Holly Hofmann, Mike Wofford
and Essiet Okon Essiet

Holly Hofmann, Mike Wofford and Essiet Okon Essiet
August 23rd at 2pm
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All events will be held at the Lodge at Otter Crest unless otherwise noted

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Holly Hofmann

Bio taken from Holly’s website: www.hollyhofmann.com

Holly smiling & fluteBorn in Cleveland, Holly always had her head in music. Although jazz fans themselves, her parents insisted she have a solid foundation in classical technique. After high school at the prestigious Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan, she gained her formal education through studies with the Cleveland Orchestra’s principal flutist Maurice Sharp. She then earned her bachelor’s in music degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music and her graduate degree from the University of Northern Colorado.

During summers away from school, Hofmann would travel to New York to study with Frank Wess and Slide Hampton and began sitting in at jam sessions, learning the necessary jazz standard repertoire. It was their encouragement that convinced her to pursue a career in jazz flute.

Following graduate studies in Colorado, Hofmann moved to San Diego, California in the late-1980s and began working with pianist Mike Wofford and bassist Bob Magnusson, both long-time stalwarts of the California jazz scene. Her first CD Take Note was recorded with them and drummer Sherman Ferguson in 1989 for Capri Records.

It was during her early years in San Diego that Hofmann began booking a four-night-a-week national jazz program at the Horton Grand Hotel and other San Diego area venues, presenting hundreds of nationally acclaimed artists including Diana Krall, Cassandra Wilson, Tommy Flanagan and Joe Henderson.

She also began performing nationally with pianist Bill Cunliffe, a partnership that led to several recordings in duo and other configurations for Cleveland-based Azica Records. They recorded Just Duet, Vol. 1 and 2 and Live at Birdland in a quartet with bassist Ray Brown and drummer Victor Lewis. The pair toured extensively playing festivals and chamber venues worldwide and performing both jazz and classical compositions in brilliantly seamless arrangements.

Hofmann began working with the legendary Ray Brown at New York’s Village Vanguard in the mid-‘90s and later toured throughout the United States and Europe with Brown’s trio as a guest artist. She credits Brown’s support as one of the major turning points in her career and recalls that each performance with him was a learning experience.

Hofmann and the highly respected pianist/arranger Wofford married in 2000 and the two toured in a quartet with Brown and Lewis. Besides her work with Slide Hampton and Frank Wess, Hofmann has collaborative with Kenny Barron, Cedar Walton, John Clayton, Houston Person, Regina Carter, Terell Stafford and Kevin Mahogany, among many others.

Mike Wofford

Bio taken from www.caprirecords.com

MikeWofford.wideaHaving appeared on over two hundred recordings as a sideman, pianist Mike Wofford now continues to record and perform primarily as a leader.  He has received critical acclaim for his “Live at Maybeck” volume 18 in the Concord Records solo piano series, and his 2004 CD “Live at Athenaeum Jazz” on Capri Records features bassist Peter Washington and drummer Victor Lewis. In 2007, Capri released “Live at Athenaeum Jazz, Vol. 2”, a duo CD with flutist Holly Hofmann.

A native Texan, Wofford was raised in San Diego, California, where he resides currently. His mother was a professional singer, and he began studying piano at age seven. At eighteen, he moved to Los Angeles and entered the jazz scene there during the 1960s.

His first professional performances were with the legendary Lighthouse All-Stars and the bands of Teddy Edwards, Red Norvo, Chet Baker, Bud Shank, and Shorty Rogers. It was during this time that he appeared on his first jazz recordings, with Mel Torme, Gary Burton and Joe Pass.  He also subsequently recorded his first albums on Epic and Discovery under his own name.

By the late 1960s, Wofford became busy as a free-lance session player in Los Angeles on recording dates and motion picture and TV soundtracks. He was the staff pianist on such live TV series as “The Bill Cosby Show” with Quincy Jones, and was first-call pianist for Oliver Nelson at Universal Pictures. During this period, he also became active as an arranger, working at Capitol Records as well as writing for such artists as Sergio Mendes, and the Mike Barone Big Band.

Wofford also began his longtime association with drummer Shelly Manne, playing and recording with Manne’s various groups over the years. Mike toured Europe with the Shelly Manne/Lee Konitz Quartet, and later South America, Europe and Japan as pianist and music director for Sarah Vaughan. He returned to Japan for several tours with Shelly Manne, Harry “Sweets” Edison, Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, and Zoot Sims, and subsequently with the Benny Carter Orchestra. He also traveled to Brazil with the Benny Carter Quartet.

In 1989, he became pianist and music director for Ella Fitzgerald until her retirement in 1992. He was also house pianist during this time at San Diego’s two national jazz clubs, Elario’s and the Horton Grand Hotel. At these venues he performed with many legendary jazz figures from Art Farmer and Charlie Haden to Slide Hampton and Ray Brown, among many others.

Wofford currently performs and tours with his own groups and as co-leader in a quartet with his wife, flutist Holly Hofmann. He is also now performing with and arranging for their string orchestra configuration focused on the music of Antonio Carlos Jobim, and Ellington/Strayhorn. He continues to be one of the most in-demand pianists in jazz, working with such artists as Charles McPherson, Kevin Mahogany, Houston Person, James Moody, Phil Woods, Kenny Burrell and Benny Golson.

Essiet Okon Essiet

Bio taken from www.allaboutjazz.com

OkonEssietConsidered one of the top bassists in jazz today, Essiet Essiet first received critical acclaim over a decade ago in Bobby Watson’s group Horizon. Born in Nebraska to Nigerian parents, he began studying violin at age10 and switched to bass viol at 14. As a child, he traveled widely with his family and that early exposure to many cultures, folk- ways, languages, and religions fostered his world view of strength through diversity. 

Some musicians are purists, says Essiet, but I like to mix styles. Essiet was Art Blakey’s last bassist, playing with him for 2 years and on 3 CDs. He’s also performed with Freddie Hubbard, Cedar Walton, Benny Golson, and the Blue Note All-Stars, to name a few. Essiet also leads IBO, a Nigerian jazz project.