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Michael WOLFF Musician, Composer and Actor, New York


 A native of New Orleans who grew up in Memphis and San Francisco, Wolff began to study classical piano at the age of eight. He was offered a scholarship to San Francisco's American Conservatory Theater, but passed it up to study at U.C.L.A. and U.C. Berkeley. At the age of nineteen, impatient to begin his career, he left college to tour and record with jazz vibist Cal Tjader. After four albums and a world tour with Tjader, Wolff moved to Manhattan to play gigs with such music greats as Cannonball Adderely (and performed on Cannon's final album, "Phoenix"), Sonny Rollins, the Thad Jones / Mel Lewis Orchestra, Lean-Luc Ponty, and Airto Morelia & Flora Purim. In the late seventies, singer Nancy Wilson hired Wolff as her music director, a position he held for five years, and which enabled him to learn orchestration and to conduct symphony orchestras around the world. During this time, he became good friends with Wilson's opening act, the young comedian Arsenio Hall. When Hall was eventually offered his own talk show in 1989, he chose Wolff to lead the band. The stint on national television was a temporary detour from Wolff's jazz career, but it brought him fame, along with the chance to play and become friends with musical idols such as Miles Davis, to perform at President Bill Clinton's inauguration, and to meet his future wife, Polly Draper, when she was a guest on the show during her "thirtysomething" days. Since "The Arsenio Hall Show" went off the air, Wolff has returned to jazz, and has earned wide acclaim for his albums, "Jumpstart!" (1995) and "2 A.M." (1996). He has just released "Pool of Dreams," a duet album with Alex Foster (the saxophonist who actually played Gregory Hines' music in The Tic Code), and in January, 1998, will release his next album, "Portraiture: The Blues Period" on the Fuel 2000/Varese Seaband label.