Vincent Wolfe Bio
Since the 1999 release of his widely acclaimed debut album Trust the Vibe, Canadian jazz crooner Vincent Wolfe has built a reputation as one of the most original interpreters of song on the North American jazz scene. His captivating warmth and vocal expressiveness have been described by Manhattan Transfer founding member Laurel Massé as “somewhere between Chet Baker and Mel Tormé… a wonderful place to be!” According to legendary jazz singer Marlena Shaw, the Toronto native “has been blessed with a golden sound” while renowned critic Robert Enright recently praised Vincent’s voice as having “an honesty that is really remarkable and mellifluous.”
Vincent Wolfe was introduced to music at an early age. His teen years were spent in musical theatre and cabaret, however, it was a backstage meeting with his idol, jazz-soul diva Phyllis Hyman, in New York, that inspired him to focus on a solo jazz career. The encounter also resulted in a profound friendship and mentorship that lasted until Hyman’s untimely passing. Wolfe’s connection with Phyllis brought him to the attention of “Philly Soul” songstress Jean Carne, who liked what she heard and showcased Vincent on many of her U.S. club and concert dates.
Trust the Vibe featured celebrated Canadian jazz players Sean Bray, George Koller and Pat LaBarbera and received much praise from both fans and critics for its eclectic song selection. He followed up in 2001 with Until Tomorrow — another seamless blend of standards and original tunes featuring jazz heavyweights Mike Murley (of Metalwood) and Boston’s Matthias Lupri. The project was singled out by the National Jazz Awards as one of the top releases of the year.
In addition to his club and festival dates, Vincent was invited to perform at the National Arts Center in Ottawa. He was also showcased on the 2004 Universal Records compilation Here Come the Boys… A Canadian Crooner Collection. The release prompted National Post music critic Robert Cushman to single Wolfe out as “one of the best lyric interpreters on hand.”
In 2005, Vincent Wolfe reconnected with his musical roots as one of only two Canadian performers chosen to participate in the Cabaret Conference at Yale University. His performance at Yale’s New Theatre garnered kudos from a “who’s who” of Broadway and cabaret luminaries. Time spent in this program was a revelatory experience, and according to Vincent completely changed his approach to performing.”
This paved the way for Wolfe’s successful New York City debut in 2007, for which he received a prestigious MAC award nomination. The following year, Vincent played his first club dates in Quebec City and Montréal, wowing French-Canadian audiences. Wolfe followed up by returning to New York in June for an encore engagement, an appearance at The Lincoln Centre’s Barnes & Noble and an all-star cabaret showcase at the Laurie Beechman Theatre. Vincent also performed in Chicago for the 2008 Rita Hayworth Alzheimer’s Gala. Also that same year Wolfe collaborated with renowned pianist/composer John Roby on another cabaret show ─ “Diva’s Are a Boy’s Best Friend” which debuted in November at Toronto’s Polar Ice Lounge to standing-room-only crowds.
Vincent Wolfe has played in numerous jazz festivals and clubs both in Canada and in the U.S. These include Buffalo’s Trafalmadore Café, Detroit’s Chene Park Amphitheatre, Sculler’s in Boston and New York City’s famed Birdland. Toronto appearances include The Senator, Montreal Bistro, Rex Jazz & Blues Bar, The Old Mill, NOW Lounge and Live@Courthouse, to name only a few.
In March 2010, Vincent wrapped up a year-long stint performing on the prestigious Cunard ocean liners Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria. Backed by the Queen’s Room Orchestra, Wolfe entertained thousands of thrilled passengers in “the largest ballroom at sea.” He also appeared at the opulent Royal Court Theatre with the Royal Cunard singers and dancers and performed a series of big band concerts with a 15-piece orchestra.
In December 2010, Vincent released his third CD entitled Weaver of Dreams. The project features top-flight Canadian players Sean Bray (guitar), Barry Romberg (drums), Lina Allemano (trumpet) and Louis Simao (bass). Wolfe wraps his velvety tenor around an enchanting mix of jazz standards, pop tunes and lesser-known gems mainly from the 40s and 50s. Wolfe brings a contemporary jazz-blues feel to James Taylor’s Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight, reinvents the Sondheim classic Send In The Clowns, puts a dark and sexy spin on Cry Me A River, and showcases his songwriting talent with an original ballad entitled Divided. Vincent Wolfe is currently working on two cabaret-jazz projects and is mapping out appearances in various Canadian and U.S. cities to promote Weaver of Dreams.
Reviews & Quotes
“Vincent’s…tone and style lie somewhere between Chet Baker and Mel Tormé…a wonderful place to be.” – LAUREL MASSÉ (Manhattan Transfer)
“There’s a kind of intimate quality to his voice. An honesty that is really remarkable and mellifluous…and rich.” ROBERT ENRIGHT – GLOBE & MAIL
“He’s a triple-threat! Singer, songwriter, entertainer! I’m a devoted fan.” JULIE WILSON (cabaret legend)
“Vincent Wolfe applies the regulation soft-sensitive voice to an R&B tune, You Just Don’t Know, with surprisingly satisfactory results; he proves one of the best lyric interpreters on hand…” (review of Here Come The Boys) ROBERT CUSHMAN – NATIONAL POST
“Young, hip, and well supported by a sympathetic keyboard-free rhythm section, Wolfe gently sings standards and originals with an R&B sensibility and smooth jazz appeal.” (review of Until Tomorrow) PLANET JAZZ
"One of the finest singers on the jazz scene today. Wolfe is forging new ground and steers clear of the rigid guidelines that ensnare most jazz musicians...he is his own man!"
"His tender and resolute voice uncannily captures the ebb and flow of the human heart...outstanding!" - METRO TIMES, DETROIT
"Drips with feeling and shows Wolfe's attuned sense of phrasing and timing...he leaves just enough space to keep the listener hooked. A versatile singer who hits the mark with each tune!" – DAVE NATHAN, AMG
"Wolfe's voice is a sweet, reverberating tenor perfect for his material…Conveys both serenity and strong emotion, knowing just when to lay back and when to pour it on…" - CADENCE MAGAZINE
"A pure and subtle voice…wonderful to listen to!" - DETOUR MAGAZINE
"Musical prayers have been answered for jazz fans…" ROSIE LEVINE - NOW TORONTO
"A clean, lean sexy sound. His singing is tight and right on!" - THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT
"Takes well-rewarded chances vocally…an exciting performer!" - BOSTON PHOENIX
"So fine…he's been blessed with a golden sound." MARLENA SHAW
"Great voice…loved his tone and interpretation…" - FAB MAGAZINE
"Versatile and pleasing…his thick-textured, atmospheric tenor voice contrasts well with Bray and Koller." GEOFF CHAPMAN - TORONTO STAR
"This versatile vocalist seems at ease with whatever he decides to sing…catch him when you can!" - TORONTO JAZZ
"His recording of 'Everything Happens To Me' is a killer track and is, by far, the finest interpretation since Chet Baker's in the late fifties..." – EXTRA!
"Canada has spawned still another excellent jazz performer! With his soft but effective delivery, his ability to swing and to caress a slow ballad, Wolfe has the vocal tools to be ranked high on the male jazz vocalist roster, which could use some good new blood." - ALL MUSIC GUIDE