the son of a concert-trained pianist and songwriter Sam Wolf, Alan began
studying piano at age 6. In the Third grade, borrowing his uncle’s trumpet, he
joined the school orchestra after two weeks of quick study. At age 12, in a
sledding accident he knocked out his two front teeth thus beginning a life long
struggle to play the cornet through acrylic crowns. He began studying with the
late Sigmund Herring of the Philadelphia Orchestra while a teenager. As a
freshman at Oberlin College, playing chess one evening with the now New York
author and jazz critic Richard Sudhalter, he was introduced to the music of
legendary jazzman Bix Beiderbecke and the course of his life was altered.
Transferring to Temple University, Wolf spent every afternoon for two years
studying the styles of Bix, Louis Armstrong, Harry James and “Wild” Bill
Davidson. In 1961 while stationed at Fort Gordon, GA., Alan’s 7-piece band won
all the talent shows and played weekly in Augusta, GA.
Taped by RCA Victor, he was invited to California to
record, but chose to come back to Philadelphia. In Philadelphia, Wolf recorded
several tracks at the studio of Phil Specter but none were ever released. Rising
in the business world and playing weekends at Clubs, Weddings, etc., the
Co-Leader of Wolf Davis Orchestra gained a reputation as the man with the Golden
Horn, playing at every hotel and country club in the Philadelphia area. Like Red
Nichols, he put his horn away for five years when business demands and young
children left no time for music. But when son Steven began to make his own
reputation as a hot young drummer in High School, Wolf began to accept music
work again, taking Steven with him to introduce him to “commercial gigs.”
But Steven said what he wanted was Berkeley in Boston and off he went. At the
age of 24, with Grover Washington Jr., Steven performed at the Newport Jazz
Festival and has gone on to fame with Annie Lenox, Patti Austin, Hyram Bullock
and a list of greats. Young son Michael, an honors grad of Maryland University
made his own way, playing lead horn on the final tour with the late Phyllis
Hyman, and is building his own reputation as a gifted Tenor and Alto sax artist.
Oldest son Eric played trumpet through High School but pursued a stronger
interest in Magic and Electronic Engineering.
1990, bass player and musical friend Herman DeJong started the weekly Tuesday
Night Jam Session at the now famous 23rd St. Café, with the late
pianist Ron Lowden, Bix Wolf, Dick Harner on tenor sax and drummer “Big” Jim
Dofton, and Wolf was back.
Herman DeJong turned the reins over to drummer Bruce Klauber, a friendship and
musical laison was born and the rest, as they say, is history. Finally the 12
year old boy who stood in front of his Dad’s stereo and played along with
Harry James, was on his own C.D., King Douglas and his Bourbon Street Dixie Land
future is yet to come!
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