Michael Wolff

Michael Wolff

Michael Blieden Wolff
31 July 1952 (1952-Template:Pad2digit-Template:Pad2digit) (age 64)
Victorville, California U.S.
Jazz pianist
Years active
Columbia Records (Maybe Nickelodeon Records)
Associated acts

Michael Blieden Wolff (born July 31, 1952) is an American jazz pianist and composer. Wolff is best known for his role as the bandleader and musical director of The Arsenio Hall Show. 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.


Personal life

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


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

Singer Nancy Wilson chose Wolff as her musical director. 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. 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, as well as writing for and performing in other films. 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. 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.

Wolff oftens plays in various nightclubs in Manhattan, including the Knickerbocker Bar and Grill (photo, above right), performing with members of the Michael Wolff Trio, such as drummer Victor Jones and bass player John B. Williams.



Year Film Role Notes
1987 Magic Sticks Bob Movie
1999 The Tic Code Sound Engineer #2 Movie


Year Title Role Notes
1990 Beverly Hills, 90210 Duane Episode: Every Dream Has Its Price (1990)
2007-2009 The Naked Brothers Band Dad/Sonny Wolff Reg Series

Guest Star

Guest appearances
Year Title Role Notes


  • 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

Awards and mention

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. Wolff and sons won the 2007 BMI Film and TV Award for the music on The Naked Brothers Band (TV series).

External links

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