Wolff & Clark Expedition
Michael Wolff piano, Mike Clark drums, Eddie Henderson trumpet, James Genus bass, Hailey Niswanger alto & soprano sax
The band, featuring Hailey Niswanger, Eddie Henderson and James Genus, is co-led by pianist Michael Wolff and drummer Mike Clark. Both musicians started their careers in the San Francisco Bay area in the 1970’s and have continued to create, record and perform into the new millennium. Both have backgrounds performing and recording in the bands of the premiere jazz musicians of their time.
Michael Wolff was a member of the bands of Cannonball Adderley, Sonny Rollins, Jean Luc Ponty, Airto Moreira and Flora Purim, and singer Nancy Wilson, among many others. As musical director of The Arsenio Hall Show, Wolff performed with artists ranging from Yo Yo MA to Grandmaster Flash, and with Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, and Chick Corea as well.
Mike Clark created his own innovative style of drumming as a member of Herbie Hancock’s Headhunters Band, and has gone on to be a leader of the Headhunters himself. Clark has performed and recorded with Wayne Shorter, Wallace Roney, Donald Harrison, Chet Baker, Christian McBride, Eddie Henderson, Nicholas Payton, Lenny White, and countless others.
James Genus is one of the most versatile and in-demand bassist on the scene today. He is well known for his talents on both the acoustic and the electric bass. He attended Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) where he was introduced to Miles Davis, Coltrane, Monk, and the acoustic bass. During his latter years at VCU he studied and played with pianist Ellis Marsalis, who furthered his musical knowledge. He moved to New York, where his first major gig was with Blue Note recording artists Out of the Blue. From there he moved on to play/record with artist such as Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Michael Brecker, Branford Marsalis, Dianne Reeves, Ravi Coltrane, and Dave Douglas. He is currently in the Saturday Night Live Band while also continuing to perform, produce, and write music.
Eddie Henderson had the good fortune of meeting many famous musicians growing up – including getting early tips from Satchmo – because his parents were both entertainers. His mother was a dancer at the original Cotton Club and his father a member of the popular singing group Billy Williams and the Charioteers. His stepfather was a doctor to people like Miles and Coltrane and Duke Ellington, so the association with musicians continued. Eddie studied hard in school and in addition to excelling on his instrument, he excelled academically enough to go to medical school and become a doctor. Dr. Henderson practiced as a physician part-time for many years, in addition to playing gigs and learning directly from two of his other main trumpet influences – Lee Morgan and Freddie Hubbard. In addition to his stint with Herbie Hancock, Henderson has performed with such notables as Art Blakey, Dexter Gordon, Roy Haynes, Jackie McLean, Joe Henderson, Elvin Jones, Johnny Griffin, Slide Hampton, Benny Golson, Max Roach and McCoy Tyner. In addition to his European Tours, Eddie performs in the Mingus Big Band and tours with the Eddie Henderson Quartet.
From 1968 until the late Eighties, Henderson mixed music and medicine, and received his first major musical exposure as a member of Herbie Hancock s trailblazing sextet, an ensemble that also included young innovators such as Bennie Maupin, Julian Priester, Buster Williams, and Billy Hart. From 1960 through 1973 they recorded Mwandishi and Crossings for Warner Bros. and Sextant for Columbia. His experiences with Hancock exerted a profound influence on Henderson, as reflected in the music on his first two solo albums, Realization and Inside Out, recorded in 1972 and 1973 for Capricorn Records.
After leaving Hancock, the trumpeter worked extensively with Pharoah Sanders, Norman Connors, and Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, returning to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1975 where he joined the Latin-jazz group Azteca, and fronted his own bands. The expressive rhythmic thrust of Henderson’s jazz/fusion experiences manifested itself on his Blue Note recordings Sunburst and Heritage, and in 1977, he broke through with a single on the Billboard charts, “Prance On” (from the album Comin’ Through).