“The kid can play…so lyrical, and deft and swinging to boot.”
—Robert Pinsky, United States Poet Laureate
Patrick Wolff is a saxophonist, composer, bandleader, and educator, originally from New York, and currently residing in San Francisco.
Wolff attended New York University, where he studied with Ralph Lalama, George Garzone, Frank Foster, Ron McClure, and Frank Kimbrough. In the jazz world, Patrick Wolff has toured heavily with the Glenn Miller Orchestra, worked with Shane Endsley, Josh Roseman, Judi Silvano, and Ron McClure, and has had the great fortune of performing with many of the world’s greatest musicians, including Louis Hayes, Tootie Heath, Peter Bernstein, Larry Grenadier, Matt Wilson, Drew Gress, Marcus Gilmore, Gregory Hutchinson, Joe Lovano, George Cables, Marcus Belgrave, Dayna Stephens, Taylor Eigsti, Julian Lage, and Ray Drummond. As a bandleader, he led a trio in NYC with bassist Chris Van Voorst Van Beest and drummer Yujiro Nakamura. An artistic success, this group performed regularly at clubs like Zebulon, the Bar Next Door, and Louis 649, was an active member of the MTA’s Music Under New York program, and released a cd entitled Petals.
Since relocating to the Bay Area, Wolff has worked with many of the most exciting local bandleaders, including Graham Connah, Marcus Shelby, and Andrew Speight, and currently leads a trio with bassist John Wiitala and drummer Hamir Atwal, as well as a sextet with the same trio, trumpeter Erik Jekabsen, pianist Adam Shulman, and saxophonist Andrew Speight. Both groups perform original music and can be seen in regular performance. The trio and sextet have recorded two records, “Your Obedient Ghost” and “Noose of Light”.
Wolff is a member of the San Francisco Jazz Orchestra and often appears with Mike Johnson’s 8-Legged Monster, the Ray Band, and mood pop duo The Matinees. He can be seen regularly in residence every Wednesday at Club Deluxe, where he plays with a classic jazz quartet featuring Adam Shulman, Eric Markowtiz and bass, and Smith Dobson V on drums. On Saturday nights, Wolff often plays Mexican folk music and original songs at the Roosevelt Tamale Parlor with singer Diana Gameros.
Wolff’s experiences as a sideman reach far beyond the jazz world. His first national tour was with punk band/comic troupe The Loose Nuts, and his longest-running musical association was with Afro-beat/highlife juggernaut Asiko. He spent a year as a member of the seminal avant-garde compositional rock group Kayo Dot, and has played with Nigerian reggae star Majek Fashek, fuji music legend Adewale Ayuba, and indie rock giants Calexico.
As a composer, Wolff blends melodies and forms from a broad base of folk traditions and his own experiences with the advanced jazz conceptions of composers like Andrew Hill, Ornette Coleman, and Booker Little. His music reflects a great reverence for jazz tradition, a high degree of attention to melody and feel, a non-traditional approach to structure and form, and an advanced awareness of sound. His saxophone playing is an extension of these principles and has been praised for its warmth, originality, and focus.
As an educator, Wolff has taught privately for 14 years and worked on the faculty of the Stanford Jazz Workshop for 12 years.