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Michael Wolff

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Michael Blieden Wolff[1] (born July 31, 1952)[1] is a Jewish American jazz pianist and composer. Wolff is best known for his role as the bandleader and musical director of The Arsenio Hall Show.[2] He was also the co-star on Nickelodeon's The Naked Brothers Band with sons Nat and Alex Wolff; it was a mock documentary created by his wife actress Polly Draper.[3]


Personal life

Wolff, whose father Marvin was a social worker, was born in Victorville, California, and was raised in New Orleans, Tennessee, and California.[1] He studied classical piano from the age of eight, and attended U.C.L.A. and U.C. Berkeley.[2] Wolff is married to actress/writer Polly Draper. They have two children, Nat Wolff and Alex Wolff. His family is culturally Jewish.[4] Wolff has Tourette syndrome;[4] he serves on the Board of Directors of the Tourette Syndrome Association (TSA),[5] and is involved with mentoring children with Tourette's through the chapters of the TSA.[6]


Wolff dropped out of college to begin his music career, joining Cal Tjader's band.[7] In 1975, he joined Cannonball Adderley's band.[7] Wolff worked with other famous musicians including Warren Zevon, the Thad Jones/ Mel Lewis Orchestra, Sonny Rollins, Wayne Shorter, Tony Williams, and Christian McBride.[7] In 1979, Wolff composed and played original music—and served as host—for the Riverside Shakespeare Company production of The Mandrake featuring Tom Hanks.[8]

Singer Nancy Wilson chose Wolff as her musical director.[2] Arsenio Hall was Wilson's opening act, and Wolff was chosen as the bandleader and musical director of his talk show, The Arsenio Hall Show, where he met his wife, actress Polly Draper when she appeared on the show.[2] Wolff is the leader of a jazz band, Michael Wolff and Impure Thoughts, which features Indian tabla player Badal Roy, drummer Mike Clark and electric bassist John B. Williams.

He wrote music for the films Who's the Man? and Made up,[6] as well as writing for and performing in other films.[9] A movie released on video in 1999—The Tic Code starring Gregory Hines as a saxophone player with Tourette syndrome who befriends a young boy with Tourette's—was written by Draper and is loosely based on Wolff's life. Wolff contributed the music score and Draper co-stars in the film.[10] Wolff co-stars in The Naked Brothers Band on Nickelodeon with his sons, Nat and Alex. The show is created, executive produced, written, and directed by Polly Draper. Wolff is the co-executive producer and music supervisor of the show.[3]


  • 2AM
  • Jumpstart!
  • Portraiture: The Blues Period
  • Christmas Moods
  • 2000 – The Tic Code Soundtrack – Composer
  • 2000 – Impure Thoughts (Indianola Music) – Composer
  • 2001 – Intoxicate (Indianola Music) – Composer
  • 2003 – Getting Into Heaven Soundtrack – Composer and producer
  • 2004 – Dangerous Vision (Artemis Records) – Composer
  • 2006 – Love & Destruction (Wrong Records) – Composer
  • 2007 – jazz, JAZZ, jazz – Composer and producer
  • 2007 – The Naked Brothers Band – Producer
  • 2008 – I Don't Want To Go To School – Producer
  • 2009 – Joe's Strut – Composer

Honors and awards

Wolff was honored as a Steinway Artist in June 2006. The Tic Code won awards at the Berlin International Film Festival, the Giffoni Film Festival and the Hamptons International Film Festival.[11] Wolff and sons won the 2007 BMI Film and TV Award for the music on The Naked Brothers Band (TV series).[7]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Michael Wolff. Retrieved on 12 January 2006.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Nickelodeon's New TEENick Series The Naked Brothers Band to Bow With Star-Studded TV Movie on Saturday, January 27, and 'Rock On' With Weekly Episodes Starting February 3.". Digital Media Online. 27 January 2007. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Smason, Alan (2006-11-02). "Cleveland set to enjoy smooth jazz stylings of Michael Wolff". Cleveland Jewish News. Retrieved 2007-02-16. 
  5. Finances and Leadership. Tourette Syndrome Association. Retrieved on 4 January 2007.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Jazz Musician Michael Wolff (PDF). Tourette Syndrome Association. Retrieved on 4 January 2007.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Michael Wolff, Pianist. Retrieved on 2008-03-25.
  8. Review by Jann Racquoi, Heights/Inwood Press of North Manhattan, March 14, 1979.
  9. Michael Wolff (I) Filmography. Retrieved on 10 July 2006.
  10. The Tic Code. Retrieved on 9 May 2006.
  11. Awards for The Tic Code (1999). Retrieved on 10 July 2006.

External links

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Michael Wolff. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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