physical. I love words and writing words, so singing words is the best possible combination of music and lyrics."
In keeping with the concept of a "Whole Brain Experience," Wolff intends to embrace a tech-friendly, multi-media approach to the release of the album -- music videos, blogs, downloadable concert performances, a re-vamped website and more. In signing with WRONG RECORDS (Libby Johnson, Free Range Overground, Adrienne Frantz, more,) Wolff has partnered with a cutting-edge label with the savvy and determination to take his "Indierockpopworldjazz" album to a new audience.