Michael Wolff and his band have achieved the near-impossible

Eclectic Music in the spotlight

The former musical director of TV’s “The Arsenio Hall Show,” Michael Wolff and his five-man band have achieved the near-impossible with “Impure Thoughts.”

The veteran keyboardist and his group, who perform here Wednesday night at Brick By Brick in Bay Park, fuse jazz, funk, world music, hip-hop and more. They shine whether performing striking songs by Wolff (the tabla-driven “Empty House,” both featuring former Miles Davis/Ornette Coleman percussionist Badal Roy) or deftly reinventing classics (John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme,” Nat Adderley’s “Work Song”).

Wolff, who counts Sonny Rollins and Cal Tjader among his former employers, is a sparkling soloist and nimble ensemble player. His band, which includes Brazilian percussion dynamo Airto Moreira and ex-Herbie Hancock drummer Mike Clark, matches him note for note.

San Diego Union Tribune, George Varga, February 10, 2005