Grant Wolf Memorial WebSite


Please contribute your memories and stories!


First News from Fred
Memorial Services Saturday
"Remembering Grant" - Steve Marsh
"CREATE" - Brad Payne
from Bill Lieske
From Lori Mock (Robinson)
"Something to Say" - Jeff Papineau
from Keith Miles
from Deborah Weisz
from David Friesen
"Amazing Man" - Rick Samaniego
from Allan Chase
"One of Many" - Frank Darmiento
"Grant memories..." - Patty Chase
A True Gentleman...Denny Monce
from Greg Boyer
from James Kass
"For The Love Of Grant" - Kelly Dean
from Sheri Baker
from Trudy Myers-Wise
Thank You Grant...Jim Henry
from Angel Armstrong
from David Findley
"THE SAGE" - Bob Washut
"One of a Kind" - David Crozier
"Late Night at the L.Q." - Ladd McIntosh
from Chris Armstrong
"ODE TO GRANT WOLF" - Les Felton
from Rob Schuh
"Inspirational Force" - Denny Marcum
Fifty-six is too young! - Ted Goddard
from Bob Weller
from Ray Herndon
from Joe Lloyd
from Matt McKenzie
"Legacy of Love" - Karen Dwyer
"Miss you, man"...Phil Harris
Carpe Diem - Dan Gutenkauf
from Chuck Lloyd
from Victor Mendoza
from Jerry Linderman
from Phil Harris
"The Ballgame & More Lights Out" - Marsh
"Hippies on the Highway" - James Kass
from Dick Weller
"Ode to a Father and Grandfather" by TIFFANY WOLF
Quote from "Illusions"
Xmas Times Past at Chuy's/ Chuck Jenkins' Bourbon Balls
Vince Wedge
from Denise Natseway Estudillo
No Time Like the Present - Chris Campbell
My Constant Teacher - Mike Shellans
One Year Later
Can It Really Be A Year Already?
from Peter Caruso
Grant talks about Bud Brisbois
Letter to Grant - Scott Yandell
Heather's Wedding
from Jeff Fields
"More Memories..." - Marsh
New Ladd McIntosh Band CDs!- features music inspired by Grant
Dr. Donald Wolf - R.I.P.
from Walter Pitts
from Russ Barnard
from Sheila Snyder
from Chris Fagan
from Kevin Higgins
from John Ettinger
Clinicians and Guests
from Dawn Allen
Short Article about Grant from 2000.
from Joshua Favors (Great Story!!)
from Kurt Moorehead
"Flunk Your Ass!"
from Chuck Curry
from Don Chance
from Dan Cataia
from Patryk deRosa
1976 Concert Flyer
Grant's Favorite Music
PHOTO: Don Bothwell - May, 2008
Photos:MCCers, 2008

August 21, 2002 First News from Fred

Hate to be the bearer of sad tidings........

Our friend, who has meant so much to us, in so many ways, Grant Wolf,
passed away Sunday night, August 18 at approximately 7:30pm. It is a
shock to everyone. The doctors have not determined a cause of death at
this time.

We are organizing a memorial service for this Saturday, August 24.
Trying to locate a space at MCC to accommodate everyone.

The family has requested accounts opened up for Parker and Emily - a
scholarship fund to help them through college instead of flowers.

I'll be sending out follow up email with all the details.

You can be of help by notifying other individuals. My email list is by
no means complete. Please call friends or forward this email.

God be with you,





Memorial Services Saturday

Dear Friends,

I believe this information is complete.

A memorial service will be held at 3:00pm, Saturday, August 24, 2002 at The
Theater Outback on the Mesa Community College campus, 1833 W. Southern
Ave., followed by a reception in the Navajo Room. In place of floral
arrangements, the family has opened a scholarship account for Emily and
Grant (Parker). Please make checks payable to Emily Wolf and Grant
Wolf. Please mail to the family residence at 1015 E. Liberty Lane,
Gilbert, AZ 85296-9741.

Several people have replyed to my email with some very nice words about
Grant and their relationship with him. If you would like to send
something, reply to me and I will put them in a book for the family.





Remembering Grant...

August 20, 2002.

Dear Friends,
I'm very sorry to report that: I've learned from several sources that
Grant Wolf passed away a few days ago. Charles Lewis and Gary Foster both called me with
this terrible news. Grant has been struggling with the ITP blood disease for some number of years.
Those who have known of his condition were aware of the potentially deadly consequences
of Grant's disease, yet we had hoped he could medically fight it off.

It's hard to know what to say about someone who was so great, who we loved so much,
who personally was one of the very most important people ever in my life, but these are my
immediate thoughts at this time (when I am still in shock - just having learned the news today.)

Grant affected so many peoples' lives in many very positive ways. He was an inspirational Guru
to many both in music and in life. Several generations of musicians are now out in the world practicing
their craft, much influenced by the lessons we learned from him. Legions of other former students now work outside of music but carry with them a profound appreciation and love for the musical arts they absorbed while students at Mesa Community College.

It was indeed one of the most fortunate days of my life when I ran into Grant at NAU Band Camp at age 17, and of course later was able to study with him at M.C.C.. Becoming a regular in the old Chuy's Choo Choo Monday Nite Band with Grant was a very big deal to me at the time.
At High School NAU Summer Band Camp, all of us high schoolers could immediately recognize that this was a totally cool dude who took a real interest in each of us personally, treated us as equals, and could demonstrate even to relative beginners: how to swing, how to improvise, and what records to listen to.
The first day I ever met Grant was at NAU Summer Music Camp, 1977. Grant was auditioning all the saxes who were trying out for the Jazz Bands there. I played something or other for him, stumbled through some sight reading, and then Grant played blues changes on piano and had me improvise. Finally, this was something I could do! Afterwards, Grant complimented me on my improv, and much to my surprise (and others'), he placed me in the top jazz band. At the NAU Camp, I met great young musicians such as Jim Henry, James Kass, Dave Stocker, Scott Shiever, and Jeff Dellisanti for the first time. Several years later, these same guys would be my classmates at MCC, and great friends even to this day. At my very first band rehearsal with Grant, he played us a record of the great Cuban band "Irakere". Grant said Irakere's pianist Chucho Valdez played really good until he started going totally berserk (a la Cecil Taylor) on his solo. Grant said Chucho was "going Ape-Shit" in that certain Grant voice where he could make something sound really hilarious. We all laughed at that comment and I thought to myself, this big tall guy is very funny and down to earth too! My very first day ever with Grant also involved Grant leading a discussion about free form improvisation in jazz, and we talked about avant-guarde artists such as "The Art Ensemble of Chicago". During that week, our ensemble did in fact experiment with making up totally free-form pieces. Heavy and exciting eye-opening concepts for us, 16 and 17 year old kids!!!
Another time, Grant had us play "Giant Steps" every day for a week, but with a different feel each day. So "Steps" would be a bossa, a ballad, a waltz, a samba, or an up tempo number each day.
Above all else, Grant taught us that it was all-important to really FEEL the music and internalize it.
It was a real wild trip to us high school kids for the instructor to shut off all the lights, plunging the room into total darkness, and announce that "OK, now you're going to improvise a Free Form piece. Go!" (!!!)
One of Grant's most important lessons surfaced that same summer.
One of our fellow students who was really quite an excellent improviser, was kind of 'loafing it' (going through the motions) on his solo one day. Grant dug what was going on and after the tune was finished he very seriously (with those eyes that could burn a hole through you) said, "You know, even though you cats are young, none of us know when we're going to die. Any one of us could get hit by a bus tomorrow, get cancer, a whole gang of things could happen. So every time you play your instrument, you better play it as if it's the last time ever, cuz you really never know." Now, 25 years later, I still remember what Grant said that day as one of the most important and serious things I ever heard about playing music (or doing anything else for that matter). I haven't always been able to live by those words, but it's a state of mind worth striving for.

Grant had the true gift, skills, and knowledge to be able to teach anyone, of any level from total beginner on up.
That is a real teacher! He could really get kids, or adults truly excited about playing music.

I remember at the end of summer music camp, on the last morning, Grant walked the jazz band over to the donut shop just off-campus to celebrate our good concert the night before. One of the kids took in the scene: the very tall Grant Wolf with his long flowing silvery hair leading this pack of youngsters around, and the kid said jokingly, "Hey, it looks like Jesus and His Disciples. Ha Ha Ha!" And you know, in some ways, it really was somewhat like that! We truly had the greatest awe and affection and loyalty for this man. Grant was a magician and we were learning about a magical, swinging, improvised music - Jazz!

Grant and M.C.C. didn't have the big ASU type scholarships to monetarily draw all of the best students around, but many of the up-and-coming players in the area still gravitated to the school for the heavy musical experiences, openness, and freedom they would find there. In the years I went to M.C.C., a taste of the Berkeley/Santa Cruz type counter-culture vibe was swirling around the music department. A lot of exploration and multi-faceted learning was going on there in the years I was there ('79-'82).

Grant always inspired whatever students were at M.C.C. to play Real Music with Heart, Soul, total Commitment, and Real Meaning. Our M.C.C. jazz band created an uproar when we won the 1981 Playboy Jazz Festival College competition. All the big four year California Universities were totally pissed that a Jr. College had won, but we had played some deep and meaningful music with honest improvisations, while the big schools were mostly about precision and flash, without much substance or soul.

We can today think back and appreciate how lucky we were to know Grant and to learn and play music with him. He was truly one of a kind. Grant always encouraged students to think for themselves and to also learn about aspects of philosophy and psychology. I got from Grant that music was a profound, powerful, mystical, transcendent experience that tied into the deeper levels of human existence. Yet Grant could impart these lessons and still be a very normal, unpretentious guy. I can hear him saying "Hey, let's go get a beer!"

I write this tonight from Nashville...on another long road trip with the Lyle Lovett band.
There are three of us in Lyle's band who studied with Grant. Dan Tomlinson and myself at M.C.C., and Tim Ray at NAU camp. Additionally, Lyle's original bassist (Matt McKenzie) (Ray Herndon) and guitarist were former M.C.C. students. And the original pianist, Matt Rollings, was at one of Grant’s workshops with Clare Fischer. Grant had Rollings come into the school and play for us when Matt was about 15 or 16. He was already burnin', even then! Matt is now a top-call studio pianist in Nashville. Francine Reed, who sings with Lyle used to sit in with Grant's Nite Band at Chuy's. This is just one microcosm/small snapshot of Grant's wide-ranging influence.

We are on tour for another month so I probably won't be able to attend whatever memorial service they get together back in AZ. I pray for Grant to now be in total peace and harmony, and I pray for his family.

Grant, you're My Main Man and you will always be in my heart. A Billion Thanks for everything.
Love You Always,
Steve Marsh




CREATE - from Brad Payne (Bradmo)

Many of you have no idea who I am but I grew up in Mesa and Tempe between
1973 and 1986. I was touched deeply by Grant's presence and find myself now
incredibly shaken by his absence. Steve has put into words so eloquently and
so beautifully what many of us are feeling. Thank you, Steve! Grant touched
so many people in so many ways... Just knowing that he's gone brings tears
to my eyes though I haven't spoken with him for some time. I'd like to share
a couple of stories because it helped me to hear Steve's and maybe this is
one way I can help ease the pain for myself and others.

When I was a high school student and first took Grant's improve class at NAU
summer camp, I came in expecting to get answers to the many questions I had
about jazz harmony. I guessed that he'd help us analyze chords and scales
and maybe answer all those theoretical questions that plagued me. We got
settled into the room and he wandered up to the chalkboard in that slow
meander of his. His eyes seemed to convey countless promises and stories
untold, his hands worked the chalk back and forth, and his hair screamed for
freedom from that leather string binding it into a ponytail. Surely he would
answer all of life's questions with the ultimate analysis!!

Much to my surprise, he didn't chart out any chord substitutions or
alternate changes. In fact, he didn't even write any music at all. He
simply wrote one word: CREATE. He didn't say anything for a while, but
finally put the chalk down and stroked his chin whiskers for a moment or
two. Then he asked us to think about what that meant to us. He wanted us to
think of how that one word (that immense concept) would impact our
improvising. He wanted us to be creators--not "improvisers", not players,
not any of a thousand possible things. He was so much deeper than I could
ever have imagined! That one moment sparked my curiosity more than I can
express in writing and I have returned in my mind's eye to that day
thousands of times since. The simpleness and gracefulness of that
gesture--of writing that word on the board and asking us to think about it's
consequences--defines for me how profound he was as a teacher. He inspired
everyone around him to become better musicians and better teachers simply by
being who he was, let alone by what he knew or what he was capable of doing.

Later, when I played in MCC's band, he had me play a feature on Frank
Mantooth's "Spring can really hang you up the most". The solo, as played by
Ashley Alexander on a recording that Grant shared with me, was a technical
tour de force. I confessed to Grant that I wasn't really into the doodle
thing. I sheepishly admitted that I didn't really like that kind of playing
as much as I did the spiritual or even guttural playing that came easier to
my ears and my chops. Grant chuckled in agreement and said that I shouldn't
play Ashley's version of it, or even think too much about it, but that I
should instead go for MY version of it--regardless of what anyone else
thinks. He wanted me to make a musical statement that reflected ME and not
to make a musical statement to please someone else (the judges, the faculty,
the trombone world--whoever!). What a tremendous vision to share with a
young and troubled student trying to find his way!!

That series of performances led to the first Yak attack (which some of you
know well from firsthand experience). I freaked out during a performance in
Nogales and got dry mouth to the point that I couldn't even get a sound out
of my horn. I was shaking like a leaf and nothing could calm me down. What a
humiliating moment... Grant wouldn't let up, though. He simply cheered me up
the best he could, he helped me laugh my way through it by agreeing that my
tone sounded like a yak in heat, bleating for it's mate. And he held fast in
his commitment to seeing me do it better next time. Instead of playing it
safe and cutting the tune from the remaining concerts on the tour, he just
kept putting me out there with it and gave me legs when mine failed. His
strength and calm soothed my ragged nerves. We drank fermented lettuce juice
after the concerts and laughed and I survived it and grew from it. I soon
found myself playing the tune without drying up and to this day it's a
feature that I play with the band I'm with now. He turned one of the most
dreadful failures of my life into one of my greatest accomplishments--simply
by not giving up on me when I was ready to crawl away and hide. How can I
ever repay that debt?!!!

It helps me now to recall the time that I called Grant when I heard about
him being sick and we spoke for the first time in a long time. He was ill,
but he was moving ahead with it. He had grave and deadly issues to contend
with but he was kicking its ass in every way he could find! He was curious
to know how I was doing and seemed upbeat and optimistic. Even over the
distance of thousands of miles between us and the numberless days gone by he
found a way to inspire me again. It's truly a gift that he had and I am so
grateful that he shared it with me. To me, his was a gift of life and love
and creativity.

I love turning out the lights on the kids as Steve mentioned and doing other
things that I stole from Grant's "bag of tricks". In those I suppose I am
passing on a little slice of Grant's touch to another generation. Hopefully
that's how he will remain immortal--his gifts are being gifted again and
again by all of us! Grant was so great and it's so unimaginable to see him
pass, but it reminds us that that bus is coming, folks! Let's get out there
and make some music before it runs us down!!

I'd love to hear someone else's stories so I can share in the joy others
experienced in Grant's company. Please email. Please love. Please CREATE.

I love you Grant!





From Bill Lieske

I didn't have the advantage of learning about music from Grant at a
school or workshop, like so many of you did. I knew him entirely as an
adult, but his teaching and nurturing certainly went beyond the school
system and touched the likes of me.

He made me welcome almost from the day I came to town and pretty much
insisted I come and play in the Monday night band. That band was the
center of my *real* musical life for about 9 years... and I miss it
intensly to this day. I wish I could now make myself remember some of
the real good stories... maybe later. So many memories, so many crazy
times.... drinking beer and eating wings after with cats like Marsh,
Donato, Darmiento, Goddard, and Miles. Going to BIG BAND jazz gigs!
Imagine that! Hanging out in the parking lot with folk like Render and
Boyd and Wise and Robinson. Dr. George, where are you? Wow. Was I ever
that young?

That's part of what's getting to me about this....intimations of
mortality..... Grant was like 6 months older than me..... my peer in
chronology, and one of my teachers, as well.

I've drifted away since the Chuy's era.... but certainly not in my

I realize right now I've held out hope that those years of hanging out
with Grant would come back.... that the Monday night band never really
ended for me.... until now.......

Bill Lieske




From Lori Mock (Robinson)

Just would like to share with everyone!

I think it's times like this that make me evaluate or re-evaluate my life. It seems that as I get older I lose more and more of the people I love most. But none lately have been as near and dear to my heart as Grant Wolf.

Where do I begin? I learned about integrity, and respect, not only for others but also for myself. That being on time is showing up 5 minutes early. That you stand and smile after your solo no matter how you feel about it. That life can deal what seems like a bad hand, but you push your way through to the other side, and learn your lesson. That you always go as far as you can go and then one-step further. That family and friends are some of the most important things. That there is always time for a beer with friends. And that a good joke goes a long way.

I felt music differently with Grant. I started to see it with my eyes closed. It was visual for me. Not the notes, but the emotion of it. It's something I can't explain but I feel deep inside. He taught me that music was like blood flowing through my body. I will never listen to music in quite the same way. I will miss him, as we all will.

I remember when he started laughing during practice one evening at a flute player because she had such a funny laugh. Well of course that started the vicious cycle and for 20 minutes the band was in stitches. He had to leave the room. I will never forget his laugh. He has been such a blessing, and I am so thankful that he was put in my life. I am lucky that I have been able to pass on to my children the lessons he taught me. My kids are doing and learning more musically going into High School than I ever did going in to College. That is a direct result of my experience with Grant. What a wonderful gift he is. I am certainly the one that gained in our relationship.

I just wanted to share this with everyone, those I know and even those I don't. Here's to you Grant. I love you.

Lori Mock (Robinson)




"Something to Say" - Jeff Papineau

Wow. This situation has certainly made me contemplate my own mortality.. and brings to mind something Steve Jobs said: "Life is incredibly short." It's amazing to me that in the last 19 years since I left Mesa, how I've probably thought of Grant almost daily. I'm only sorry I never got around to telling him that...

Looking at the distribution list on Steve's email, I can see the magic that brought us all together around Grant. So many folks I have not thought about in years, yet so many great memories that will always be with me. Many of us would have never known each other if it were not for the fact we all were attracted by Grant's great LIGHT, and the amazing opportunity at Mesa to work with someone we respected for his love of the craft.

I've known a few of you since high-school or before, seen some of you perform in the night band or around town, met a few of you only breifly.. Like moths to the lamp, we were all part of Grant's huge network of friends that seemed so endless; it was really amazing how many people he knew and introduced to me over about five years, `78 to `83.

The first time I ever saw Grant I was 15, and my dad took me to see the night band play. This was pre-Chuys, somewhere in Tempe. The band was so big, in a small room, and it was loud! This was my first experience of being so close up to a large band playing FORTE, and I was no less than awe-struck by Grant directing the band with incredible intensity. I decided that night I was going to be a player and really started to pursue being a musician at that point, knowing I'd study with him as soon as possible.

At NAU summer camp, Grant's band was the one to be in. I remember watching Marc Stocker (who I knew from YoungSounds) play bass through a phase-shifter in the final concert that summer, (how cool!) and hoping I would be in Grant's band the next year at camp. The next year my audition went well and I was excited to finally study with Grant the summer of `78. He had a unique way of saying things, often as a suggestion, using the word "maybe". Sometimes he'd get pissed and ask me to play a phrase I was having problems with. After a couple trys and success, he'd give a big "THANKYOU" with a grouchy look that was enough to inspire a few hours of wood-shedding. But it was amazing how much I ended up emulating his manner of speech later in life. He was a role-model in so many ways.

Grant was just so intense. He taught passion as much as anything else. And humor. Thinking back, he had extremely high expectations of his students and was very good at getting what he wanted from us. One-on-one he was very compassionate and patient with me. I know today, his guidance taught me how to lay my distractions aside and concentrate on priorities and the matter at hand with a level of intensity I'd never known before.

Obviously trying to fill the class, he once convinced me to sign up for woodwind master's class. Here I was, never played a flute or a sax in my life and he's teaching me how. I did alright on the sax, but the flute was a total washout. Whenever I showed him my results, he's just point me to the men's room to go work on my embrasure in the mirror. At the end, I think he gave me a 'C', and I remember thinking it wasn't quite fair; the class was full of accomplished woodwind players! ;-)

Then there was the night piano class. We learned to play the blues on a Fender-Rhodes piano. It was so much fun, I took the class twice and got my mom to sign up the second time too. There was something so liberating about being able to play simple changes, solo, and play a bass line. In that class, he showed me two things; it's not as difficult as it seems, and it should be more fun than hard work.

Grant seemed born to teach. I don't know that I ever met someone so sure of who he was. Once in a college class, talking about his early days teaching little kids to play instruments, someone asked "Did you like teaching kids to play music?" and he said, "Yes, I still do" with a wry grin on his face.

I borrowed his Claire Fischer "Salsa Picante" album that Claire had given him. Amazing for so many reasons, but it really stood out because it was the first time we had ever heard a polyphonic synthesizer used to play jazz (Yamaha organ). It was already out of print or unobtainable at the time; I took it home and made a cassette recording of it. To this day that 20 year old tape is still one of my all-time favorite recordings.

My first year at Mesa, Grant introduced his big band to the Miles Davis selection "So What". It had a really tasty bass lead-line, great fun to play. It obviously epitomized the essence of jazz to him. Dynamics, intensity, sparseness. "Less is More" was his constant reminder. Grant was not obsessed with getting us extremely technically proficient and often tried to push us toward our own understanding of a tune; what it meant to us inside, the colors that we saw when we listened to the song, the phrasing and the vocal aspects of it. "If you can sing it, you can play it" was another great adage he often shared.

And he spent a lot of time showing us the soul of music; be it improvisation or the head of a song. He likened a searing guitar or sax line to an wailing farm-hand of the old South, crying for his woman to come back home. Grant distilled improvised music down to some simple lessons. Just a few concepts gave me so much musical power. He was very adamant that you had to have "something to say".

Finally, I'd just like to say that knowing Grant was a blessing; something I probably have not appreciated quite so much until this moment. He influenced several generations of young players, promoted jazz education as an American art-form and helped put AZ on the map as a serious musical force to be reckoned with. MCC was and still is a magical place to learn, it's doors wide open and accessible to all, and Grant was just such a big part of that.

Sorely missed, never forgotten, to know him was an experience that can only be described as spiritual... now a father myself, I know that his work, his life, his spirit will live on not only in me, but in my own children.

Thanks for everything Grant, I love you.

Jeff Papineau




from Keith Miles - August 22, 2002

It's been very moving reading all of these comments. Studying under Grant and Don Bothwell was the best thing that ever happened to me, musically speaking. I learned a tremendous amount from them. Grant was, of course, known for his temper. I remember one time when he threw his shoe at somebody during a rehearsal when that person seemed to be goofing off. Of course, that penetrating stare of his will always be etched in my memory. I think that his obvious committment to music and to us students inspired all of us. I'll miss him.
Keith Miles

Wow, Keith Miles, I jammed with you a bit 20 years ago or more. Yes, being in Grant's band could be a full spectrum experience. Grant could at times be very intense and very intimidating (as could his father) but he was fair. If you made a sincere effort, you were OK, but if you were late or acted like a jerk-off, he'd come down on you.
I was in the band for the famous "You Ain't Shit, Baby" yelling session. A couple band members had rolled into rehearsal late and worse, hadn't xeroxed the needed music as they had been instructed to do. We had cats with some major egos in the band, and Grant rightly told us we didn't have any idea what was going on outside of Phx. (where similar age cats were playing circles around us) so we better get over ourselves and take this shit seriously. Grant yelled and reamed us for about 10 minutes (which seemed like 3 hours). He stared us all down and must have yelled, "You Ain't Shit, Baby" at least 20 times. He was not a man to mess around with! Of course after that episode, the whole band was meticulously behaved for quite some time!
Another amusing incident also comes to mind: A fellow sax section mate was once really scuffling on the clarinet. Grant asked him what brand of mouthpiece was he using. The kid didn't even know. Grant takes the kid's clarinet, looks at the mouthpiece, and then rips it off the horn and without a word, strides towards the door out of the room. Near the door, Grant chucked the kid's mouthpiece in the trash can and continued out the door. After about a minute, in which we were all speechless, Grant reappeared and handed the kid a professional grade mouthpiece out of Grant's own collection (his famous drawer full of mouthpieces) and says, "Here, use this one." On we went with the rehearsal...
Posted by: Steve Marsh on August 22, 2002 12:34 PM


Ah, yes, the classic Y.A.S.B. butt-reaming, the stuff of which legends are born and attitudes are re-aligned. I don't think I slept, spoke or ate for about three days after that one...
Posted by: James Kass on August 22, 2002 10:02 PM


Yeah, I was there for that reaming and it definetely had an impact on me and as I've traveled thoughuot the world Playing music I can assure you that he was right. I'm glad I had Grant to take me down a peg and save me the humiliation of having it happen somewhere out on the road later in life. It was hard to take at the time,but years later I'm glad he cared enough about us to do it.It takes a lot of guts to care enough about your students to put yourself through that and I know it hurt Grant to have to do it, but in the end it made all of us stronger and in my mind, that's no small accomplishment.
Posted by: Jim Henry on August 23, 2002 11:31 PM


Posted by: JazzBrat on August 24, 2002 07:05 AM


I remember the shoe incident. We were rehearsing a passage in circle formation with Grant in the middle. It was only about 12 bars that we were trying to fix but at the end of it was a sax solo break. We were not going on but the sax player kept on playing every time insisting on making us listen to his solo break. Finally Grant had enough and hopped around on one foot while removing his shoe from the other, and threw it at the tenor player. This happened 1977 in the fall.
Posted by: David Findley on August 24, 2002 10:46 AM


Oh yeah! Remember it well! I think all of us could've crawled under the tile floor at that point! A fond memory.... Thank God for those wise words! Boy was he ever right! We had no idea at that point what was going on....
Posted by: Ray Herndon on August 27, 2002 10:17 PM




From Deborah Weisz

A few thoughts/rememberances about Grant...

When I wrote my first arrangement, for big band, I was at MCC. It was an
arrangement of 'Blue and Green'. I wasn't too thrilled with what I had
written, but Grant took the time to look over the score, and write some
wonderful comments on it, such as "What feeling do you want to express, what
color, what shape? etc... He was so encouraging, as he went over the score
with me. And even though I focused more on playing the trombone in the years
to come, I never gave up on writing music and for the past 12 years have
really explored a lot as a composer and I still have that 'Blue and Green'
score, which I take out from time to time to read Grant's words for
inspiration. Thank you Grant!

Well, this past July I sent Grant an email about an upcoming premiere of my
latest composition called "BAM!" (pronounced with a deeply southern Texas
accent). He sent me this funny note saying, "bam da bam, bom, get yo botty
on down the line and send me a tape" That was Grant, ever encouraging and
interested in what his students were doing. I sent him the tape in early
August along with a note about how much fun I had had conducting my own
music, especially considering that when I took the conducting class from
him, at MCC, I was a nervous wreck. My comfort zone has always been the other
side of the stand, playing trombone. Thought Grant might get a chuckle out of
that and be pleased to know that I did actually learn something about
conducting in that class. HA! Thank you Grant!

From Grant, I learned that it is always about the music, about creating
honestly and communicating what we are 'hearing' as best as we can each day.
I remember when the MCC band played at the NAU Jazz fest concert, must have
been 1981? We were performing a piece that was dedicated to Bud Brisbois
(spelling?). At the end of the piece we were to hold the last notes to air
and just blow air through our horns. Grant held us on that note/air for
awhile, extending it to infinity... It was so silent in the concert hall, you
could have heard a pin drop. The silence seemed to last on and on and it was
the most amazing feeling on that stage, in that concert hall, as if God had
touched all of us. Then the entire audience stood up and went crazy. Later,
after the gig, I remember going up to Grant and saying to him that it had
been the most amazing experience I had ever had as a musician. He just
smiled, his usual wise all-knowing smile and said, "Yeah". I have been
blessed in my life as a musician/composer with similar 'moments' along the
way, and I guess I have been searching for that "feeling" ever since that
concert. It is a rare and beautiful feeling and I first learned about it from
playing in Grant's band. Thank you Grant!

This past Sunday, August 18th, thoughts of Grant came into my head, I thought
about calling him and seeing how he was doing, but being in the middle of
moving to a new place and packing, I didn't call that day. Then Lewis Nash
sent me an email the next day and asked about Grant (neither of us knew that
Grant had died). Funny, how we were all thinking of him...

A final thought...
I have been working on a new composition, sketching ideas, thinking about
what it is I want to say, color, shape, etc... I had been thinking a lot
about gratitude with this new piece, especially people that I was thankful
for and that the piece would reflect the continuing influence that these
people have had on my life. I started working on this piece before I had
heard about Grant's death, and still wasn't completely clear about the
intent/focus of this piece; now I am. While I was walking down the street
yesterday, it occurred to me that this piece is about Grant.
Thank you Grant, for everything!

With immense love and gratitude,

Deborah Weisz
MCC 1980 - 82




From David and Scott Friesen

God Bless you Grant for being the saving graciousness of moments in my life that lifted my spirit, gave me confidence, made me feel good about music, myself and others. Moments of silence, trust, encouragement, humbleness, wisdom and quiet truth. God Bless you Grant and thank you for being you!

In Love,

David Friesen

Dear Dad,

Very sad to hear about Grant Wolf -

even to this day I remember his kind
free face of music and passion
always searching for the other note

he was a fluid note touching
the lives of those who
heard light saving sounds

and I miss him even now
remembering the gift of

(I was only a teenager)
Scott Friesen




Amazing Man - from Rick Samaniego

Reading some of these feeling brings back my own personal stories of Grant, but I will not tell all to give other a chance. All my experience with Grant were great. Grant had a way of motivating people to always do their best in what ever they chose. One funny moment that I always remember is the summer I took clarinet lessons from Grant. Grant was trying to get me to have the correct embrochure. Well Grant had an idea!!
Grant took his belt of and proceeded to wrap it around my lower chin so I would have that firm tight embrochure to play Clarinet. Well as he proceeded to tighten his belt around my chin one of the piano teachers walks in and stood there it seems like for 10 minutes and wonder what the hell Grant was up to. Well needless to say my clarinet lesson was over because Grant and I could not stop laughing.
That one of my best time with Grant!!

Grant I will miss you

Love you man!!!!

Rick (Ricky) Samaniego




from Allan Chase

I'm very sorry not to be able to be there this Saturday in memory of Grant.

Grant has been a role model for me as an educator and leader/ organizer/ administrator since I started teaching. I met him about 30 years ago, when I was 16 and going to high school in north Phoenix. His MCC jazz band's concerts were important events, and my parents drove me across town for them. The results he got at a junior college, with only two years to work with people, and competing with ASU for players, were just amazing, and his choices were creative and daring in a time when that was very rare. (It still is!) The summer jazz workshops at MCC that he founded and organized (I was there in 1973 and '74) were a big part of what got me into jazz. He brought in major artists like Art Pepper and Joe Pass, interesting musicians like Roger Powell (with his refrigerator-sized ARP synthesizers) and Ox (aka Seawind), and some of the best LA players to teach us -- Lanny Morgan, Buddy Childers, etc. The way he treated students with respect as human beings and potential artists, and took us seriously, helped me feel that music was important and that I could make my own contribution to it. I felt this from him even when I was a 17-year-old beginner at the 1973 summer workshop -- he paid attention to everyone, but without ever coddling or giving false compliments. This was a great lesson I've tried to use as a teacher. I felt he pushed all of us kids and expected a lot, which I now know takes a lot of energy, commitment and love -- I felt that then, but I realize it even more now. The Night Band was obviously a labor of love, and a great insitution in Phoenix jazz for years. Also, I dug his baritone and soprano playing -- I always wanted to hear him play more. I remember one soprano solo that was amazing, really creative and unexpected. And he had a great sense of humor and was a great guy to hang out with -- reconnecting with him at IAJE conferences in the last few years was a pleasure. I'll miss him. He seems like an essential part of the Phoenix area and of music in Arizona. I hope someone can carry on his legacy in music and music education there. I know he inspired many people to do so, like he inspired me.

Allan Chase (
New England Conservatory, Boston

As Allan says, Grant was a very good horn player on top of everything else he did. Grant was an excellent Clarinetist with a very beautiful sound. He improvised tasty, thoughtful, hip jazz phrases on his old silver Soprano Sax. (Conn?) Grant was extremely solid on Bari Sax, could handle Bassoon parts on the many shows he played, and also played flute and bass clarinet. I once saw a rare duo gig with Bob Ravenscroft in a club where Grant played soprano exclusively. A really cool performance! Like Allan, I wished he had played jazz out in public more. Grant even developed a personal, basic style on piano. One year at NAU camp, Grant was pressed into service on piano backing up Barry Black in a quartet concert. Grant was a bit embarrased about doing that, but he played interestingly in a quirky, Monkish fashion.
And of course Grant was such a great conductor! (like his father.) On first reading, he could conduct an ensemble through a complex score, be it a large symphonic band or a jazz big band. He really was a master of effectively rehearsing an ensemble and ironing out the difficult perfomance problems in short order. We got spoiled working under Grant's baton, and later wondered why other conductors we ran into weren't nearly as good.
- S. Marsh


I too can remember coming across Grant practicing his soprano sax during one of what must have been very few moments to himself in the course of his busy teaching schedule. I remember being blown away by his unique and personal approach to the ax and asking him why he didn't play it more. "It's hard to find the time" was his reply and in Grant's case I knew this to be the truth and not just an excuse not to practice as we've all heard too many times before.
It took me many years to realize what a great act of selflessness this was on Grant's part. To be so committed to the advancement of his students that he was willing to put his personal needs as a player on the back burner.
The interesting thing is, that in spite of having little personal time to practice, Grant was still an accomplished creative player.
I will always be grateful that he was willing to take the time with me and many, many others to help us move forward on our musical journeys. I'll never forget that.
Posted by: Jim Henry on August 23, 2002 02:00 PM




One of Many - Frank Darmiento

Thanks to Jeff for setting up this page. Even though I’m a few months older than Grant I’m among the hundreds of individuals he profoundly influenced for the better in his short life. I won’t detail everything I learned about music in my 15 or so years with Grant in the Valley Big Band, but the opportunities he gave me to express myself through playing and writing for the band are priceless.

However, equally important to me is that Grant was the nucleus of an entity -- the Valley Big Band -- that connected me with scores of wonderful musicians and many long-time friends. The list would be many times longer than this note, but every time I see one of you I’m always reminded of Grant and those years with the Band. Somehow, I think Grant is still conducting us all in his own unique ensemble.

Frank Darmiento




August 23, 2002
Grant memories...Patty Chase

My brother, Allan Chase, sent me the news about Grant, and reading the tributes here has brought tears to my eyes and reconnected me with people and memories long left behind.

I was not part of the Phoenix/Mesa jazz scene, but as a high school woodwind player Grant Wolf was an important part of my musical life, and a presence I will never forget. At NAU Music Camp in the mid-70s, finding out Grant was going to head my woodwind sectional or teach a classroom session meant it was going to be a very good summer indeed. Just being in Grant's amazing presence focused my attention and encouraged me to be a better musician.

I stopped playing flute after my first year of college, but because of the influence of people like Grant, I never sold my instrument or gave up the idea of taking up playing again. Now, nearly 25 years later, I *am* playing again, in a community band in Chapel Hill, NC, and loving the experience. I honor Grant's insights and abilities as a teacher, a motivator, and an incredible human being.


Patty (Chase) Van Norman
Chapel Hill, NC


A true gentleman - from Dennis Monce

I first met Grant back when I was in grade school. He was adjudicating the local school jazz festivals. Among the many things I remember about him even back then was what a gentleman he was. In my post-college days, I had the privilege of playing in the Mesa night band. Having Grant at the helm was always a fulfilling musical experience!

Of the many music educators in my life in elementary and high school, he stands out as one of the few that truly connected with the kids. He always made time for anyone, whether it was about music or personal. And while he was absorbing what you had to say, he looked you straight in the eye as though he was looking deeper into the person that was below the surface. There were some times in my life that I am glad that this was his mode of operation.

I will miss Grant very much! I loved his sense of humor and his genuine interest in other human beings. If I have any regrets, it is that I didn't get to spend as much time with him that last few years. On the other hand, that makes the time we did spend together extra special, and ones that I will remember always!

God bless you Grant!

Dennis Monce




from Greg Boyer

1975, 7th grade, NAU Music Camp, first rehearsal with the Jazz Ensemble, in walks Grant. After ten minutes of instruction on playing a Blues, (mostly singing), he looks down at this group of little kids, and says, (with that Grant "thang"), "now, play". Of course, you didn't dare not play...all I could do was fasten my seat belt...what a many beautiful, funny, intense, and warm moments in rehearsals with him, each summer through high school.

As I start another year of teaching, (intermediate school band director), I again reflect on Grant's passion for music and teaching - it's burned into my soul...

Greg Boyer




From James Kass

My first memory of Grant goes back to 1974-75, when I was in eighth grade and just starting to dream about being a professional musician. I was walking across campus one day and heard this real low voice say, "Hi Jimmy!" from across the basketball court. He had stopped by to talk to my band director, and to this day I don't know how he knew who I was back then, but that was a pretty neat experience for a little kid, knowing that a cool grownup with a ponytail had made the effort to learn my name and say "Hi" to me. Grant always made me feel like he was really interested in what I had to say, both conversationally and musically. He knew how to listen better than most people I've met in life. The other thing is that he always treated me like I was more mature and musical than I was, always lifting me a just little higher to that next level. I couldn't have been more than a dopey little freshman in high school when Grant encouraged me to be a part of his summer jazz workshop at MCC, hanging out with talented people like SuperSax, Don Rader, and Ladd McIntosh. Half the time I didn't feel like I had any right to be there, but I sure appreciated the fact that Grant did!

Once, while being interviewed, Grant was asked what he felt was the most important part of teaching music. He said, "I think giving the students something to take with them. Teaching them how to think differently. Teaching them to really enjoy what they do - to find joy in music. Many of them have not had that type of experience. How to be a professional is also important, so they can see what it takes." As one of his former students, I think that pretty much describes my experience. The one thing I might add was that he also expected us to be sincere about whatever it was that we were attempting to do. He made sure we knew that without sincerity, one can never successfully create great music; with it, one might fail in achieving greatness but still have joy and learn something from the process that develops more musicianship for the next time.

Others have remarked about their "lights out" musical experiences with Grant. I remember the one from NAU music camp where Grant was encouraging us to play free—what a trip! I remember feeling "Is it really O.K. for us to be doing this? Will the other grown-ups approve?" That was a real eye-opener; what seemed to a young music student to be a fairly finite body of jazz expression suddenly became an infinite universe of possibility. For the first time, it occurred to me that I could create something valid apart from everything else I had been taught. From that day forward, I never felt that I could run out of music to play.

Grant used to have a sign at the front of the room that said, "88% of life is just showing up." That seemed pretty funny to me in college; it wasn't until I lived in the real world that I discovered how astute that observation really was. The other 12% is what really made all the difference: the secret stuff, the insights from his relationships with the heavies, the tips for real-life music, the “here’s how to discover it within yourself” revelations. Not showing up for one of Grant’s classes or rehearsals could mean the difference between incorporating something significant and subtle into your playing now or having to learn it the hard way over time.

On one of those nights that was terrifying then but funny now, I was playing with the Night Band at the old Chuy’s Choo Choo on Mill Avenue when Grant turned to me and asked me if I wanted to solo on the tune he had called (at one point, the band used to set up in the middle of the club in kind of a "U" formation, with Grant standing right in front of me). Typical of a seventeen-year-old, I was in a funky mood that night, and I don’t know if I thought the tune was the wrong key/groove/style, or was intimidated ‘cause Fred Forney just played a blistering solo on the tune before, or I had too many zits and no girlfriend, or whatever other lame excuse I had, but for some suicidal reason I told Grant that I didn’t want to solo on that tune, like I was Freddie Freakin’ Hubbard and doing the Night Band this giant favor just by sitting there. Immediately I felt this warm sensation on my skull, quickly intensifying into two laser beams of blistering heat, so I looked up and encountered The Gaze of Death. Grant kicked off the tune, ignored me for the rest of the night, and didn’t give me another solo for three weeks. Needless to say, I learned to be grateful for any opportunity to play great music in front of an appreciative audience, because sometimes you gotta be willing to get over yourself and take a little risk if you want to experience any of the really good stuff in life.

It's interesting and not altogether surprising how many people have stated that their first interactions with Grant were pivotal points in their lives, musically or otherwise. He truly gave me a deeper understanding of the total art of music more than anyone else ever has, including some of the great jazz artists of our day with whom I've been fortunate enough to play or just hang out. His encouragement and the respect he afforded others was invaluable to me, and I consider it a true blessing of God that Grant made it a point to become my lifelong friend and teacher on that elementary school basketball court back in 1975.

James Kass
Trumpeter, Friend and Grateful Alum




For The Love Of Grant - from Kelly Dean

Jeff, thanks a bunch for putting together Grant's web site. What a great tribute to Grant as well as for those folks that were touched by Grant in so many ways.

I regret that I will not be able to attend Grants Memorial Service this Saturday, August 24, 2002. However, I will be attending and participating in memorial concerts that will be organized as fund raisers in the near future for Emily and Parker.

It would take pages and pages to share my experiences with Grant. So, I will share a few highlights.

As a first year music student at Mesa Community College in 1978, I auditioned for one of Grants jazz bands. To say the least, I was a nervous wreck! For some reason, I got a seat! I guess Grant had confidence in me that I lacked so very much in myself to make it in his band.

As a second and third year student, Grant was so kind to allow me to play in his jazz band as well as play on the M.C.C.s Women's basketball team. Not too many band directors would even consider the matter. With Grants support, I was able to get the most out of M.C.C. no matter what direction I decided to go.

By the way, thanks to all of my buddies in the jazz band(s) for your patience during those two years.

On a more serious and sad note, Grants illness was very serious. I can't imagine what he went through. As we all know, Grant did everything he believed in his power to beat it. Unlike Grant, I was very fortunate to have survived my illness (i.e. Hodgkins disease). I will never forget Grant visiting me in the hospital shortly after my diagnosis. His gift of life and love certainly gave me the inspiration to "live"! Thank you Grant! You will always be in my prayers.

For the love of Grant,

Kelly Dean
MCC 1978-81

Posted by guest at 04:56 PM | Comments (0)




from Sheri (Shembab) Baker

Like so many others, Grant Wolf influenced my life in
a positive way. It was 1975; I was a seventh-grader
and a classical piano student at NAU Junior Music
Camp. Back then, there weren't separate camps, so all
classical, jazz, and vocal students attended the same
two-week session. One afternoon, my friends and I had
an hour break before our next class. As we walked past
Ardrey Auditorium, we heard the most wonderful sounds
and we snuck inside to find out what they were. On
stage, Grant was conducting a jazz ensemble in
rehearsal. We thought, "Cool!" and we went to sit in
the middle of the auditorium so we wouldn't disturb
anyone. We ended up staying the whole hour. I remember
his infinite patience with - and encouragement of -
each player; he brought out the best in every one of
them. After that, I checked the schedule and whenever
Grant was rehearsing the band, I'd go and listen and
learn and enjoy. Subsequent years at Music Camp were
spent the same way. Grant unknowingly gave me such a
wonderful gift and I daresay other listeners felt the
same. I am not religious but to me, he made the
experience of playing and listening to music a
profoundly spiritual one.

Sheri (Shembab) Baker




from Trudy Myers-Wise

What a blessing I was given...I'm an perpetual ongoing music student and a woman of a "certain" age, but Thursday August eighth I was given a precious gift, when coming to get a class schedule to sign up for music composition, I decided to detour through the music building, just to see if anyone was there; I rounded the corner and when I started to pass Grant's door he called me by name and I had him all to myself, now that doesn't happen often!! Anyway, at that time I thought it was really special to talk to him with no one else around.

This past Saturday I had plans to go with one of my friends to our favorite pub for food, brew and entertainment, but when I spoke to her I told her how very depressed I had become, not knowing why.

The music building will be a bit colder coming around the corner and past Grant's office. Things will never be the same, it's like tearing of a piece of the most beautiful fabric of life.

We're all terribly, terribly saddened.

Trudy Myers-Wise


Thank You Grant - Jim Henry

A lot of people have very graciously posted many colorful anecdotes about Grant in the past couple of days since Jeff created this site. I have read them all with great interest coming back to the site several times a day to read the new posts. The more I read the more I began to realize that there was nothing that I could ever say that would even begin to express the way I feel about the myriad gifts that I had recieved in my life because of my friendship with Grant.
When I first met Grant I was a shy 12 year old kid who had just graduated from the 8th grade.(those of you who know me will have a hard time believing that I was ever shy-but I was) Anyway, I had auditioned and made it into Grant's jazz band at NAU music camp. Little did I know my life was about to change forever. He did nothing but encourage me from the start as he would continue to do over the next several years through high school until the time I left MCC for my first road gig almost ten years later. In fact he even recomended me for the gig-which I'm sure had a great deal to do with the fact that I got it.
I have been very fortunate in music to have the opportunity to meet and perform with many great musicians. The things I learned from Grant helped to prepare me to do that and, more importantly, helped me to better understand life and myself for that matter,the only way I know to repay him is to play my horn and try to pass along what he taught me to my students.
In closing I would like to say that I really do believe that all that Grant was to all of us lives on in us so we can pass it on to others. Like he did with us.

"Next to silence,that which comes closest to expressing the inexpressable is Music"
S. Chinmoy

Grant, with me you came the closest. Thank you man.I'll never forget your kindness and understanding as long as I live.





From Angel Armstrong (Ewing)

I didn't know, or experience Grant the same way many of you did, but I spent a great deal of time in his company: in the band room, at Chuy's, and across the street at whatever the name of that place was that Vince liked. I saw the kind of man, and teacher that he was. My brother, who I have endless respect for, had such respect for him and, because of that, I looked at him in much the same way as Chris did. Grant was always very kind to me, what a smile, and I always enjoyed night band! Letting me and "Casey" follow the band bus to Chaffey was quite a trip! Besides being "Chris' little sister", I had many dear friends who were influenced by Grant and I feel the impact of his loss as well. Making a toast to him in Nashville, with a few of those friends, I realized how truly lucky we all would be to be loved and remembered as he is. Perhaps because of his influence, many of you will be. Thanks, Grant, from a grateful Fan!


from David Findley

I was a kid who was searching for direction when I first met Grant.
He gave me a place at his Thanksgiving table, and made sure I ate.
He was one of the most magical men I have ever known in my life.
He introduced me to a world where I could accomplish anything through dedication to the task.
He convinced me that I could.
He lives on through those of us who were lucky enough to know him.
I will miss him greatly




"THE SAGE" by Bob Washut


Your silent knowingness
cast an aura of omniscience

Your caring and nurturing ways
touched countless lives

Your acts of kindness
reflected your generosity

Your integrity
was beyond reproach

Your sense of humor
made you real

Your life
is your legacy

Your spirit
will live in each of us

I'll miss you, Oh Sage,
more than you--or I--ever could have imagined

-Bob Washut

--------- COMMENTS:
Hi Bob,
Thanks for your beautiful words. I’ll never forget the great times we had with Grant in San Diego in '89, then later in New York City back in the winter of '90-'91. That night you, Fred, Dick, Grant and I hit all the clubs. We started at the Blue Note to hear Kenny Wheeler with Abercrombie, Peacock, and Erskine; then on to the 55 Bar to hear some local hacks; continuing on to Bradley's, then the Village Vanguard . . . finally staggering back to the Blue Note for the all night jam about 3 AM. Do you remember how hard we laughed when Weller fell out of his chair? In the 12 years I have lived in NYC, it was the greatest night of my life. I have never had more fun. And, I’ll never miss anyone more than Grant. Take care, Bob.
Posted by: Chris Campbell on August 30, 2002 03:19 PM




"One of a Kind" from David Crozier

It's such a shame to realize that Grant is no longer here with us, however I think all of us who knew him and had the opportunity to learn from him realize that his spirit and soul touched us in so many ways. I don't think a day goes by that I don't use one of his sayings or anecdotes in teaching my students and in defining my own playing. He shaped me not only as a musician but as a human being. Our lessons went beyond the scope of music, it was philosophy on life, love, integrity, honesty, learning to trust in yourself, what our place and purpose in this world is and most importantly growing up. His sense of humor and wisdom helped me get through many a difficult period.

I remember being a freshman at MCC and playing in Grant's jazz band. We had some big festival coming up and I had forgotten my music at home. I had Steve Marsh and Lori Mock sort of cover for me while I frantically drove home (across the street) to get my music. Halfway through MCC's parking lot my car CAUGHT ON FIRE and basically burned up. Needless to say I missed the rehearsal and I felt as if my life was coming apart. Doing my best to keep it together, I made my way to the music building to tell Grant what had happened and apologize for missing the rehearsal. Instead of being mad at me for forgetting my music he just put his arm around me and said "let's go look at your car." Well, we walked out to where my car was with me on the verge of tears and when Grant saw my burned up 59 Chevy station wagon he started laughing harder then I had ever heard him, and he didn't stop laughing until I had no choice but to join in with him.

To this day I've never met anyone like him. His ability to inspire so many emotions from respect and admiration to feeling chastised for not having a part down and thinking "I'll show him," only to realize later on that that was his sole intention all along. His lessons have had such a tremendous effect on so many people throughout the years that I know his legacy will live on for years if not generations to come. I truly feel that he was the most influential person in my life. I wish that I could make it to his memorial service but instead I'll be at my oldest son's first jazz combo concert (is it fair to unleash another drummer onto the world?). Somehow I think Grant will understand.
I will truly miss him.
David Crozier

-------- Comments: Wonderful observations, David.
Hey, some of us also remember how you later repeatedly rammed your burned out hulk of a car using the school's electric cart as a battering ram. HaHaHa!
- Steve M. Posted by: Steve Marsh on August 24, 2002 06:33 AM


I remember that car! HA.
I remember Grant's reaction too. Didn't your car sit out in the MCC parking lot for awhile after that?
Great memories!
Posted by: Deborah Weisz on August 24, 2002 07:52 AM


That's got to be just about the funniest story I ever heard in my life! Good for both a laugh and a good cry.
Posted by: Jeff Papineau on August 24, 2002 11:23 AM




August 24, 2002
"Late Night at the L.Q." - by Ladd McIntosh

Grant Wolf was the most selfless man I have ever known.

I never heard a person say an unkind thing about Grant. Every fellow professional who knew Grant spoke of him highly and with great affection. It’s a formidable list that includes Lanny Morgan, the late Joe Pass, Don Rader, Claire Fischer, Gary Foster, Bruce Fowler, the late Dick Grove, Buddy Childers, Jon Crosse, Jeff Haskell, Brian Bromberg, Carol Kaye, and others. He was well-loved and admired by the jazz education community as well.

Tall….lanky….deep voice….those big, gentle eyes, always alive with humor. I loved hanging out with Grant.

I was fortunate to share a few car rides with him, just the two of us driving from Phoenix to Tucson, or from Flagstaff up to the rim of the Grand Canyon, or from Flag to Phoenix. It was comfortable…like old shoes…and we talked of life, love, family, women, friends, or a shared excitement at something musical one of us had recently experienced; nothing profound…just total acceptance at being with a kindred spirit.

I met Grant sometime around 1971 shortly after I started teaching in Utah. He started his series of summer jazz camps at MCC (and later at NAU) in 1972 and hired me as one of the guest faculty. For reasons known only to Grant, I was the one guy he hired for every single one of those camps between 1972 and the late 1980s. I am deeply honored that he kept bringing me back and I can truthfully say that observing Grant at those camps--watching his interaction with his students--gave me ideas to employ in my own teaching. Rubbing elbows with him made me a better teacher. Spending time with him always made me want to be a better man.

I always looked forward to those summer jazz camps.

When I had the pleasure of adjudicating one of his bands, or just listening to them, I was always struck by the intensity with which he conducted as well as the way the students reacted to him. It was clear they all adored him and would have followed him anywhere. His gift was that his students knew, without question, that he cared about each and every one of them. It is no secret that many students found reasons to extend their stay at MCC for more than just two years. The unspoken reason was, of course, Grant.

The “lights out” stories reminded me of one. At one of the MCC summer camps, I found myself with Grant in the men’s room. I excused myself to use one of the two stalls. Almost immediately someone sat down in the other one. Grant then walked out, turning off the light as he left, leaving us both literally in the dark. Let me tell you, you can ignore someone in the next stall when the lights are on. You can’t ignore them when you are both sitting in utter darkness. That was my first meeting with Vince. I still think of it and laugh. It was one of the best practical jokes ever!

I have wonderful memories of hanging out with Grant at the “L.Q.” in Flag; friendship and jokes and Budweiser…lots and lots of smiles and laughter. Funky place and yet so perfect.

The wonderful faculty barbecues of Grant’s at the end of each jazz camp started at Grant’s home in Phoenix and were continued at Mom and Dad’s when the camp moved to NAU. Great food which included Grant’s wonderful marinaded barbecued shrimp and more laughter and just feelin’ good!

And Grant never asked you if you wanted another beer. He simply handed you a cold one.

I am greatly saddened by his death. My heartfelt sympathy goes out to Mom and Dad, Grant’s children and grandchildren and to his wife, and to his former wife Joanne.

My live is richer for having been his friend.

Ladd McIntosh

----------- Comments
Thank you for contributing here, Ladd. You knew him well. And thank you for writing your two "Suite Mesa" pieces that we got to perform with Grant back in the day. Those were very special compositions - for a unique school and an incredible teacher. Posted by: steve marsh on August 24, 2002 07:20 AM


Hey Ladd,
I read a few words, and thought, 'this must be from Ladd'. Thank you, as well, for the music that you contributed to the MCC band. I remember Suite Mesa. I also remember that there was a 'singing' part and when we went to record it, it became pretty clear I should stick to trombone playing! HA! (Smile) Grant used to look at me and laugh/smile whenever we performed Suite Mesa after that recording session! I still laugh about it today.
Thank you again for your wonderful music.
Posted by: Deborah Weisz on August 24, 2002 07:48 AM


Like Steve and Deborah, I want to thank you for the compositions you wrote for the band.Through your music,you expressed many of the people and experiences that were part of M.C.C.. One of my favorites is "Transparencies". Grant had a way of bringing out the best in everyone and I feel privileged to have played and worked under your direction. Thank you for the many hours that you spent writing and sharing your musical experiences with us. I know Grant thought very highly of you. I hope you are doing well and realize that you made a strong impression on many of us at M.C.C..
Take care,
Denny Marcum




from Chris Armstrong

Wow, where to begin…

When I was in junior high, I started going to the MCC jazz ensemble concerts. Even at that age, I could hear that Grant’s bands were something different from the other nearby universities' ensembles that played mostly off-the-shelf charts. MCC was where the real jazz action was. You never new what to expect at a concert: an expanded ensemble with strings; electronic effects; funny-metered tunes. Experimentation and openness were expected from Grant’s bands but you were never sure exactly what form they would take. I was a little kid who was totally dedicated to music and I was in slack-jawed awe of those bands. Music was my religion and I worshiped the various incarnations of the MCC Jazz Ensemble with the Prophet Grant Wolf leading his flock. When I finally actually became a member of Grant’s band, it was a long-time dream-come-true.

It was obvious that the amazing things those bands could do were because Grant Wolf was at the helm. Other directors could have done fine, competent jobs with the jazz ensembles, but I dare say MCC would have been just another junior college without Grant. He was the reason that the best jazz players knew there was no other place for them but MCC.

Those of us who were lucky enough to go to MCC know what an incredible blessing it was to be taught by the musical tag-team: Grant Wolf and Don Bothwell. It was as if we were fledgling Jedi Knights being trained by TWO Yodas at once.

Then there were the Summer Jazz Workshops that I attended. How DID Grant get all those world-class players to come year after year to our humble little college and teach us kids? The answer is that they, as all musicians, were starved for an environment where quality and creativity could flourish and they knew that’s what Grant had created at MCC. When Bud Brisbois moved to Phoenix, he checked-out the local music programs and saw that Grant’s place was where it was really happening and Bud spent a lot of time with us. It was because of Grant that some of us got to play with and learn from Bud in the last years of his life and we will never forget that.

When I finally got to MCC as a student, there was an unusually large crop of drum-set players there: Dick Weller, Bob Warren, Joe Little, Kelly Dean, Dan Tomlinson, David Bohn, Jim Carnelli…When Grant started auditioning us with the band, I could see that he was focusing on the typical weaknesses of young drummers. We didn’t get to play up-tempo tunes that would allow us to unleash our latest simulated Steve Gadd or Billy Cobham licks, NO. Grant had us play ballads with brushes; tricky sight-reading and for the grand finale he pulled-out the Buddy Rich Band, Don Piestrup arrangement “New Blues” and counted it off at a ridiculously, comically, glacially slow tempo. Now I had played along with the recording of this tune probably a hundred times, studiously imitating Buddy’s breaks and fills. But at this tempo, I just stepped all over it. I couldn’t even function. It was pathetically funny. That was the beginning of my MCC sojourn and I was made painfully aware that this Grant Wolf fella knew what was up and I was in for some heavy learning experiences.

There were also great times playing with the Monday Night Band – another phenomenon that existed solely because of the passion of Grant Wolf. Grant was always eager to help us after-hours with whatever musical or life challenge we had. I really believe that he was born to teach; born to motivate; born to inspire and born to create.

Grant left us much too early. Maybe it’s true that “the light that shines twice as bright burns half as long.” Well, I’d better go now. I’m sure tears aren’t good for my keyboard.

We all love you Grant, and we will never forget you. We can only repay you by passing on what you have taught us to our students…and so it goes.

Chris Armstrong
MCC 77-79

---------- Comments:
Right On, Chris! Great momories and observations, man. I loved the story about the drummer try-outs. Grant was great at pulling out the unexpected, like not letting cats showboat with their latest hi-tech drummer licks, and rather make you all play something really slow. Charles Lewis used to also put new drummers through the v-e-r-y s-l-o-w ballad treatment to see if they could hold a groove at a glacial tempo.
Like you said, M.C.C. had "The Twin Towers" in Grant and Don Bothwell, plus the other teachers there, some of whom have also put in decades of work. Don Bothwell's contributions were also HUGE and immense. I hope Don is healthy and doing well now.
Posted by: steve marsh on August 30, 2002 01:08 PM




AN ODE TO GRANT WOLF - by Les Felton

Dear family, students, fellow musicians, and priviledeged friends of Grant,

As a new teacher in the Roosevelt District School System in 1953, I was fresh
out of ASC @ Tempe and really green. I was very fortunate to have Grant in
my first school band of my teaching experience. He wasn't very tall then. He
had just started clarinet. The Wolf family from the beginning of my career
in music had a huge influence on my years as a director of music in the public
and private schools of Arizona and Hawaii. Don Wolf was the new director of
bands at South High School and I was at Sunland School, just 14 blocks apart.
During marching season I could hear the bass drum beat of the South High
Band as they prepared for the big game of the week. I would take every opportunity
to visit the South High Campus to pick up teaching hints from Don.
It goes without saying that none of us ever know what influence our
students will have with other students in the future with their own careers.
I stayed at Sunland School for two years before moving on to a position in
the Phoenix Elementary Schools. By chance Grant and his parents just
happened to move into the same neighborhood that my new bride and I lived in.
Don asked me to work with Grant privately on clarinet that year and we had
a chance to get reacquinted. Many years passed after this point in time
and Don and his family moved to Flagstaff where Don became the NAU Band
Director. In the late 50's I was asked to join the NAU summer music camp
staff. After a couple of years teaching in the high school camp I had the
opportunity to be involved in the first junior high music camp. Through the
7 years I taught at the NAU music camp I had the opportunity to get acquinted
again with the talents of the Wolf family. Before I knew it, Grant had graduated
from college and was becoming a very successful teacher of music and a giant in innovative
methods in the jazz education field.

Grant became very active in the NAU Summer Music Camp sessions and
my own boys, David and Eric, had the opportunity to be part of Grant's Jazz Ensembles.
When Eric was in the eighth grade he was playing trombone
in Grant's group at the camp and Eric asked Grant if he would have the band
play a number he had written. Of course, Grant, always encouraging, said yes and the number
was run through. Grant was very positive about the number but he said he was mystified at why
Eric hadn't written a score. He told Eric if he would write a full score for the number by the next rehearsal
he would consider putting the number on the program for Jazz Night. He did and they did.
Eric was
fortunate to win the jazz composition award that year and this really had a big influence on
his future music endeavors.

Because of the influence of "master teachers" like Grant,
students are influenced their whole lives by the encouragement and talents of these individuals
who have a magical way of presenting materials that bring results,
including turning out the lights and saying "create"... Recently Eric's Jazz
Orchestra was feataured on an hour BET television broadcast with Ramsey Lewis as host,
an hour long PBS Special with his 32 piece Jazz Orchestra presenting "The Big Band Sound of WWII
and most recently this summer as the feature group at the Glenn Miller International Birthday Jazz Festival in
Clarinda, Iowa. Our son David, who also had the opportunity to play under
Grant, flew up to Clarinda to play tenor in the group. None of us in the field
of music can or could ever imagine the positive and lasting influence a teacher like Grant
has had on his students. All of us who attended the yearly NAU Jazz Festivals would always be in
attendance for the special magic that Grant seemed to pull out of his MCC Jazz Groups, including Jim Henry
playing a bowl of water with a mallet at the mike. What a hoot and what imagination!
Don was always known as the very serious director in the field and how
important it was to be on your toes when playing in his groups. But he too
has a wonderful sense of humor, like the time he had his band at one of the
music camp final concerts stand up and play kazoos. The anticipation of
what these guys would come up with next was one of the pleasures they
gave all of us.

Many of the young jazz hopefuls would drive miles out of their way to attend classes at MCC or would
find a way to extend their stay at a two year institution to be able to take part in the wonderful training
they knew they would get from this quiet resourceful young man of music.

My life, as well as my childrens', has been enriched by having known and worked with Grant during the
last 40+ years. Many of my former students have also been influenced by Grant, with his positive approach to
making music.

Giving his students the chance and faith that they could succeed was one of his
many strong teaching points. It is a truly wonderful that one person could have done so much
for so many in such a short time. WHAT A CHALLENGE FOR THE REST OF US!

Les Felten, Jr.
Music Educator
Arizona & Hawaii

Wow, that's a mind-blower. I feel the same way as when I first heard Darth Vader tell Luke Skywalker, "I'm your father." Of course, the analogy breaks down a little because I never saw Darth wear loud ties and you're not even remotely evil (you're welcome), but now that I think about it, the way you waved that baton around _was_ sort of a precursor to the light saber, and when I was auditioning for Cadet Band in sixth grade I was so nervous it sounded like _everyone_ was breathing through a black mask.

That's really something, I never knew about your history with Grant. Of course, it makes perfect sense--greatness begets greatness, and good soil produces good fruit, as they say. I thought I had encountered enough surprises this week, but now I feel the circle is complete, the final letter has been turned on the Wheel, and Inspector Clouseau has "sol-ved the crime." I can only marvel at the uncanny good fortune I had growing up, to have had you, Grant, and Barry Black willing to invest so much time, compassion and music into my life as my band directors. It makes me take an even more somber appraisal of where I am now and the responsibility I have to continue pressing on toward the musical dreams within my heart. To do otherwise would be a great disservice to all the giants upon whose shoulders I have been given the opportunity to stand. Thanks for sharing this, Mr. Felten; I now have a more complete picture of my musical heritage, and a greater appreciation of how we can never truly know all the wonderful, disparate things that work together for our good in life.

James Kass
Orangedale Elementary Band '71-'75
Posted by: James Kass on August 25, 2002 11:48 PM




from Rob Schuh

I came to AZ in 1982. I had studied with Chuck Marohnic in South Florida and he
brought me out here. When I got to ASU, it seamed like 90% of the great players
there had come from MCC, so that in itself was a great testament to Grant as an
educator. Grant and I never worked together and I never had studied with him,
but we always seemed to have a special connection. He was always very
complementary about my playing and I always appreciated it coming from Grant.
The first time we met, I kidded him and I told him that he looked looked just
like my late friend Jaco Pastorius, but with gray hair. Grant always got a kick
out of that! :-) I had moved from AZ in 1990 and in 1991 had kidney failure and
spent 8.5 years on dialysis. I do not think I had seen Grant since I moved back
to AZ in 1993, but I saw him last year for the first time in ages at the Lewis
Nash clinic. I walked up to him and his eyes lit up. He grabbed me and gave me a
big hug and was so happy to see how well I looked and was doing. I guess he had
not heard much about my receiving a new kidney in 1998 and was very surprised to
see me looking so well. He had a small tear in his eye as he knew how much I had
been through with all of my illnesses. We talked a while about our war stories
relating our health problems and had a very heart felt conversation. The one
thing that ALWAYS stood out with Grant was that he was one of the truly good
guys. He cared about people and you knew when you were interacting with him, he
really cared about you and what you were doing. There are very few people I can
put in that category, but he was a prince among men. My being an agnostic is
always hard when someone passes as it would be hypocritical for me to say that
Grant and his family are in my prayers, but what I can say is that there will
always be a special place in my heart for Grant. My heart goes out to his family
in this time of grief and hope they can draw from Grant's strength. If there is
an after life and if there is a heaven, there is no doubt that our friend Grant
is there. One of the things that we discussed the last time we spoke was my need
to get out of AZ because of the lack of creative music. He was just so positive
about my eventual move to NY and was so confident that I would do well there.
That was how he was with everything. Rest in peace my friend, you will be missed

Rob Schuh




Inspirational Force

"Inspirational Force" - from Denny Marcum

I first got to know Grant when I was twelve years old. My family had moved to Arizona and my brother, Jerry was starting his first year at M.C.C.. Being from a small town in Kansas, he was a little overwhelmed by the campus and a little nervous about starting college, so my dad went with him to get registered. My dad’s main concern with the college was with the music department. He played tenor sax and had gotten all of us kids involved in music. He wanted to make sure the college had a strong program. One of the first people they meet was Grant. He took Jerry under his wing and from that point on, Grant became one of my dad’s favorite people. My dad and Grant seemed to hook up on a level I still don’t quite understand. During Jerry’s time at the college, my family saw the jazz band perform in “The Old Theater Outback” with Pat Williams, Don Ellis, Pete Magadini and Bill Watrous.
A few years later my other brother, Randy and I, would get our chance to study with Grant. I remember being a senior in high school and hearing Grant’s second jazz band perform. At that point, I knew I had to get into his band. The next day, I talked to the high school principal and convinced him to let me take a college class. Now all I had to do was convince Grant to give me an audition. I found Grant in the Theater setting up for a concert. With a trembling voice, I asked if I could audition for his band. He said “Sure I’ll see ya on Friday”. Needless to say, I went home and practiced my ass off. I knew from my brother’s experiences that you didn’t show up unprepared for an audition with Grant. Somehow, I had it in my mind that it would be just me an Grant at the audition. When I showed up on Friday, the whole band was there including the three excellent drummers already in the band: Keith Roberts, Joe Little, and Bob Warren. Grant introduced me and told me to take “The Driver’s Seat”. The song I auditioned on was a minor blues entitled “The Call”. He kicked off the tune and went into what I call “The Grant Listening Mode”. Eyes closed, hands clapping on two and four, face pointed skyward. Out of the corner of my eye, I could tell he was digging my playing. Chills went through my entire body. Here I was, fulfilling a dream, to share music with someone I had admired and respected for five years. I became the fourth drummer in the band and was amazed at the warmth and acceptance the band gave me, especially Joe, Keith and Bob. I think all of us learned, under Grant’s direction, the difference between confidence and ego( I never saw him take kindly to somebody who was full of themselves).
During my times at M.C.C., I played and became friends with many wonderful musicians. I’ll never forget me and Jeff waiting to go on at the Playboy Jazz Festival. I was warming up on a chair and Jeff was giving his bass a good spanking. Who walks in? Jaco and Peter Erskine. I wish I had a picture of the two of us sitting there in shock. Only through Grant were such experiences possible.
Later in life, I went back to school to get my music ed. degree. At one point I was ready to quit. I was tired of putting up with all the bullshit and jumping through “hoops”. Grant convinced me to hang in there and inspired me to finish my degree. In 1999 I graduated and started teaching band at Fremont Jr. High. Last year Grant came out to work with my band. The kids still talk about it. We were preparing for festival a song I had performed with the Evening Wind Ensemble at M.C.C. called Fantasy on an Australian Folk Song. Grant spent an hour in a section with the clarinets. When they came back, I couldn’t believe the difference. I asked one of my students what they worked on? She said” Breathing and air.I can’t believe how loud he can play clarinet”. At that point a famous “Grant Saying” came to mind. It was an expression he often used to get the brass section to play with some gusto. “Blow, Don’t Suck”. Since that night, I have us that expression with my kids many times.We spent a half hour next day discussing it’s meaning.From the obvious meaning, put some air through the horn or you’re going to sound terrible and the not so obvious meaning that one of my students came up with, give all of yourself to what it is you’re doing or life will suck(Jr. High students have a such way with words). The next day we went festival and received a superior rating for our performance. One of the adjudicators commented on what a great clarinet sound we had. It was with pride and thanks that ,I was able to share with Grant the following Thursday night, the band’s experience.
It was through teary eyes that I shared with my band Grant’s passing. He was such an inspirational force to all of us. May we all choose to go through life like Grant and to “Blow, Not Suck.
God Bless You Grant ,
Denny Marcum

-------- COMMENTS: I remember Grant Listening Mode. It's as if he were casting his gaze up above the atmosphere so the images from his eyes wouldn't interfere with the images in his ears.

Posted by: Kid Flash on August 25, 2002 11:57 PM


Beautiful memories, Denny. You kicked us on Tubs with great style in Monday Night Band, MCC Jazz Band, and "The Jazz Boogers" combo for many years. Now you are one who is carrying on The Man's teaching tradition.
One small correction: Matt McKenzie was our bass player when we played the Hollywood Bowl and saw Jaco.
- Marsh
Posted by: steve marsh on August 28, 2002 07:09 PM




Fifty-six is too young! - by Ted Goddard

Fifty-six is too young! I'm shocked and saddened by the loss. Yet I
celebrate his friendship, intellect, humor, insight, and the large
network of wonderful people whose lives he touched. For us, sharing our
memories might help begin the healing process.
When I think of Grant, so many thoughts rush to mind: almost thirty
years' worth of memories for which I am grateful. It started in the fall
of 1973 when I saw him direct the MCC jazz band. From that moment, I
couldn't wait to start classes in the spring. I had already taken a few
college courses, but MCC was the beginning of my serious musical
training. Grant was an excellent teacher and a thoughtful advisor,
helpful, patient, forgiving, and I always felt that his door was open.
Mainly a jazz guitarist, I took up the clarinet, studied privately
with Grant, and played in every instrumental-performing group MCC
offered--jazz ensemble, pep band, combo, orchestra, even marching band!
In the fall, I would be out on the marching field before dawn (and I'm
not a morning person) to practice with Grant & Don. Typically, Grant
would teach all day, then come back after dinner to teach a night class
until 10:00 P.M. That shows dedication.
The whole MCC music faculty was wonderful and I was right where I
wanted to be. It was hard work, it was inspiring, and it was a
blast--especially those band tours! We played in Dodger Stadium, Las
Vegas, Disneyland, Sea World, at the Berkeley Jazz Festival, at the
Santa Barbara Invitational Jazz Festival, and all over Arizona and
Southern California. Despite the fun, I was serious about music &
education so I never got on Grant's wrong side. That was a good thing
because he could come down hard on slackers. In fact, he and Don could
make the whole orchestra cry, and they usually did at least once a
semester! I think they just wanted to see us strive for personal
During the 1970s Grant was in the forefront of jazz pedagogy. He
brought in outstanding clinicians, started the MCC Summer Jazz Camp, and
later tied it in with the Summer Music Camp at NAU. My own teaching
career started when he invited me to join the camp faculty. I got to
study, perform, and hang with great musicians like Joe Pass, Claire
Fischer, Gary Foster, Ladd McIntosh, Don Menza and Pete Magadini, not to
mention Grant, Don Bothwell, Fred Forney, Jeff Haskell, Bob Ravenscroft,
Brian Bromberg and others. I had the pleasure of teaching at least a
dozen summer camps with Grant over the years, the last was in 1996 when
he began experiencing unusual health problems. Whether faculty or
student, he knew how to draw out the best, and he had the foresight and
generosity to place us in situations conducive to everyone's growth. Bob
Washut aptly named him "The Sage," and as a teacher, they don't come any
better than Grant.
I'm lucky: I've enjoyed hundreds of performing situations with
Grant. Playing guitar with his Monday Nite Band for eight years was a
great opportunity that I looked forward to each week. Once, I was late.
Apologetically taking my seat, Grant said in front of everyone: "I hope
she was worth it." That got a big laugh, but I was never late again. He
was willing to let us make mistakes, and that's all part of the learning
process. Professionally, Grant was a skilled reader, a fine section
player, had ample technique, and played all the doubles--he just
preferred to keep it low key. True humility. On some shows, I sat right
next to him soaking in the rich sonority of his bass clarinet or
baritone sax. Recently, we played with the Phoenix Symphony, Rosemary
Clooney, Diane Schuur, and Fiddler on the Roof. If it hadn't been for
Grant's training and encouragement, I might not have had those
I was honored to play guitar for Grant & Kim's wedding on a boat in
Saguaro Lake surrounded by their closest loved ones. That was a special
day. There was also the outing on Humphrey's Peak with Grant, Kim & the
kids: We saw a huge porcupine from the ski lift and then played the
alphabet game, using animal names from A to Z, all the way back to
Flagstaff. Always exploring, learning, teaching, sharing--that was
Grant's way. And I usually realized something of value when I was around
him. This past July and August, we were both teaching summer classes and
I got to see him almost every day: I know what a treat it was just to
stop by his office and say: "Hey Grant!" We will sorely miss him.
Although the loss is painful, I rejoice in his memory. He leaves a
big hole, and a big legacy. Significantly, a large "family" of us
survive who are enriched through the experience of knowing Grant Wolf.
He remains with us, in our hearts and minds. We won't forget him.

Ted Goddard

------- COMMENTS: right on, Theodore.
Posted by: Bob Washut on August 25, 2002 06:42 PM




August 25, 2002
from Bob Weller

Dear Friends: seems like I can't stop thinking about Grant ever since I heard the bad news. I haven't seen Grant since 1989 and then only once or twice since 1977. But I realize now that he was with me the entire time by virtue of what he taught me at MCC in 1974. I have an eighteen year old bass player son who I'm now teaching the stuff that Grant told me 25 years ago! I guess we're not able to properly evaluate the contribution people make to our lives until they're gone. Some of the things I remember best are Grant at the Village Inn in Tempe holding a pitcher(never a glass) of beer saying "Bobby how are ya?" I don't think Grant ever yelled at me but one time when I voiced some frustration at a part I was playing in Jazz Band he stared at me for about 2 minutes without saying a word. You could hear a pin drop and nobody moved. And then it was over and everything was cool except my life flashed in front of my eyes about 50 times. Sure going to miss you, Grant. Love you. Bob Weller




from Ray Herndon

To a true jazz hero, and all around inspiration to me and my musical pals...
Grant, you filled my life with the gift of knowledge about jazz, life, and what it means to be a man in this world through your teaching in school and just through your incredibly strong father like presence. Keeping us college yay-hoos in line, teaching us your passion for the music, which I am proud to say lives on in me, and will forever. I am so thankful for the people I met thanks to you and all of your great works at MCC. You took me under your wing when I was 14 at the summer jazz work shop, introduced me to the great Joe Pass, sat me next to my now long time pal Ted Goddard and made me feel what it's like to appreciate the music! And then, in 1979, put me in a band with the likes of Steve Marsh, Chris Armstrong, Dan Tomlinson, Matt McKenzie and other long time friends for a college experience I will never forget. Thanks to your giving spirit that will live on and on my friend, you gave to the world... you accomplished your mission in life. I am so proud to have called you a friend and leader to me.
May your soul rest in peace Grant. I will miss you!
With love and deep admiration,
Ray Herndon

Posted by Jeff Papineau at 11:56 PM |




from Joe Lloyd

I first met Grant when I was a student teacher at Flagstaff High School. John Hoffman was the band Director at Flagstaff High School and I had known him for a few years before I began student teaching with (or rather for) him. When I would show up to student teach, I would find myself alone in the classroom with baton in hand, rehearsing the band and would not see John until after lunch. During that time I learned very quickly how to deal with high school students who were testing the student teacher. When something would happen in the classroom and I couldn’t determine who was responsible or what to do next - I recognized a “wry smile” on the face of one young clarinet student who seemed to always be in the right place at the time I looked his way, but I always wondered? As the semester of student teaching continued, I found him to be one who always had the music well prepared and one who supported me in that difficult time of student teaching! His leadership of the clarinet section and of the marching band as the Drum Major was a prelude to his many years of professional performance and strong leadership in the field of education. But that smile always made me wonder!!! What’s coming??

As high school music educators in Arizona we struggled to get jazz established as a part of our curriculum in the schools. Grant, as the jazz director at Mesa Community College was in the forefront of the work that set up jazz clinics, jazz festivals and quality jazz performances that gave credibility to the idea of including this vital subject in the school day schedule. When people talk about jazz in Arizona - Grant Wolf is the first name mentioned.

When Mesa Community College was invited to perform in France early in the seventies, I got a call from Pat Curry, Director of the NAU Summer Muisic Camp wanting to know if Toni and I would take over the position of running the girl’s dorm for a summer while Grant left with the MCC Jazz group. Of course we accepted and were happy to do so. That began another chapter in our lives with Grant and family. When they returned, we expected that we would once again be in HOT Mesa in July and August. Grant chose not to continue that position, and just teach in the camp. We were happy, they were happy and life was good. Twenty-five years of association with the music camp family was one of the highlights in our family.

Year after year the camp was successful. We kept hiring these famous professional jazz personalities to conduct Jazz I and Grant would conduct Jazz II. The professionals would set Jazz I up to accompany them and they would play all the solos. The Jazz I group, being the best auditioned players should have been the top group on jazz night. Not so!!! Jazz II got the standing ovations year after year. Pat Curry, being very frustrated about this asked, “What can we do to solve this problem?” The answer? Give Jazz I to Grant!! Done!! The next year and every year after - Jazz I got the standing ovations - Grant never played a solo in front of his jazz groups(although he was better than many of those “pros” we hired). His focus was on the students and their success. Jazz night was always one of the great highlights of NAU Summer Music Camp.

When our sons became interested in jazz, we did all we could to get them involved with Grant Wolf. Our oldest son, Chuck, considers himself a protégé of Grant Wolf. He studied saxophone with Grant, played in bands conducted by Grant and sat beside Grant as a professional performer. Today, as I watch my son conduct his bands and listen to him play, I can hear and see the discipline, creativity, mannerisms and virtues that this man of great compassion and musical intensity passed on. His legacy will live on as many, many others, like our sons Chuck and Jeff, continue to mirror the many influences Grant had on their lives.

Grant had the ability to sense a person’s mood and feelings. In some very difficult times in my life, the first person to come to me and be concerned and offer help was Grant Wolf. I know I wasn’t the only person who had that experience and I know that the strength he showed was a strength in his soul. And I also know that his strength and compassion came from a deep concern for others and a true faith in God and his Love.

Grant Wolf set many standards and showed many people how success in life could be accomplished. Yes, I know we all have our times when we aren’t what we hope we could be, but at the end of our lives we hope and pray we can make a difference by what we do and how we act. That was something Grant did as a natural course in his life. He was a loving, caring person, who gave himself to all who needed him. He did this without fanfare, without expectations, without seeking self grandizement, with humor and with only the concern for those who needed his time, his help and his heart.

Grant Wolf gave himself to us completely during his short time of life. He did this willingly and with sincere concern for us. We have an obligation to him to pass this on, to look within ourselves and find that seed he planted in us when he smiled, when he praised, when he challenged, when he cared. His spirit will reside in all of us who were fortunate enough to know him.

I thank God for Grant Wolf and I know when we meet again the Angels playing their harps will know all the changes to all the tunes and wouldn’t dare drop a beat. We will “Jam” and I will once again see that “wry smile” that says “How you doin?”

Posted by Joe Lloyd at August 24, 2002 09:33 PM

So many faded memories are coming back to focus by these postings... It's very heart warming to see the names and hear the stories. It's like traveling back in time to visit my past and finding it a nice place to be.
Joe Lloyd! You and Dick Rader were the first people to grace my life with an experience of jazz. I took so much for granted (no pun intended) and only now can I truly appreciate all that you gave me. Thank you!!
The connection between what you were doing at Mountain View HS and what Grant was doing at MCC is somehow more obvious to me as a result of reading all of these messages. It is amazing to me to realize how much of what I do in the classroom traces back to you and Grant. (I've been teaching for a while now.) Good things stick, I suppose.
I owe you a lot of thanks and more than a few apologies, I'm sure. I hope you get this message. Give Dick a hug for me if you get the chance... Thank you for everything!
Posted by: Bradmo Payne on August 27, 2002 08:05 PM




August 26, 2002
from Matt McKenzie

Grant had Gary Foster in for a workshop, to begin after lunch with the band. In our infinite ignorance, Ray and I had one watch between us, and the battery was dead on it. After a margarita and some enchiladas, we ambled back across the grass toward the MCC theater, late, where Grant was stalking us with his biggest voice. My first grey hair was born that day.

Thank you Grant for your patience.

Matt McKenzie


"Legacy of Love" by Karen Dwyer

My name is Karen Dwyer, and I was at MCC in 79-82. I've been thinking all week about how Grant influenced my life and I've come to realize that what I am today, my love for music, how I treat other people, even how I am raising my children was largly influenced by Grant. I first met him at N.A.U. music camp when I was twelve. I walked into one of his jazz ensemble classes toting my bass clarinet (*laugh*). I didn't really know what a jazz ensemble was at the time, having played mostly 'band' music and classical ensemble type arrangments. There in front of me was this gentle giant. He stood and smiled at me, scratching his chin as he always did. He said he didn't use bass clarinets in this group, he did in some of his other jazz groups, but not this one. I was disappointed, but he led me out and we found another class for me to take. (He could have just blown off this little girl, but even then he took the time to get me to where I needed to be.)

Fast forward to my senior year of high school and an audition to play in the band at MCC. I remember him telling me to blow on that thing!! Put some air through that horn! It was just the beginning of things to come.

Over the next couple of years the gentle giant would greatly influence me way beyond how I played my horn. I was a classical player. I loved jazz but didn't play it. Guess I was a jazz band groupie. It didn't matter to Grant. His love, his influence reached every part of my life. He taught me about caring enough to do things the right way, about taking the high road. He shared his spirit of music. He taught me to give 110% more, when I thought I already had. I believe, as so many have already said, that he gave to those whos lives he touched a legacy of love. We learned well, and we try to give it to those we meet in our lives. His love for life and the music lives on.

God's love and peace to you great teacher, and friend, Grant Wolf.

Karen Dwyer
MCC 79-82




"Miss you man..." from Phil Harris

So, the first thing to say is I still use the word "man" after just about every sentence! Thanks for that Grant!
Well, I see Joe Lloyd posted here. He was the one that initially taught me to suck on a reed and blow a pitiful clarinet. But since my father Roger's office was 2 doors down from Grant, heheh~it was private lesson time! I was a fat little kid standing next to a giant with long hair and a demeanor that defied explaination. I looked up to him literally and figuratively! After about 10 years of weekly learning more about music, life and how to be cool, I ended up sitting first chair clarinet at NAU music camp orchestra with Ralston Pitts as director. Man, could you have better musical mentors? Also had some great experiences with Grant's dad in the cool pines of Flagstaff! And I will never forget the time I didn't practice that week. I was the proud recipient of the "We are both wasting our time here Philip" 5 minute lecture (well deserved). I remember that little chit-chat drove an eleven year to tears. He came into the restroom where I retreated to, said he was sorry and passed me a hanky. He proceeded to lob out a typical sordid Grant remark. We laughed and it was back to lesson time. I never went a day after that without at least an hour on the horn. Well I haven't run into Grant in years, but Dad has kept me up with life at MCC and the Wolf goings on. Why is it that the good seem to go first? Maybe because their art and talent are needed badly in the next life. I also have you to thank for the "no cursive, print handwriting with the accentuated and very flowery first letter of the sentence" writing!
Miss you man...

Posted by: Phil Harris on August 26, 2002 08:41 PM




August 27, 2002
Carpe Diem and The Road Map

From Dan Gutenkauf

It has been heartwarming and healing to be able to refer to this web site of memorials and memoirs of Grant Wolf. Thank you, Jeff, for making this forum available. It has brought back many forgotten memories and filled in a lot of blank spots for me about Grant.

I moved to Arizona in 1978 from the Midwest with the hope of having more opportunities to play music for a living. My parents had adamantly discouraged me and my brother Denny from pursuing a career in music. I already had my college degree in Psychology, along with several music classes that I squeezed into a Liberal Arts degree. I had studied Jazz guitar and bass from the top teacher in my hometown. Now in a new city and not knowing anyone, I set about the task of investigating music schools. ASU seemed like it would be too crowded and impersonal. There was one name that was consistently rolling off the tongues of the local music community, and that name was Grant Wolf at Mesa Community College.

My first semester in the Fall of 1979, I signed up for three classes taught by Grant - - -Jazz Improv, Chamber Music (Guitar) Ensemble, and Stage Band.Workshop. Like Bradmo's earlier account, I went into the Improv class expecting to get extensive lectures and stacks of musical information. Bradmo's story on "CREATE" accurately described and recalled my experience. I discovered that Grant was more of a macro-instructor, giving general directions, and leaving the students to discover the lessons for themselves. There were a couple of occasions were I was feeling frustrated, so I talked to Grant in his office about making changes in my classes. Grant listened attentively and empathetically, but encouraged me to just stay the course. I think he knew that I would learn more by facing my challenges head on, rather than taking the easy way out with what felt comfortable or simply being spoon-fed.

When I made a mistake in one particular musical performance, Grant didn't magnify the mistake or even mention it. He knew that I knew I made the mistake and it was over. The important thing was to learn from the mistake. Grant was always an encourager, and his criticism to me was always gentle and constructive on how to improve. His approach was conceptual- "think more linear and less vertical" and "less is more." He always treated me with respect as a person and a player.

I was discouraged that there were two other bass players ahead of me in the Stage Band. That shows how popular Grant was. Everyone wanted to sign up for his classes. I knew that I wasn't going to get any playing experience. But Grant encouraged me to stay in the class anyway. He intuitively knew that I would learn vicariously by observation, even if I wasn't actually playing. I trusted Grant's guidance and I showed up faithfully for each class. Grant made the analogy that "reading a stage band chart is like reading a road map- you gotta know where you are going." That lesson has remained ingrained in me to this day, since many of the bass charts that I now play in my Church orchestra are sometimes10 to15 pages long. The first thing I do with a new piece of music is figure out "the road map".

Although I never got to play a single note with the Stage Band, I showed up for each class. I am sure that fact did not go unnoticed by Grant, because he gave me an "A" in the class, for just sitting there and listening and paying attention. It struck me that Grant meant what he said when he quoted Woody Allen in class one day ..."Ninety percent of life is just showing up." I have remembered that lesson many times over the subsequent years. It has proved helpful to me over the last 6 years in my public speaking and talk radio interviews about computer vote fraud. If I felt I wasn't totally prepared as I would like to be, I remembered that the most important thing is to be reliable and show up, and "improvise" the other 10%. I have learned to take the concept of musical improvisation, creating on the spot, and extrapolate it to other areas of my life.

Grant encouraged me to study acoustic, upright bass, since I was strictly an electric bass player. He loaned me a bass from the school and I took lessons from Jack Radavich that summer. While I loved listening to Paul Chambers and Eddie Gomez, the upright bass was not an instrument that I wanted to focus on. But my studies on upright expanded my awareness and appreciation for the instrument, and I learned about the dedication and technical skill needed to excel on the instrument. I think I was really more focused on Jaco Pastorius and Stanley Clarke at that time, and the fusion, funk style of Spyro Gyra. The point was that Grant encouraged me to expand my abilities as a player.

In 1982 through 1984, I did extensive touring on the road with a couple of bands all over the country and in Canada. When I returned in 1985, I took another class from Grant on the Business of Music. It was a major revelation to learn that 80% of the albums by new artists fail to make any money. I learned about the "sophomore slump" and how bands get dumped by the record companies, often ending up bankrupt and owing money. It was a splash of cold water reality on the fantasy of the record business. The class gave me a healthy skepticism for record companies and highlighted the importance of knowing the business and marketing of music, not just having good performance skills.

Grant was always bringing in great clinicians like David Friesen on upright bass, and I think I remember Grant passing out an improv info sheet by Ladd McIntosh. I remember the day he brought in a 16- year old piano player named Matt Rollings, who dazzled the class with his advanced keyboard skills. Of course, Matt, along with a number of Grant's talented students like Ray Herndon, Matt McKenzie, Dan Tomlinson, Steve Marsh and others have gone on to much success with Lyle Lovett and other artists in Nashville. Their success is a testimony to Grant's guidance and nurturing.

I remember attending Grant's Monday night big band performances at Chuy's and watching the joy that Grant exuded while conducting his students and peers, often tackling challenging arrangements. It's neat to read the many stories of students' band trips and performances with Grant. I missed out on those experiences. It's also neat to hear what a wonderful mentor Grant was to so many young musicians, and the huge impact he had on their lives. Grant was not my "Guru" or a close friend, and I only remember sharing the bandstand with him once, but his attitude and demeanor had a broad and significant impact on me, nonetheless. He had humor, empathy, and most of all, he was a genuine human being.

I don't think I ever had contact with Grant since that last class in 1985, seventeen years ago. While playing a gig in late spring 2002, I heard from drummer Andy Ziker that Grant was having health problems. Hearing that news prompted me to contact Roger Harris, my Music Theory teacher. I celebrated Roger's birthday with him over lunch in June, and he detailed Grant's health problems, misdiagnoses, medical complications, religious issues, etc. It sounded like the misdiagnosis was corrected, and that Grant was on the road to recovery. I asked Roger to say hello to Grant from me. I figured I would stop by campus this fall when school started and then I would catch up with Grant. Sadly, that opportunity never came.

When I heard the shocking news of Grant's sudden, unexpected passing, it brought 3 immediate realizations to my attention. #1, Grant continued to do what he loved most, teaching and playing music, right up until the day before he died. His joy and passion for music elevated his focus to help him transcend the pain of his medical condition. #2, it made me realize that none of us knows when we may be playing our last gig, so it is important to always play with passion, excellence, and enjoyment. It was both entertaining and validating to later read Steve Marsh's story about Grant chastising the slacker soloist, with the admonition that none of us know when "the bus is coming". My third realization is that none of us know when God may call us home, so it is important to have our spiritual house in order.

I am so happy to know that in the last couple years of his life, Grant was seeking God's guidance for his life through the Scriptures of the Holy Bible. My regret is that my lack of urgency in contacting Grant resulted in a missed opportunity that I will never have again. I wish I could have shared with Grant how studying the Bible has changed my life in the last 10 years. I wish I could have shared with Grant the joy of my involvement in music ministry in Church, my orchestra mission trip to Argentina last summer, recording a Christian CD, progressing to 6-string bass, creating original music, my growth as a musician, and my political activism in exposing computer vote fraud. I know that Grant would have listened attentively, approved of, and rejoiced in my personal and musical growth. I am grieved that I did not seize the moment to reconnect with him right away, upon hearing of his medical condition. I suspect that there may be other friends and former students who also feel that they missed the same opportunities to reconnect and spend time with Grant before he died, if they had only known.

It occured to me today that Grant was the musical counterpart to the literature teacher portrayed by Robin Williams in movie "Dead Poet's Society." He encouraged students to follow their own Muse, chart their own course, and to seize the day, "Carpe Diem", because we are all eventually food for the worms. But the memorial service on Saturday afternoon made it abundantly clear to me that Grant understood that life is about more than receiving recognition, accolades, or just expressing your art before the clock runs out. Grant recognized and followed God's "road map" to his eternal destination. Beyond the many profound musical and personal lessons he taught each of us in his life, to me his greatest lesson is in the way he faced death. By his example, Grant pointed us to the heaviest, most mystical chart for all of us to read, and he wanted us to figure out the road map for ourselves. And the composer of that "road map" is the Ultimate Composer, the Ultimate Creator, the true Author of "A Love Supreme", above and beyond anything John Coltrane ever composed, imagined, or was capable of performing.

As it was said at the memorial service in the Theater Outback, Grant's reputation with God was more important than his reputation with men. For a man of Grant's expansive accomplishments, that speaks volumes! And it was said that the day of his death is more important than the day of his birth. Setting denominationalism aside, it was very comforting to me to hear the Scriptures being read at the service. In a way, the message that came through to me is that, instead of focusing solely on playing from the Jazz "Fake Book", Grant wanted us to start paying attention to the Ultimate "Real Book", God's Word in the Bible. Check out the Psalms that David wrote. It begs the question: Can we look beyond our own self-serving glory, long enough to start thinking about service to others, as Grant did, and give all the glory to whom it really belongs, to God?

The truest testimony of Grant's life was evident from the hundreds of musicians, friends., and renowned jazz educators (like Dan Haerle), who overflowed the Navajo room afterwards. We congregated to share food, conversations, memories, and view pictures, plaques, and trophies. Grant was "the hub" that brought all those people together. He touched so many lives, each in a unique way, by showing love, respect, care, concern, compassion and so many other genuine human qualities to every one he encountered in his "sphere of influence". As Jack Radavich so succinctly articulated after the service, "It makes you realize that it is important to treat people right in every situation."

I am grateful to all the former students and friends for showing their vulnerability in expressing what Grant meant to them and how he nurtured them. I respect the risk they took in exposing their weaknesses, and showing how Grant converted their weaknesses into strengths in a true learning environment. I trust that what they have written and shared will be a revelation and inspiration to others, to carry on the wonderful legacy that Grant left to the profession of music education, the institution of Mesa Community College, and the private revelations that he instilled in the quiet corners of our individual memories and hearts. Grant demonstrated how to abandon the safe, conventional teaching methods, and how to incorporate creativity and fun into teaching, in an environment of mutual trust. I loved reading the story about his instruction to create free form music with the lights turned out. I am sure his methods will be emulated by other music educators for many years to come.

While I regret my missed opportunity with Grant, it made me realize that there are other great teachers at MCC such as Roger Harris and Don Bothwell, Ruth Yandell and Fred Forney, who deserve our attention and expressions of love and appreciation while they are still here with us. These are untapped opportunities. Call them, take them to lunch, and minister to their needs. Don't wait until it is too late! I intend to spend more time getting to know these teachers better, and not repeat the hard lesson that Grant's sudden passing taught me. I think God has used Grant's death as a wake up call to each of us. I was blessed to reconnect with several musicians on Saturday, at a deeper level than I had before.

As Dr. Wayne Dyer has admonished "Don't die with music still in you."

CARPE DIEM!!!!!!!!

God bless you, Grant. Thank you for touching my life with with your marvelous musical and teaching gifts, your humanity, your humor and your love. My life has also been enriched by the many musicians and friends whom I have met and played with, who had a common connection with you. As my Mother has often quoted "I am part of all whom I have met." I know that there are a lot of musicians all across the country, who are currently carrying around a part of Grant Wolf in their lives and in their music.

Grant, I can't wait to hear the awesome arrangements you are conducting in Heaven's Big Band.!!! Thank you, God, for putting Grant Wolf here for his abbreviated time to spread the joy of music in our lives.

Johann Sebastian Bach

With love, respect, admiration and appreciation,
Dan Gutenkauf

COMMENTS: ________________________________________________________________________________________________

Wow, quite a boatload from someone who hadn't contacted Grant in almost 20 years. Some nice comments scattered within, Dan. But PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE: can we all agree not to use this space to try to impose our various religious beliefs on others? That is arrogant and is disrespectful to many others here. Hundreds of Grant's long time closest friends and students already were forced to endure his Memorial being turned into an grossly inappropriate Infomercial, while his great legacy as an educator and musician was largely ignored altogether. Enough already! Please respect Grant's memory here and the diverse beliefs and backgrounds of his many true friends. This ain't Sunday School here. Grant was very open-minded and for most of his life embraced many philosophies and encouraged his students to do the same. "Think for yourself" was one of his main teachings, not "go get yourself brainwashed by the religious mind control power structure". But you wouldn't know that, Dan, because you didn't know Grant. I can hear Grant's Buddhist friends firing up their email programs already. Do you really want to read long Buddhist tomes here about what this all really means? Do you really want to have a factual discussion about the true history of the Bible's construction and many edits by the church's power structure, in their quest to increase the book's propoganda value in controlling the masses and increasing the church's wealth and power? Do you wish for a discussion of the Jehovah's Witnesses' role in this horrible mess to ensue here? I think not. This is not the proper place for religious declarations, so let's nip it in the bud right now. Hasn't so-called religion done enough harm lately?
P.S. What does any one of us really know of "What John Coltrane (by all accounts an incredibly spiritual person) ever imagined". But we do appreciate having the great mind and soul of the musical genius John Coltrane marginalized and trivialized by the likes of you. Keep it real, dude. Go listen to "Intersteller Space" 100 times in a row, transcribe all of Trane's solos, learn to play them on your 6 string bass, and then report back to us on what you now know about John Coltrane.
Posted by: Grant's Real Friends on August 29, 2002 03:28 AM


Bravo to Grant's Real Friends. How does a guy that hasn't even bothered to stay in touch have so much to say? I miss you Grant!
Posted by: Another Big Fan of Grant Wolf on August 29, 2002 11:55 PM


Carpe this Pal - Grant chanelling from the great beyond.
Posted by: B. Weller on September 5, 2002 11:50 AM


"Exposing voting fraud", huh? We smell a fraud alrighty, but it sure ain't about voters. I actually liked some of what you said, Dan, before you started your Bible thumping. Please save your attempts at religious conversion for the 700 Club, The Jerry Falwell Radio Hour, the Jim and Tammy Baker show, and The Jimmy Saggart Show. Hey Dan, you sound like a perfect candidate for a Jehovah's Witness door to door recruiting drive. Yeah, go ahead and join up with the J.W.s. But as a J.W., be sure not to ever contract any serious blood diseases, or cut yourself badly, or require a life saving blood transfusion for any reason. If you do, that will be it for your ass. Dan, for your next research project, why don't you investigate modern day cults that advocate returning medical technology back to the Dark Ages! Amen, Brother, Amen!

Posted by: guest on September 5, 2002 12:15 PM


I posted my comments anticipating criticism, so it is no surprise to me. I did not post my comments in order to elicit anyone's approval. Everyone is entitled to their opinion.
I have also received comments from other people who used the word "eloquent" to describe my memorial. Even people who did not know Grant said that they were touched by my words. My comments were for my benefit and to honor Grant, not to generate criticism. I simply expressed MY experiences, MY feelings, MY beliefs. I have not dissed anyone else's comments, even when I felt some were surprisingly short and one-dimensional. I have showed respect by not being critical of others comments. Respect and tolerance is a two-way street.
I expressed my happiness that Grant and I shared a love for the Scriptures in the Bible. Why does that have to be perceived as threatening or arrogant or intolerant? As I said, Grant wanted everyone to figure out the road map for themselves. I have studied Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, the Sufis and other world religions in college a long time ago. I am currently reading "The Tao of Music". I work with many of my Jewish friends. I can assure you that I am not closed minded. The complaint of "imposing one's views down other's throats" is typical of the Postmodernist attitude, so it doesn't really bother me. I have not dissed anyone else's beliefs. I have only shared mine, just as Grant shared his beliefs with some people. Why does that have to be offensive? Is this just an excuse for censorship and intolerance for my viewpoints? Why haven't any Buddhists shared their feelings or beliefs. I welcome them, if they relate to how Grant impacted them. I'm not going to diss them. It is easy to criticize other peoples feelings, beliefs and engage in "ad hominem" attacks and then hide under the cover of anonymity. So I take it with a grain of salt.
I heard a lot of people complaining after Grant's memorial about Scripture being quoted. While I don't agree with the tenets of the JW's, I listened with respect and tolerance. Anyone who was offended was free to dishonor Grant's beliefs and his family by walking out. I would also have liked to have heard more about Grant as an educator too, but I didn't let my expectations spoil the reverence of the moment for Grant and his family. That would seem rather self-centered. I am sorry if some of "Grant's true friends" chose to feel offended that my comments of beliefs are "arrogant" or "intolerant". It seems to me that claiming that moniker also seems arrogant. Does tolerance only apply to the views you agree with? Should there be two separate columns of tributes on this website..."Grant's True Friends" and "Others". I wonder if Grant would have made that distinction. I doubt it. Grant honored everyone's feelings and beliefs. So why can't you follow his example and honor mine? Is there a double standard here? Some people feel better about themselves and their own self image if they criticize others. Grant was not that way.
Certainly I regret that I did not keep in contact with Grant. I am sure that there are many others who feel the same way. Does it accomplish anything to chastise others who didn't keep in contact? We all have different experiences and meanings to relationships. Yesterday I heard of another former student who had the same regret as me and was very grieved at the memorial. Why can't you appreciate the blessings you had by a more intimate and longer friendship with Grant, and at the same time respect and honor the grief and regret of those who were not close friends. Everyone was touched by Grant in different ways, some deeper than others. That should not diminish anyone's feeling or level of relationship with Grant. I thought the purpose of a forum was to allow for the expressions of different viewpoints. Apparently it only allows the viewpoints of "Grant's True Friends".
I tried to acknowledge Grant with a balanced perspective as an excellent educator, mentor, spiritual being. If I offended some people by doing that, I'm sorry. The first Amendment does not guarantee the right not to be offended. I did not carefully craft my comments in order to be politically correct. I am sure that Grant was not concerned about political correctness.
In my opinion, Grant exhibited the fruit of the Spirit described in Galatians 5:22... Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, Kindness,Goodness,Faithfulness,Gentleness, and Self-Control. Those qualities are not evident in the anonymous critical comments posted here. It's not too late to learn those lessons in the aftermath of Grant's passing.
-Dan Gutenkauf
Posted by: Dan Gutenkauf on September 5, 2002 04:29 PM

Interesting thread here. Certainly all people can express their opinions. Dan G. is correct in that the death of a dear one is always a wake up call of sorts. And many people would agree that some kind of spiritual path can be beneficial. But what is this throwing in the “Bible is the Ultimate Real Book” card? Remember the song "Fools Rush In"? To billions of people in the world, there are other great spiritual texts and guidebooks that equal, or surpass the Bible. You don’t need to try to make converts here. Since Dan "anticipated criticism", Dan knew that his attempts at evangelical proselytism were not appropriate, yet he forced the issue. Dan's posts remind many of us of one of Grant's favorite phrases: "DumbShit".

Some people will feel connected to Grant Wolf because of a common fondness for Biblical scriptures. That’s fine for them. It’s a common connection that certain people can grab on to. But if that is all you got out of the experience of knowing Grant Wolf, then you missed out on some seriously deep shit that was right in front of your face.

It is great that Grant found a path that had meaning for him and made him happy. But if you had really been around him, you’d know that Grant never hit on his existing friends with that Jehovah’s Witness or Bible stuff. Grant was very low key about his religion with his friends. He certainly didn’t go around throwing out unsolicited advertising like “the Bible is the Ultimate Real Book” to his students, friends, and co-workers. Trust me, that didn't happen.

Regarding Grant’s Memorial, Mr. Gutenkauf just doesn't have any real understanding of what happened there. As always - Ignorance is bliss, and the deaf hear no evil. "Let he who has ears..." is indeed a true and hip saying, but you gotta be open and AWARE, and not be brainwashed, to hear and see what is really happening.

Read this carefully, Dan: At that fraud of a memorial service, it was ONLY OUT OF RESPECT to Grant that HUNDREDS of Grant's closest friends didn’t go walking out in droves, or yell out in protest at the travesty that was being unleashed before their eyes. Instead, Grant's loyal friends and collegues clenched their teeth, brows, fists, and stomachs throughout the entire unsavory experience. That Grant's true friends and colleagues who were in very deep mourning and sadness were used (and abused) as a non-volunteer captive audience for the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ grossly inappropriate infomercial and recruiting drive was 100% a TRAVESTY of the highest order. It was the worst Hoax ever imaginable. Our friend deserved better than that. No one who knew the real Grant was allowed to speak. No music ????????? What the F. was that?????? Even some of Grant’s good friends who are very dedicated Christians were extremely dismayed by the proceedings. Perhaps Danny G. will someday be lucky enough to have his own funeral hijacked by a bunch of superstitious kooks. I hear that the Moonies want to get ahold of you, Dan.

For many people, a far more important touchstone than whatever was the book that the man read on Sundays, will always be the pure content of Grant’s character and the many cherished memories of our interactions with this great soul. No one should ever get the mistaken idea that only after Grant’s relatively late conversion to organized religion, did he become a man of great character and great substance, with many great accomplishments. Grant’s legacy was already securely in place three decades ago. Long before relgions and cults appeared on his horizon. Ladd McIntosh has written on this site that Grant was the most selfless person he ever knew. That Grant was supremely selfless is so true. He was ALWAYS that way, decade after decade after decade. Long before organized religion entered the picture, Grant’s life reflected a spiritual place of being. A true spiritual center that did not need the label of any particular group. In the 70s, 80s, 90’s, 00’s, Grant always embodied selflessness, caring, sensitivity, compassion, sharing, concern, generosity, among other virtues. People who have known Grant Wolf for a long time know that in both the pre- and post-Jehovah’s Witness eras, Grant was as good a soul as you would ever hope to meet on this earth. For a long time Grant’s only interest in “Witnesses” might have been Sam Butera’s band!

Long before his religious conversion, Grant always seemed to be connected to the spiritual realms in a way that transcended creed, sect, denomination, or any particular "holy book". When Grant was in what has been described as the classic “Grant Listening Mode” with face pointed upwards, ears on full sonar, eyes closed, Grant would be halfway present in the room, and yet also halfway in some higher, indefinable dimensions beyond this physical world. Grant was in tune with what Anthony Braxton calls the “higher partials” of music. Meaning the higher implications and metaphysical forces and dynamics that are put into motion in the universe through the production of musical sound vibrations. Much like John Coltrane’s stated purpose of wanting to make music that would heal the planet and benefit mankind.

Grant recently stated in an interview that his primary teaching was for his students to learn to think for themselves. He didn’t want students to just blindly follow the many other robotic Lemmings in this world who are programmed and brainwashed by the media, government, and religions on a daily basis. Grant did indeed want us all to find our “Roadmap”, but he wanted us to do the proper research ourselves and to find an individual path, not merely be force-fed the myths and propaganda handed down through the ages by the major power and control structures of the world. Grant’s wide open attitude and freedom of thought fostered an open, creative atmosphere at the school. Just a few of the books Grant recommended to students over the years were “Your Erroneous Zones”, “The Inner Game of Tennis”, “The Inner Game of Music”, “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”, as well as meditation handouts detailing how students could visualize blue colors to help achieve relaxation before a performance. Hardly dogma driven material! The M.C.C. bandroom back in the day was often the scene of student discussions ranging from vegetarianism to metaphysics to Eastern spiritual philosophies. Books by authors like Ram Dass, Krishnamurti, and Alan Watts made the rounds. A very free, open minded, and exploratory scene to be sure. Grant was pleased that it was a free thinking and creative atmosphere at M.C.C.

Nobody wanted to waste this space preaching the Bible here, or debating these issues. Guttenkauf insisted on bringing this shit up - more than once. Too bad Dan didn't take the hint the first time around. We actually hate having to blast his ass out of the water, but he asked for it. All you had to do was just be cool and not be a jerk. Yes, some of us choose to remain anonymous on this one subject - but you wouldn't understand that either, Dan.

Grant helped people by being fully in the moment, with his unimprisoned mind and a total attention to the present moment. A true “Be Here Now” man. It is very doubtful that any student ever experienced going up to Grant for help with a problem, be it musical or personal, and instead of his usual genuine thoughtfulness, caring, humor, and open minded in-the-moment attention to their situation, the student instead received some bogus clichéd Bible verses tossed out at them. Get a clue, Mister Gutenakauf.

Posted by: mister man on October 1, 2002 12:21 PM

Hey Dan: The fact that you have used the word "dissed" proves what a phony windbag you are. Who cares if people that didn't even know Grant think you are eloquent? I'm not hiding in anonymity am I Danny? What makes you think this is the place for you to express your 'beliefs?' Most offensive is your superior attitude - displaying some concept that you must teach us about life, and about what you are really saying, etc . . . this is about celebrating Grant - not blowing your own horn, jerk.
Posted by: Chris Campbell on October 1, 2002 07:42 PM

Dan G: "I posted my comments anticipating criticism, so it is no surprise to me". Translation: I knew I was being an A-Hole, but I went ahead and did it anyway.

posted by: DG's Evil Twin on October 1, 2002 08:27 PM


Hey, we vote for The Bhagavad Gita for the ultimate Real Book. How about The Life and Sayings of The Buddha, or The Foundations of Tibetan Mysticism, or the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, or The Tao Te Ching, or the Writings of Chuang Tzu, or The I-Ching, or The Way of Zen, or The Koran, or The Torah. Or how about this: Ultimate Real Book is the ability to escape from all of society's brainwashing attempts, and to reach a point where one can think for oneself and see things for what they truly are.
The Five Billion non-Christians on the Earth.

posted by: guest on October 1, 2002 09:01 PM


Ok, ok . . . I admit it. I am a total jackass. And, I'm also a pompous, idiotic, bowlegged, crossdresser. I couldn't swing if I was hanging from a tree. God bless you. To me, the "Big Man Upstairs", really is a big man upstairs, in a skirt, smoking a cigar . . . I hope he visits me later.
Posted by: Dan Gutenkaufed on October 2, 2002 11:15 AM


Posted by: Arthur Tuttman on October 3, 2002 01:20 AM


After reading the posting above and the following comments, it is interesting to note that Mr. Gutenkauf refers to himself and his "accomplishments" much more than he does to Grant, while Mister Man speaks only of Grant and never once refers to himself. The truly eloquent words here were written by Mister Man.
Posted by: Steve Millhouse on October 3, 2002 09:52 PM


And, the answer to the question: what is Dan?

A Simp, a Pimp, and a Wimp.

Posted by: Carnac The Magnificent on October 3, 2002 11:04 PM


Hey Carp Boy, Dig this Scripture.

from the TAO TE CHING:

Those who know do not talk.
Those who talk do not know.

He who makes a show is not enlightened.
He who is self righteous is not respected.
He who boasts achieves nothing.
He who brags will not endure.
To followers of the Tao,
These are extra food and unnecessary luggage.
They do not bring happiness.
Therefore followers of the Tao avoid them.

The Tao that can be told is not the real Tao.
The name that can be named is not the eternal name.
The nameless is the beginning of heaven and earth.
The named is the mother of ten thousand things.
Ever desireless, one can see the mystery.
Ever desiring, one can see the manifestations.
These two spring from the same source but differ in name; this also appears as darkness.
Darkness within darkness.
The gate to all mystery.

- posted by Lao Tsu, 600 B.C.E.

Yes Dan, the First Amendment is a wonderful thing. Other people are also freely allowed to respond en mass to a Shmuck.
Posted by: James Madison on October 4, 2002 02:14 PM


Dan Gutenkauf: Knock Knock
Grant: Who’s there?
Dan Gutenkauf: Dan Gutenkauf
Grant: Dan Gutenkauf who?
Dan Gutenkauf: Dan Gutenkauf who has a Christian CD, has progressed to a 6 string bass, and exposed computer voting fraud.
Grant: who?

Posted by: Confucius on October 8, 2002 06:33 PM

Hi Dan,
Personally, I think everybody is being a little bit rough on you. I do want to thank you for making me laugh the hardest I have laughed in years. There were several gut busting moments in your diatribe - only a couple I'll mention here. Did I understand you to say that Jack Radavich was both succinct and articulate??? OMG!! Woooooooooooooooo, good one! And, then did Jack actually say that “. . . it is important to treat people right in every situation." LOL Jesus Frigging Christ that is funny!!! MMMMuuuuuuaaahahahaha!!!! Thanks for the laughs Danny Boy, whoever you are. And, may you be lucky enough to be blessed by MY God.
Posted by: Marc Levy on October 8, 2002 06:47 PM

How nice it is of you to be willing to work with people of the Jewish faith, Dan.

Posted by: Shlomo Cohen on October 8, 2002 11:07 PM

Dan . . . Fairy dust.

Posted by: Patty Cakes on October 10, 2002 07:33 PM

C-c-c-can't we all just get along???

-Rodney King

Posted by: Rodney King on October 16, 2002 01:34 PM

Elephant Talk
Talk, it's only talk
Arguments, agreements, advice, answers,
Articulate announcements
It's only talk

Talk, it's only talk
Babble, burble, banter, bicker bicker bicker
Brouhaha, balderdash, ballyhoo
It's only talk
Back talk

Talk talk talk, it's only talk
Comments, cliches, commentary, controversy
Chatter, chit-chat, chit-chat, chit-chat,
Conversation, contradiction, criticism
It's only talk
Cheap talk

Talk, talk, it's only talk
Debates, discussions
These are words with a D this time
Dialog, duologue, diatribe,
Dissention, declamation
Double talk, double talk

Talk, talk, it's all talk
Too much talk
Small talk
Talk that trash
Expressions, editorials, explanations, exclamations, exaggerations
It's all talk
Elephant talk, elephant talk, elephant talk

Posted by: Adrian Belew on November 1, 2002 08:06 PM

Even after all this time Dan: Nobody can stand you.

Posted by: Dirty Sanchez on July 10, 2003 04:00 AM

A Song dedicated to Dan G. - from Bob Dylan

Idiot Wind
Blowin' every time you move your mouth.
Blowin' down the backroads heading south.
Idiot Wind
Blowin' every time you move your teeth.
You're an idiot, babe.
It's a wonder that you still know how to breathe.

- Bob Dylan

Posted by: Bob Dylan on November 17, 2003 05:37 PM



Very superstitious, nothin' more to say,
Very superstitious, the devil's on his way,
Thirteen month old baby, broke the lookin' glass,
Seven years of bad luck, good things in your past

When you believe in things that you don't understand,
Then you suffer,
Superstition ain't the way, no, no, no

- Stevie Wonder
P.S I love my new Braille computer!

Posted by: Stevie Wonder on November 17, 2003 06:28 PM

Jesus Freaks
Out in the street
Handing tickets out for God
Turning back, she just laughs
The boulevard is not that bad

Posted by: Elton John on November 20, 2003 09:24 AM

A Frank Zappa song custom written for Dan and his ilk. (Excerpts)


Get a clue, little shrew
Oh yeah, oh yeah
Jesus thinks you're a jerk

Did he really choose Tammy to do His Work?
Robertson says that he's The One
Oh sure he is,
if Armageddon
Is your idea of family fun,
An' he's got some planned for you!
(Now, tell me that ain't true)

Perhaps it's their idea
Of an Affirmative Action Plan
To give White Trash a 'special break';
Well, they took those Jeezo-bucks and ran
To the bank! To the bank! To the bank! To the bank!
And every night we can hear them thank
Their Buddy, up above
For sending down his love
(While you all smell the glove)

And if you don't know by now,
The truth of what I'm tellin' you,
Then, surely I have failed somehow --

And Jesus will think I'm a jerk, just like you –
If you let those TV Preachers
Make a monkey out of you!

I said:
"Jesus will think you're a jerk"
And it will be true!

Posted by: Frank Zappa on February 3, 2004 10:01 AM

- Charles Mingus and Joni Mitchell

Posted by: Charles Mingus on February 9, 2004 10:36 PM

"Among other causes of misfortune
which your not being armed brings upon you,
it makes you despised..."

Posted by: Niccolo Machiavelli on February 17, 2004 07:34 AM

A Parable - from the Ultimate Real Book.
A self absorbed man named Dan, who was paying attention only to the thoughts in his head, had wandered into a dangerous mine field. Because the Dan-ster wore dark blinders, and through his headphones heard only the sound of his christian CD playing, he was totally unaware of the danger he was tromping into. Just then, Dan was warned by a helpful onlooker about the danger that lay ahead. The onlooker shouted,"Turn back, turn back. You are in error, and your path leads to great danger." "Take off your blinders and see what is happening." But Dan was full of the self-confidence of those who feel great religious superiority, and so Dan knew that he alone was walking on the only true and worthy righteous path. He continued onward, blissfully unaware, into the mine field, even thus increasing his pace. BLAAAAAAMMMMMMMMM!!!!! Th-Th-Th-Th-That's all, folks.

Posted by: guest on February 20, 2004 05:26 PM

In all sincerity Dan, I realize your mental disabilities have really made it tough for you. And, for you to actually master the "QUERTY" keyboard, considering your immeasurably small amount of musical talent, not to mention similarly lacking erogenous zones, is nothing short of a feat. You're kind of a "Rainman" of sorts for all of us to bask and bloom under the tutelage of. All that said, don't quote me anymore. Please cease and desist immediately. And remember, my other books can be purchased at
Thank you,
Dr. Wayne Dyer
Posted by: Dr. Wayne Dyer on February 27, 2004 11:55 AM


Great Holy Real Book, Batman! Where to even start with this guy? The Bible as the ultimate Real Book? Are you freaking kidding me, D.G.? Come on, man - that's more like the ultimate mother of all CORNY, uninformed statements from someone who didn't even know Grant for the last 17 years. Just like you, the cornball minister at the Theater Outback Memorial obviously barely knew the real Grant Wolf. You two guys both missed the damn boat by a country mile. Dan's Bible thumping and preaching is not needed here. Instead of researching voter fraud, Dan would do well to research the historical truth (and fraud) of how so many very fallible and mortal human beings and church propogandists have hacked together your Bible over the years. What about all those chapters that were censorsed and thrown out by the church's propoganda department over the years? Many poorly trained translators built new versions on top of many previous inaccurate translations, which were built upon 9th hand accounts that were hundreds of years removed from the actual events. Existing myths and legends from those olden times were borrowed and worked into the stories to build up a cross cultural appeal. King James made his revision team of 50 men work according to his personal guidelines for how he wanted the project to come out. Then Sir Francis Bacon rewrote the entire thing into Shakespearean iambic pentameter to please King James. If you only knew how far your "Ultimate Real Book" is now removed from the original words and meanings... How "ultimate" can such a document really be? The myth that a badly constructed, badly translated, badly revised collection of books is the "word of god" is the biggest fraud ever.

How did one of the Catholic Popes weigh in on this subject?
"How well we know what a profitable superstition this fable of Christ has been for us." - Pope Leo X (1513-1521)

Posted by: Constantine on March 5, 2004 02:14 PM




from Chuck Lloyd

Aug., 21, 2002

It is six in the evening and I have stopped my regular practice session to write a short note about Grant Wolf. Grant taught me private saxophone lessons in the late 1970’s. I owe a great deal to Grant. He encouraged my efforts on the saxophone and this has had a major impact on my entire life. Grant Wolf is a special man, teacher, and musician. I hope the following helps during this time of grief. I have not had much contact with Grant during the last 20 years, although my time as his student changed the direction of my life. Grant has played a major role my development as a person, teacher, and musician.

My first experience with Jazz improv was during a lunch time concert while I was playing bari sax in Grants’ big band during NAU summer music camp. He would not warn us who was to play a solo. I remember him pointing to me, in front of the camp lunchtime crowd, and yelled play! I blew and it was fun. One time Grant called my father, Joe Lloyd, and asked if I was going to learn how to play my horn or not. He was tired of my laziness. I decided to become a player.

I earned a Jazz performance degree from ASU. During my college years I remember hanging around Chuys club in Tempe, on Monday nights, hoping that a sax player would be missing from Grant's Monday night reading band. A few times I was asked to sit in and I had a blast. I began working as a player around the Tempe area. Often Grant would also be on the gig. The thrill of playing tenor next to Grant playing bari was intense. One summer I played a show in Flagstaff and Grant was on the gig. Grant Wolf was on one side of me and Lad Macintosh was on the other. It was hard to keep my attention on playing my parts with those two pulling gags on each other during the show. I always enjoyed playing in a band with Grant.

I have had a varied career as a musician/teacher. Grant taught me how to become a musician, improvise, and have fun. I have thought about him often. My saxophone has taken me to LA, Caribbean Cruise Ship gig, Arizona Jazz/Blues Club Gigs, English pub Gigs, Northern India gigs, and recently to Oxford, England. I am now the Director of the South Oxfordshire Music Centre and a local woodwinds teacher in the Oxford area. I have loved my career as a musician and use much of what Grant taught me in my own teaching...... especially the idea of having fun with other people through music. A few years ago I had the privilege of playing tenor in a saxophone quartet with Grant playing bari(NAU Summer Music Camp). It was a gas!!

Grant is a special person to many of us who paid our dues in the Tempe area.
I love him dearly and respect him greatly.

God Bless
Chuck Lloyd

I have to get back to practising.

Posted by Jeff Papineau at 12:33 AM




from Victor Mendoza

I was first introduced to Grant via his father, Dr. Don Wolf, with who I had the great honor of studying. So by the time I got to hang around Grant, I had a pretty good idea of what type of man I was dealing with- And just like his father, he listened intently to every word anyone said and was not ready to put up with B.S.

I was not as fortunate as many to have been around Grant for a long time, but the "lessons" linger and perhaps the most important one for me was having "discipline with patience." He taught me the first voicings on piano, always kept a sense of humor with some of my screw-ups because he saw I was really trying to learn, and he never stopped encouraging me. I always felt respect from him, even when he got a little cynical (specially if I played too many notes!). I'll never forget when he said to me in class after I over-played on a tune..."Damn Victor!, you just played every possible scale over that chord on that one measure, good thing it's a ballad!"

I've always thought that he was one teacher that never gave me the fish, but taught me to fish. I will really miss him.

Victor Mendoza
Berklee College of Music




from Jerry Linderman

I'm so saddened and shocked by the loss of
Grant as I know all of you are. Grant will always be a shining light and an example of
what we can be as musicians and human beings. This man was rare and gifted beyond
most of us. I was about 45 yrs old when I auditioned for the Monday nite band and was
thrilled to get a chair in the trumpet section.
I t gave me about 8 yrs of playing I'll never forget. I got to play with some of the best players in these parts. I miss them and love them all. Thanks to Grant and the band.
I'm retired but still active playing around the Prescott area. Thank you Grant Wolf for the opportunity
of a wonderful life experience I'll never forget.
Peace and Love Jerry Linderman




from Phil Harris

So, the first thing to say is I still use the word "man" after just about every sentence! Thanks Grant!
Well, I see Joe Lloyd posted here. He was the one that initially taught me to suck on a reed and blow. But since Pop's office was 2 doors down from Grant, heheh~It was private lesson time! I was a fat little kid standing next to a giant with long hair, and a demeanor that defied explaination. After about 10 years of weekly learning more about music, life and how to be cool~I ended up sitting first chair clarinet at NAU music camp with Ralston Pitts as director. Man, could you have better musical mentors? Also had some great experiences with Grant's dad in the cool pines of Flagstaff! And I will never forget the time I didn't practice that week. Got the "We are both wasting our time here Philip" lecture. I remember that little chit-chat drove that eleven year to tears. He came into the restroom where I retreated to, said he was sorry and passed me a hanky. Then lobbed out a typical sorted Grant remark. We laughed and it was back to lesson time. I never went a day after that without at least an hour on the horn. Well Grant, even though I haven't run into you in years, Dad has kept me up with life at MCC and your goings on. Why is it that the good seem to go first? Maybe because their art and talent are needed in the next life. I also have you to thank for the "no cursive, print handwriting with the accentuated and very flowery first letter of the sentence" writing!
Miss you man...

Posted by Phil Harris at August 26, 2002 08:41 PM




The Ballgame, Even More Lights Out, Victory! - more Steve Marsh memories.

Hi everybody! 'Scuse me for crowding the floor with another entry, but as the memories come flooding back with alternating laughter and tears, I've remembered some other very FUNNY and CLASSIC Grant moments that just have to be shared with y'all.

It's been great visiting this site and seeing the heartfelt words and memories of so many old friends and teachers. There's a lot of real love here and it's a genuine tribute to Grant, as Jeff and Jim Henry intended. Thanks to everyone for contributing!

At the BallGame!

Sometime around the mid-80's we had a sax quartet with Grant, Bill Lieske, Jerry Donato, and myself. Grant or Bill had a nice quartet book of both jazz stuff and classical pieces. Also some Ragtime arrangements which turned out to be perfect for the gig I'm going to tell you about later. As has been noted elsewhere, Grant especially liked playing his soprano sax, and he led our quartet from the soprano chair. Grant seemed to really enjoy playing the quartets and blew his vintage sop sax with nice control and luscious tone production. Oh yes, Grant could play the 'Fish-Horn'! As always, it was a real
pleasure for the rest of us to hear Grant play because his very full teaching schedule didn't allow to him much time for his own playing. I remember we performed a concert playing the "Hollywood Sax Quartet" arrangements of standards with a rhythm section. Each sax man was also featured alone on a tune with the rhythm section. Grant played a Gerry Mulligan tune that we also played in Nite Band. That was a good show.

But the most fun the sax quartet ever had was when we once played at a Phoenix Giants baseball game. We showed up at the ballpark with saxes and music stands in hand. These were soon also accompanied by Beers in hand! (naturally!)
I seem to remember that we played seated from somewhere midway up in the stands. Some of the fans looked pretty bewildered by what we were doing, but some of them seemed to dig it. I guess we played some pre-game music and then we played when the teams were switching on the field. And then IT happened...
Suddenly, a foul ball was hit up towards our direction and a little off to the side. Immediately Grant jumps up and gives chase to the ball which has bounced hard off of some concrete steps and is now ricocheting around wildly. The rest of us in the quartet are momentarily stunned by what was happening. Oh Lordy, I wish all of you could have seen this pack of little kids with their Little League caps and gloves on, scrambling around for this baseball, joined by this one very tall dude running really fast with his greyish ponytail flapping around behind him, still carrying his silver soprano sax like a harpoon. Oh man, we fell out big time! I'm talkin' about we laughed our asses off! I'm just glad no youngsters were trampeled on by the tall dude. You know that Grant did everything 100% and he looked to be pretty damn serious about getting to that baseball!

This same scene repeated itself a couple more times during the game, whenever a foul ball was hit anywhere near our location. But the kids always got to the baseballs before Grant did. Grant would return to our little group laughing to himself. "Huh, huh, huh, huh" (the Grant Laugh) I'm sure if Grant had retrieved a ball, he would have turned and given it to one of the kids. Grant was just up for a sports challenge that day!
I remember also that whenever either of the teams changed their pitcher, Grant had us play our arrangement of "The Poet and the Peasant". That was really funny to us for some reason that I don't now remember.

Somehow we hadn't realized that we would be called upon to play "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" for the seventh inning stretch. We didn't happen to be carrying an arrangement of that tune. No matter! As Bird said, "Now's the Time". To lead the seventh inning stretch song, four somewhat sudsy sax players scampered atop one of the dugout roofs, Jerry struggling a bit with the
big Baritone. (Now we're really in front of the entire crowd for the first time all game.) Grant cues a downbeat and we're into it. A spontaneous arrangement, of course. Not wanting to be boring, we're improvising counter lines and variations before the first four bars is completed. It was wild! Bill is going like Ornette Coleman over there. I don't know what I was doing. (Probably totally lost!) I think our rendition came across like "The Dukes of Dixieland meet the Art Ensemble of Chicago." A few ballplayers got up and looked over the top of their dugout to see what in the world was making all the racket. Two choruses and out. Now we've REALLY super-bewildered these poor sportsfans and we climb back off of the dugout to slight, make that very slight applause. That was a really fun day!

Even More Lights Out!

You've seen several Grant "Lights Out" stories. Here's another one: During my M.C.C. days, our sax section would sometimes have to learn difficult soli sections. One year Grant had the sax section play Trane's solos on "Moment's Notice" and "LazyBird", all in unison. Another year, Grant had harmonized a very tricky Joe Farrell solo ("Humpty Dumpty") for four tenor saxes! On that one, I had the lead part which was the easiest of the four parts, but still quite challenging for me. The guys playing the inner parts had some real serious finger busting passages to deal with, especially Ricky Samaniego, who was
stuck playing all these fast, intricate parts all way down in the basement of the tenor. Seriously hard! In both of these years, the sax sections spent a lot of time rehearsing these soli parts as a section together, either with Grant present or not. But you never knew when Grant would show up, even if we thought we were practicing on our own time. We'd be working away at it, and Grant who'd been prowling the M.C.C. halls, would pop in. "Play that last eight bars again". We'd play it. "OK, try it with the lights out". If we collectively knew it well enough from memory, fine. If not, Grant would often lead us through the piece two or four bars at a time, first giving us a few shots at it with the lights on, then it was "lights out" time. To see if the cats really know it 'cold'. Grant knew that our best performances would come if had really memorized and internalized the material. He was big on having students internalize the music. Be it melodies, chord changes, transcribed solos, or rhythms.
So eventually after a lot of work, we would get all nine hundred notes (or how ever many) memorized, be able to do it "lights Out", and that meant we'd be able to 'burn' on the concert. "Lights out" is a good technique. Grant sometimes also utilized the "OK, turn your music over" or "turn your stands around" techniques which both had the same effect of forcing the
memorization to happen.


One more short story: The year was 1981. That day in Santa Monica, we had already played our concert for the finals of the Playboy Jazz Festival College Band competition at the Mayfair Music Hall. After us, the other finalist bands were playing their concerts. We wouldn't know the judges' results until every band had played. After listening to several California bands and realizing they all mostly sounded the same, I wandered off with some of our band members to check out the Third Street Promenade and look at some California girls. By the time we returned, apparently everything had been decided. As we approached the front entrance of the theater, Grant came like busting out of the door with a huge smile on his face. I asked "what happened?" He walked over to me laughing the Grant laugh, "Huh, huh, huh". Grant didn't say anything. He merely poured an entire cold beer down the front of my shirt and then hugged me. Evidently we had won the contest! We would be opening up the Playboy Festival at the Hollywood Bowl in a month, on the same bill with Weather Report, Art Blakey (with Wynton Marsalis), Stan Getz, and a bunch of other greats. We had beaten all the huge four year Universities whose annual band department budgets were probably a hundred times what Grant had to work with.

We were happy for ourselves, but we were very happy for Grant, too. Our victory proved to those in the Western United States who didn't already know: that Grant Wolf had a KILLER jazz program at little Mesa Community College in Arizona. Our 1981 victory in a sense validated all the great work that Grant, Don Bothwell, Roger Harris, and all the other teachers had been doing at M.C.C. for a very long time.
Now days, I'm in Santa Moncia fairly regularly and sometimes I have some errand that has me walking by the old Mayfair Music Hall, which has been boarded up for years. I look up and remember an unforgettable day in 1981. Grant was really "sumthin' else."

Grant was, and still is, the greatest. He's not really gone. Rather, he is still with us in loving spirit, in our memories, in our hearts, in our teaching, in our
performances, and whenever we listen to music. Grant, I miss you, man. (Yeah, Phil, I say the "man" thing too, also thanks to Grant.)

We will see Grant again sometime in the Big Rehearsal Band out there...Beyond the Beyond.

Later, Steve Marsh

Not me man. I never say man man. I mean like "man" was like so sixties man. Really man, you mean to tell me man, that cats are still saying man in 2002 man. Man, what a trip man. Far out man.
( the preceding message message was brought to you by jazz musicians and old hippies everywhere who will continue to say "man" no matter how much you ridicule us, man. Really man, we mean it.)

Posted by: Jim Henry on August 29, 2002 12:35 PM

Oh man, that "old hippie" thing really hurt.

Posted by: Bill Lieske on September 3, 2002 07:53 PM




August 30, 2002
"Hippies on the Highway" by Jim Kass

Here's a gem that's been rattled loose from reading the other classic Wolf-isms.

As part of the great MCC Jazz Ensemble 1 of 1979-80, a.k.a. Ginders Garden of Jazz (don't ask), we had the dubious distinction of taking a musical run for the border to Nogales, AZ, thriving music hub of the southern-Arizona-low-density-culturally-starved-buy-anything-you-can-carry-for-less corner of the Western World. We exploded onto the scene with a couple of concerts at some public schools down there, and left such an indellible impression that people are still forgetting we were ever there to this day.

Well, the real fun started on the way back to Mesa. As I recall, our lead alto-saxophonist David Stocker was driving our rented van, and we were a few miles behind the other van being driven by Grant. We were just south of Green Valley, a town that is distinguished by having no distinguishing landmarks. David's cruising along in the evening and we're all tired and just kind of veggin' out, when all of the sudden we are startled and somewhat unnerved by the WHACK!-rattle-rattle-clang-a-lang


of our entire drive train shutting down. After a few choice epithets from some of the more linguistically colorful members of the band, David rolls the van to a stop at the side of the road, right there in the middle of the Sonoran desert. (Coincidently, the same well-traveled road used by couriers of illegal drugs, illegal aliens and stolen vehicles--in short, a great place to be stranded at 6:30 in the evening on a Sunday night.)

We all pile out and look under the van to see a gaping hole in the bell housing, and curiously enough, absolutely no transmission fluid anywhere in sight. Apparently, the dealer from whom the van was rented decided we would have more fun if we drove the van dry, which resulted in a decent-sized chunk of the tranny breaking off and hurling through the metal like an armour-piercing bullet. Faced with a long night alone, some of the more daring among us decided to hoof it a couple of miles to the nearest phone while the others waited at the van.

Starting to get bored, we decided to pull out our horns and start playing. Jim Henry grabbed some congas, I had my trumpet, and others took whatever instruments could be found stuffed under the seats and we started jammin' on the side of the road, playing for the puzzlement of passers-by. Of course, none of them stopped to help; would you? Envision a group of college kids adorned with long hair, dashikis, Berkies, beads, and Nehru jackets, playing some avant-guard-pseudo-jungle weirdness with horns and African percussion in the middle of nowhere. The sound alone probably scared away any sensible drug smugglers or coyotes that might have considered the opportunity of overtaking our motley crew.

Well, eventually, the forward scouts managed to find a phone and contact Grant, who after driving one van full of kids home for 3 hours, turned right around to come back to pick us all up and do the whole thing again. He was pretty tired, but he really wasn't all that upset, and was indicative of the kind of selfless attitude he always had for us. Doing what needed to be done, however inconvenient, and moving on to the next, hopefully brighter, day. Grant was always on the lookout for opportunities for us to play, resulting in some memorible and sometimes comical experiences; experiences that would allow us to make it through the occasional bad gig as professionals with good humor in our hearts, if not smiles on our faces.

James "Kid Flash" Kass

Posted by guest at 11:21 PM | Comments (1)




September 05, 2002 From Dick Weller

Jeff, thank you for putting together this site. It’s very nice to see some old familiar names on the list of people leaving messages – including Dave Findley, Chris Armstrong, Denny Monce, Joe Lloyd, Keith Miles, Bob Washut & of course Fred Forney & Ladd McIntosh, among others. Grant really touched a lot of lives. He was a mentor and friend – really one of my most favorite people ever. I was always completely stoked whenever I had an opportunity to work or hang with Grant – he has been one of my strongest influences, and will continue to be in the time ahead. I think I’m going to miss him more, not less, for quite some time.

So, a few stories, before I forget them (and apologies if anyone takes offense):

In 1977-78, the Mesa band played the Reno Jazz Festival. We all piled on a big bus, and headed up there. We stopped to play at a high school on the way (Grant would always find ways to squeeze in another performance, if possible) – maybe in Flagstaff? Anyway, we get all set up, and Chris Armstrong, David Bohn, Jim Carnelli and I start freaking out. No drum charts anywhere. We look and look and look and they’re just not there. Well, it turned out the book never made it onto the bus, and of course nobody knew what the hell had happened. Well, Grant turned into Darth Vader, and the Stars Wars movie wasn’t even out yet. After a while he just stood there in front of the band while we’re getting set up, pulling on his mustache and frying us with intermittent death gazes. One of the charts we were supposed to play was “The Avenging Angel and Ichabod Crane” by Ladd McIntosh, - about 20 pages long with lots of style and meter changes. Having to play that piece without a chart filled me with a real sense of impending doom. After I hacked my way through “Lazybird” without a chart Grant just looked straight ahead, then pulled “Ichabod” from the performance.

Anyway, Grant was dark for the rest of tour, responding in monosyllables and pretty much keeping to himself. I don’t even remember if we performed in Reno, but I know we were irretrievably in the dog house. Now, the usual drill on the return bus journey was to sit in the back and drink beers. Well, Grant wasn’t going to have any of that, this time around. As punishment, no beer stop. He just sat in the front of the bus, silent and grim. Finally, he had the bus pull into this McDonalds, on a deserted stretch of highway, and said “15 Minutes,” then got out of the bus. Everybody piled after him and ran into the McDonalds, to make sure they got to eat. Now Jim Carnelli, David Bohn and I had seen a 7-11 or something, a couple miles back down the road. So we had a quick conference and started running. We made it to the store, bought a case or two, and started running back up the side of the freeway with the cases. We could see the bus way far away – “C’mon man – hurry up! Can you see anybody getting on? Hurry!” Fortunately for us, Grant was still sitting there eating when we puffed back up to bus, dusty, sweaty and out of breath. We threw the beer into the back of the bus. To Grant’s credit, when he got back on the bus he never bothered us, although I’m certain he must have figured out we had managed to get some beer. Knowing Grant, he probably admired our resourcefulness, after he decided not to kill us.

Grant got dared into sucking down a bunch of helium from a balloon in the bandroom once. That was probably the most hysterical thing I’ve ever heard – Grant Wolf talking on helium, then gasping and saying “My voice won’t go back down, my voice won’t go back down!” He’d sucked down a lot of helium, it had frozen his vocals cords up high.

Grant came to one of our parties once, and caught one of the percussion players out in the backyard smoking pot. The guy got freaked, and said “You’re not going to bust us, are you?” Grant just looked at him and said “Do you think I’m going to bust you?” So then this guy challenged Grant. “OK, do you want a hit?” Silence from Grant. “Are you afraid?” Grant: “Do you think I’m afraid?” and so on. Grant finally took a hit, and received a round of cheers. Then of course, they wanted him to smoke more, but Grant just said “No thanks, that’s enough,” and went back into the house.

I used to hang at the Village Inn, both when my brother played in the Night Band and then later when Chris Armstrong and I played in it. We’d always drink beer and eat pizza. Well, I was sitting at the table with Grant and some friends, when the pizza showed up. I took a piece and put it on my plate, but by then I’d had a few beers so I excused myself and went to use the bathroom. When I got back, I started pounding down my pizza and drinking more beer. Grant look at me and said “Pizza OK, Dickie?” I said “Yeah! It’s great!” Grant smiled. Then I noticed that the roof of my mouth was on fire, and this wicked burning sensation was climbing down my throat. I pounded some beer, but it didn’t help much. I looked at my pizza – Grant had smothered it in those red pepper flakes you always find on the table at pizza parlors. After a few more attempts to cool the fire with beer Grant laughed and said “You’d better get some water.”

Now fast forward several years later to New York, sometime in the late eighties or early nineties. Grant and Bob Washut had been attending an IAJE conference (I think) in Washington, D.C. – and had come up to New York to hang for a couple days. I ran us around the clubs one evening, with another student of Grant’s. First stop, the Blue Note to see Kenny Wheeler, I think. After that we started cruising to different clubs, including the Vanguard. Grant and Bob were wearing light clothing, and it was cold in NYC – there was snow on the ground. After we piled out of the Vanguard, Bob and Grant were starting to hold their arms in front of them, because it was so cold. At one point, someone said “Maybe we should just call it and go back to the hotel.” Grant looked up and said “Hell no, I’ve been wanting to do this for years,” and started jaywalking across 7th Avenue South. So we headed over to Bradleys, a piano bar. It was late, but the music went till 3:00 a.m. or so. We went to the bar and ordered up. We’d all had a few by this time. I went back to use the restroom, and then came back to the bar. I upended my drink, then I gagged it back out, partially back into the glass and partly onto the bar, eliciting several stares. Grant said “Drink OK, Dickie?” Then I looked and saw that someone had filed my drink up with those cocktail onions they keep at the bar (right next to the cherries & olives). I put the drink down and we started laughing. The next day when I showed up at Bob & Grant’s hotel, Grant had set a chair out in the middle of the floor with two pillows on either side of it, for me to sit in. “The pillows are just in case you have a little trouble staying in the chair.”

After that, quite a few years went by. I moved to LA. I was playing with Bob Florence’s band at IAJE in LA, and after the performance heard a low voice from the front of the stage – “Hey Dickie!” It was Grant. I ran down and gave him a big hug. I’ve always been delighted whenever I run into Grant. We hung a little that night, and had lunch together the next day. Grant had been dealing with his illness by then, so we talked about that. I subsequently went over to MCC a few times, for a concert & 2 clinics, and felt very honored Grant had thought enough of me to ask me to come and judge at the festival.

One of the bands performing at the festival had a lady bandleader running it who was very well endowed. I couldn’t help noticing that she had all the boys’ complete attention while she conducted the band (as well as my own). The usual drill was for Trey Henry, Dan Haerle and I to talk on a tape & write down our comments about the performance, then go up and coach the band. After their performance, the three of us turned around to go up to work with the band. Fred Forni and Grant were sitting behind us. Grant was wearing a loose fitting T-shirt. As we turned, Grant grabbed the front of his t-shirt with both hands, right by his nipples, and pulled his t-shirt up and out as far as it would go. Then he let go and just sat there and it looked he had two large flabby boobs just deflating. I was completely cracking up while walking up to the band, they probably thought I was a little nuts. I still laugh when I think about that. Grant knew exactly what was going through all our minds.

I’m sure there’s other things I’ll think of as time goes by, which perhaps I’ll be able to put in writing on this site. I can’t say enough about the influence Grant had on me.

Thanks Grant, for everything. For making so much stuff happen behind the scenes, and doing all the legwork that’s required to get things like jazz festivals and tours, etc. up and running. For making all the calls and wrangling with the bureaucrats to secure the bread to make it happen, etc., and for being such an inspiration to me all these years. You’re the best. One of my wishes will be to get a chance to see you again, after I’ve departed this earth as well. – your friend, Dick

------------ COMMENTS:
Three things boys,
1. Only one at a time
2. Roll'em small
3. If you dont know how to roll'em small, come up front and I'll show you.

Posted by: David Findley on September 5, 2002 09:27 PM




September 06, 2002
Ode to a Father and Grandfather

From Tiffany Wolf (Fisher)
I have started to begin this letter many times and haven’t been able to bring myself to do it until now.

First, let me tell you how wonderful it was to see everyone at the memorial and to hear from those who couldn’t make it. The web site has been a life line for me the last few weeks. So many wonderful, touching and funny stories about the other side of my father that I really didn’t know.

My contribution to this will be my feelings of being Grant’s oldest daughter. Born to him at the tender age of 19, he had to grow up a little faster than most of his friends. Or at least that is what I thought. After hearing many stories about the parties at our house until the wee hours in the morning with many people just staying and sleeping on the floor. Or how just about everyone at ASC (NAU at the time) baby-sat me at one time or another to help my parents out.

He was very proud of his position at MCC. I remember the first football games with the sheep adding vocals to the performance and that smell. WOW. I too, like Phillip and many others, had my clarinet lesson every week. All of you got to go home after the “you are wasting my time” speech, but I had to eat dinner with the man right afterwards. Needless to say some evenings were a little quite around our house. The first time he gave me the clarinet (remember I was to be the 4th generation clarinet player in our family), I passed out cold. After awakening, the only thing he said was “We’ve got a lot of work to do kid”.

As time passed, probably my most memorable moments are playing the clarinet under his or my grandfather’s direction. It is very special to be able to participate in their passion of playing beautiful music. Difficult at times, but special. Then there are the twirling adventures. Every year from about the time I was 9, I was featured with the marching Thunderbirds. My senior year I was asked to go on band tour with the group to California. What an experience that times I think he wished he had never taken me. The corruption began and another “Wolf” was born.

Many things I remember about growing up with Dad. He was always jamming at the piano. I remember hearing the MCC band at the Playboy Jazz Festival, the many marching band performances, the night Bud Brisbois died (Dad was so deeply hurt), when our VW was pushed through the front door of Chuy’s, summers in Sedona and fishing for trout, NAU music camp when I was finally old enough to experience the LQ, and him walking me down the isle at my 1st wedding and saying “let’s just turn around and leave” - once again I should have listened. Also the trio’s we would play with grandfather, and most of all the great big hugs he always gave.

Proud isn’t even enough to describe how I felt about my father. He was and will always will be an incredible person. Always thinking of others before himself. We couldn’t go anywhere - even out of state - without someone saying “Hey Grant, how’s it hanging”. We all know his professional achievements, but his personal ones were great too. He has raised four loving, compassionate, musical children. He was always there to lend a hand, help in times of trouble or just to listen and observe. I think of all the guys who wanted to date me that were too scared to face Mr. Wolf. They never knew that deep down inside was the kindest, most tender man I have ever met.

I want to share a funny story. One night after coming home after my curfew I was trying to sneak into the house on Outrigger. Some of you will remember the cow bells hanging behind the front door so that every time you opened it, a loud jingle would be heard. Well the house was dark and I thought I would be home free. Got in the door without making the bells hardly jingle. It looked as if I was going to make it, when out of the dark came that deep voice. “Do you know what time it is?” I could only tremble in place. Busted! Of course I had been drinking a few beers - that was not good. So the next morning very, very early he came in with a pitcher of cold water and said “It’s Miller Time” and proceeded to dump the water all over me. As if that wasn’t enough - he made me clean the entire pool with a hang over. Believe me, that was the last time I was ever late!!!

Grant was also a grandfather. The night Laura was born he drove up to Flagstaff at 10:00 p.m. just to see her. He loved my girls with the same passion that he loved anything that made him smile. Every summer was filled with spending time with him. The girls could always make him laugh that funky HA, HA, HA. He would let Susan do his hair and makeup - which was very becoming of him I might add. Both girls had a special bond with him, but Susan and him were tight. They would sit for hours and just stare at one another or just hang. Both of my girls will always think the world of Grandpa Grant. I am proud to say that my oldest daughter will continue the legacy.... she has begun to play the clainet in her school band.

The last few months have been very difficult for my family. David’s death was a heartbreak to all of us. My father took it especially hard. In January I flew out to spend five beautiful days with my father. Just he and I. We went to Fountain Hills, the Salt River, and ate at his favorite restaurants. We talked and talked for hours - something we hadn’t been able to do much of since I moved to the south 10 years ago. I will always cherish that time with him to reminisce and share life.

This time when I came home I had to say goodbye to a man that I loved so dearly and who I thought would be there to see my own girls get married. I enjoyed putting together the photos to share with all of you at the memorial. Some funny, others very painful. I know he will never be forgotten - his legacy lives on in me, Heather, Emily, Parker and his two grandchildren. If I had a million dollars I would build a building in his memory at MCC, but we have set up an endowment in his name instead. “The Grant Wolf Memorial Music Scholarship” will help some music student every year to achieve their dreams. Dad would have done that for every student he had. So, I will ensure that it will continue that way at MCC. If you want to make a donation, send it to

Mesa Community College
Grant Wolf Memorial Music Scholarship
c/o Fred Forney, Music Department
1833 W. Southern Avenue
Mesa, AZ 85202

Please make contributions payable to : Maricopa College’s Foundation
Please note on the memo portion: Grant Wolf Memorial Music Fund

All of us are grieving for a loss that has touched us deeply. After losing my uncle and my father in 8 months I have become a true believer of doing and saying everything to those who are special in your life right now, because you just never know when your time is up. Thank you for remembering us girls, Kim, Parker and Emily in your thoughts and prayers. Please remember my grandparents, Dr. Donald & Helen Wolf. They have buried both of their children in the last few months and are grieving very hard. After all without them we would have never had Grant.

On a happier note, rest assure that Dad and David are having a giant jam session in heaven, fighting over whether they will be playing Count Bassie or Mozart on the stereo. And who knows, maybe even drinking a few beers.


Tiffany (Wolf) Fisher

P.S. I remember a piece that dad wrote called “Tiffany Eyes” (I think). If anyone knows about this or has a tape of it, I would love to have it. You can e-mail me at

Posted by guest at 02:25 PM | Comments (1)

Comments: Tiffany, thank you so much for sharing your very special insights, memories, and beautiful feelings about your Father here. May your family find some peace in knowing how much good your Dad did in the world, and how very many people he touched with his caring ways.
You and your siblings have a great big extended family of people who loved Grant. Don't hesitate to reach out for help.
God Bless You.

Posted by: one of Grant's students for life - on September 8, 2002 10:37 PM




October 08, 2002
Quote from "Illusions"

I am reminded of a few comforting lines from a delightful little gem of a book, "Illusions" by Richard Bach. Quick read, nice story, sort of a 'Metaphysics Lite'.

"Don't be dismayed at good-byes. A farewell is necessary before you can meet again. And meeting again, after moments or lifetimes, is certain for those who are friends."

"What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly."

steven marsh

Posted by guest at 11:16 PM | Comments (2)

One of my favorite quotes is also from a Richard Bach book.(his kids book-"there's no such place as far away")
"not being known doesn't stop the truth from being true"

or,as a good friend of mine is fond of saying;
"when we open our mouths we set traps for ourselves"

"the thing is not the word and the word is not the thing"
-Alan Watts-

Here's to the greatest Zen master I have ever known who was not a Zen master.

One Love,

Posted by: Jim Henry on October 10, 2002 08:49 PM




November 08, 2002
eyesofmoon wishes you well Kim and Family

If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life. For life and death are as one, even as the river and the sea are one. In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond; and like seeds dreaming beneath the snow, your heart dreams of spring. Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity. For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun? And what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and see God unencumbered? Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing. And when you have reached the mountain top then you shall begin to climb. When the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance. (from "The Prophet", by Kahlil Gibran...

Posted by guest at 07:10 AM | Comments (1)

Comments: Eyes of WHO...???


December 14, 2002
Xmas Times Past at Chuys

Remembering Holidays Past...

With the holidays upon us, this flashback from many years ago at Chuys surfaced:
Do you Night Band cats remember when trombonist Chuck Jenkins around Christmas time used to bring in his VERY POTENT Bourbon Balls and Rum Balls to the Monday Night Band gig at Chuys? Yep, it was a jolly old December tradition that ocurred annually. And sometimes Ricky Samaniego would have a bunch of his Mom's home made Tamales also. Yum!
Chuck liberally applied the booze to his holiday recipe and you could definitely get a buzz from eating a few of those things. Along with the rest of us, Grant would really be in great spirits and in a celebratory and festive mood after eating some of those tasty treats. As usual, the band got looser and looser as the night went along. Cash in those drink tickets for a pitcher, fellas! I can still see Grant groovin' and clapping on 2 and 4 in front of the band as we blew our brains out.
Chuck Jenkins died in his sleep some years ago. What a beautiful cat he was. Chuck was very encouraging to the younger players such as myself, and he really loved playing in that band. I remember that Chuck especially dug the real down-home swingin' numbers in the book like the shuffles " Groove Merchant" and "Big Dipper" from the Thad Jones band.
So here's a toast to our dearly departed brothers. Happy Holidays to all.

- Steve Marsh

Posted by guest at 02:06 AM | Comments (3)


I distinctively remember seeing Grant's rosy cheeks after eating two or three of those puppies. I remember that you almost had to get a spoon to handle them, as they were absolutely soaked with rum. We were a happy lot as a result. I will certainly remember forever the amazing musical moments we had in that group, but I will treasure even more the sweet bunch of guys in that band and the memory of their company.

God bless each of you this Christmas season!

Denny Monce
Posted by: Denny Monce on December 16, 2002 09:49 AM

Back at you guys. I remember Chuck's bourbon balls, too. What a nice cat. And, of course, Grant. I'll tip a few Holiday cheers in his memory. Grant: This one's for you. We miss you.
Bob Washut

Posted by: bob washut on December 21, 2002 01:51 PM




Vince Wedge

Since Grant's passing, many memories from old friends and bandmates have been shared. What a wonderful sense of family Grant created for all of us. I know he made me feel like a son during my tenure at MCC, and that feeling has never left.

- Vince Wedge




From Denise Natseway Estudillo

I grew up going to NAU music camp back in the 60's and that is where I first met Grant Wolf. He was director of the "Gold Band", the band in which I played clarinet, and he and his wife were the head residents of the girls dorm, Cowden Hall. It was about 1968...maybe 69. I had never been away from home before and I cried throughout the first 2 or 3 days of camp. I didn't have a whole lot of confidence in my clarinet playing either. Grant noticed how sad I was and he and his wife took me under their wings and before long I was looking forward to the next 7 years of music camp and then majoring in music ed. at NAU. I was influenced to believe in myself because he believed in me. For the rest of my life to this day I have always remembered the kindess and concern he showed me. Truely a genuine man with the heart of a giant. I must say that "Papa" and Mrs. Wolf raised and taught their children well. There is an abundance of love and kindess bred in that family that radiates to all who know them. I have taught music for 23 years now and many children's lives are richer.

Thanks Grant, for helping me to take the first steps down this beautiful path in life. Now as a guardian angel, help me to teach my students with the same love and respect that you had for all of us.

Denise Natseway Estudillo
Dilcon Community School, Winslow, AZ


April 30, 2003
There is no time like the present - Chris Campbell

It has taken me a long time to write something here. It has seemed like I could never find words that could possibly come close to expressing what I think and feel about Grant. I also have had the fear that posting here might really end up being more about me than Grant. Yet, the only way to communicate my thoughts about Grant are through memories. Consequently, it seems impossible to write about Grant without writing about myself.

Grant was a man that would do for others what could never be repaid. Part of the reason it could never be repaid is that the motivation behind his actions was so pure. Ladd said it best, Grant was absolutely selfless. When I moved to NYC, it was a tough transition. Grant would call me a couple times a week just to make sure I was ok. While babbling to the greatest listener I’ve ever met, I remember coming to the realization that what I had done by moving to NYC was put myself in competition with the greatest saxophone players on earth for the few gigs out there. I was feeling overwhelmed. His response was so funny; it was along the lines of, “Well, yea.” It actually helped me to laugh at how crazy it was that an idea that should have been clear all along really hadn’t hit home until I had bought the ticket and signed the lease! In another phone call, I remember his classic laugh while I informed him that I had discovered alternate usages of coffee filters – if one is in a desperate situation.

One of these calls came the day after Parker was born. Instantly recognizing him on the answering machine, I picked up the phone with, “Hey Grant, what’s up?” Grant usually spoke quite softly on the phone. Not this time. That big, deep voice boomed, “I have a son!” He was so proud! I could feel it 3,000 miles away. Words really cannot express how grateful I was and am that Grant thought enough of me to include me in his life like that. I cherish the memory.

I was a student at MCC when Emily was born. Grant came in beaming one day. One could perceive a sense of satisfaction coming from Grant. I believe Grant thought and felt he had been given the ultimate gift. It was so great to see – right in front of me like that. Having been in countless situations with Grant as a student, professionally, and as a friend – I had never seen this kind of energy coming from him. It was beautiful.

His unique ability to set us free as thinking musicians – allowing us to fall flat on our face with no regard for what it would do for his reputation, but only concerning himself with whether we would learn from the experience was at the core of what made him such a gifted educator. There were countless times I made Grant look bad. To this day it amazes me that he cared enough about me to only concern himself with my growth as a human being and to somehow find the forgiveness in his heart to continue to move forward without holding my failures against me.

Professionally, one could never hope to have more fun than one could have playing in a band with Grant. When we worked together, it was so incredible the way he could turn off the Teacher-Student relationship and shift into more of a peer, or comrade type of relationship even though I was still a student, as if I deserved to be considered a peer. It doesn’t matter whether I was/am or not. It matters - to me - that he treated me that way.

Our friend Grant always listened, always cared, and never gave up on me. Grant was as true as a friend could be. Through the last 20 years, Grant was my confidante. We remained in close contact. I could talk about things with Grant that I couldn’t speak about with anybody. When I did this, I knew beyond certainty that it would remain between us. His infinite sense of compassion, patience, and loyalty will never be forgotten. Grant set the standard. Friendship with Grant meant something.

One day in 1977 my father took me to Otto Stein’s to pick out a clarinet. We bumped into Grant in the parking lot. I was 9 years old, in the 3rd grade. My father introduced me to his friend. From that day on, Grant has been a part of my life. I am incapable of expressing how lucky I am for having had such a beautiful human being in my life. Just think of how lucky all of us are. Grant, I miss you so much!


Chris Campbell




July 10, 2003
My constant teacher - by Mike Shellans

It's taken me awhile to come to grips with losing Grant, as his voice still booms in my ears, especially when I get lazy as a musician.

I first met the tall, pony-tailed, gruff sounding Grant Wolf in 1974, when he was my counselor at the N.A.U. Music Camp. From our first meeting he recognized something in me, and challenged me musically from that point on. It was my privilge to be a member of his night bands through the '80s, and he was the stalwart leader of our Greater Urge band in the '90s. Them was the good ol' days...

Several years ago, I watched Grant become ill, then rebound, and he seemed somewhat renewed with his new family. I was saddened when he told me of his brother's death, and now wonder if he felt his own end was near at any time.

Grant also taught me how to drink beer and still maintain, and he never could pronounce my last name (Shellans) as anything but "Schillings"! I love and miss his wisdom and humor, and hope somehow to reflect his passion and understanding in my own teaching.

Mike Shellans




August 25, 2003
One Year Later

Realizing that it’s now been one year since Grant’s death, thoughts and reflections once again drift towards memories of Grant. I was thinking about the events of the last year, and then further back. Like going back 25 years or so ago. The last year has been a very tough time for a lot of people who were in Grant's orbit, and of course it's been very, very difficult for his family members. Hopefully with some time passing, healing is taking place for everyone.

Like so many others, I will always have a vast and profound appreciation of Grant and of all those unforgettable times with him years ago. Many days full of deep and enlightening lessons in matters of music (and in life) and lots of good music and laughs. Not to mention Monday evenings at Chuys, having a ball with Grant and the Night Band gang. Grant remains, as Mike Shellans recently wrote, a “constant teacher.” I think Grant is a continuing presence in the lives of many people. He certainly is for me. The lessons learned from this master teacher, true friend, and great human being will long remain. The waves and reverberations of Grant’s passage through our lives are long lasting and do not easily fade away. I imagine that when one of Grant’s students now plays music, teaches a class or a lesson, or even is just listening to some music, Grant’s influence and presence is nearby, hanging out, taking in the scene, and he's probably chuckling at us with that “Huh–huh–huh!” laugh. In my own private teaching, when I’m not sure how to proceed with a student, I try to think of how Grant would’ve approached the situation. They used to say “Bird Lives” after Charlie Parker died. Well in 2003 and beyond, in a certain kind of way, “Grant Lives” too!

Grant’s uplifting influence was (and is) so very widespread. He really touched the hearts and souls of so many people over all those years. Not many people spread that much positive energy around during their lives. That bar has been set very high for the rest of us. Rare is the teacher who has the true gift and talent for teaching and connecting with people. A teacher and friend such as Grant is one of the most valuable things we can encounter in life.

Different memories and thoughts drift around for me these days…
One thing that strikes me is this: while many of us are often preoccupied with dumb things like “how groovy can I appear to be in such and such situation?” or, “how much money can I make on this gig”, or any of a number of common pedestrian thoughts, it seemed to me that Grant’s focus was always on the other person. He was never going around boosting his own status or ego. Grant's number one priority was always to help that other person, or to help the group of people as a whole.

I recently listened to some old, fading, poorly recorded cassette tapes of our (‘79-’81) M.C.C. bands. (Wish we'd had Mini-Disc recorders back then instead of a crappy Radio Shack tape recorder with a bad condenser mic!) I was struck by the lively, swinging spirit in the ensemble playing and by Grant's wonderful choices of musical arrangements. On hearing lots of percussion colors and different woodwinds deployed in the music, Grant's love of a wide range of colors on the musical canvas came through. That was one of several things that made his bands stand out from the rest. I also listened to how often 'messed up' my sax solos had sounded. Clam City! It’s a wonder how Grant ever put up with me at all! But part of Grant’s talent was being able to HEAR and recognize that teeny bit of potential, even if it wasn’t very well developed, and then he knew how to encourage and cultivate that ability to develop and blossom. For some now unknown reason, back then we 19-21 yr. old students thought we were pretty hot stuff. Now I think Grant should have told me “You Ain’t Shit, Baby” a few more times to kick my ass into gear!!!

Grant had a way of being able to get students to do things that would be good for him and the school, and at the same time would also expand the students' horizons. Every year Grant would talk a sax player into taking up the bassoon so he would have a bassoon for the concert band and wind symphony that year. The yearly sax/bassoonists from '78 to '82 were Ken Christenson, Jeff Dellisanti, myself, and David Crozier. After I had played Tenor for two years at the school, I didn't really have a plan for the next year, other than working a lot of gigs. Grant said to me, "You should come back and play lead alto next year." Hmm, I hadn't considered that. Playing alto in Grant's '82 band turned out to be a valuable experience, and it prepared me to record on alto with Lyle Lovett for the first time two years later.

The Memorial Concert in Chandler (in March) was such an amazing experience. It was a very important event for many people. It felt to me like the most meaningful concert I’ve ever played on. It was a very welcome moment for the musical community to be able to say goodbye to Grant and honor his life and memory. It was fabulous to see many old friends and classmates, and to finally get to meet a couple of M.C.C. cats I’d long heard about: Bob Washut, and Dick and Bob Weller. We used to play a lot of Washut’s great arrangements in Grant’s bands. It was heartwarming to see all of the Wolf family: Don and Helen, Kim, Emily, Parker, Joanne, Heather, and Tiffany. It was also special to see several other real Giants of the Phoenix music education scene there: Don Bothwell, Barry Black, and Charles Lewis - who of course has provided so many young players with valuable real-world bandstand experience over the years. Musically the concert was a blast, with special tribute music written by Debbie Weisz, Bob Washut, and the great Ladd McIntosh. We used to play many of Ladd’s killer arrangements in Grant's bands going back to NAU high school music camp. Having Ladd conduct us was incredible! Ladd's conducting style reminded me a lot of Grant's own conducting moves. Very exciting, with those really BIG gestures and that ability to make a band really dig in and ROAR! The alumni band played with a lot of energy. Dick Weller kicked some major butt on drums! Guest artist Gary Foster’s playing was as always, brilliant, beautiful, and sublime. I thought Ladd’s “The Last Suite Mesa” perfectly captured a lot of Grant’s musical personality and featured several of the musical styles that Grant really enjoyed. Ladd had the Latin thing in there, the Hard Swingin’ Big Band thang, and the Bari and Soprano features. Ladd’s spoken intro to “Steak and Beans at Mormon Lake Lodge” was hilarious! And the slow movement “Goodbye Grant” featuring Gary Foster on Soprano Sax was a devastatingly emotional piece of music. Quite beautiful, Ladd! The handing off of the last melody of the Suite to Fred Forney was very appropriate. Gary had a funny story to tell about Grant the Jokester during the show as well as some more serious, moving observations about Grant. As Gary also mentioned, there are a lot of great Grant stories that are too risque for sharing at such a formal concert occasion. Mucho, mucho THANKS to Fred Forney for making the concert happen!!!

This website has been a very valuable place to visit over the past year. Thanks to everyone who contributed their uplifting memorials and tributes. This has been a good place to reconnect, and to share feelings and read the stories. A few new entries have still been floating in, which proves it’s never too late to contribute something! It is hoped that this site can stay alive by way of fresh contributions coming in. If you never posted before, come on in! If you wrote before and have something else to add, you know what to do.

FLASHBACK: Seeing Gary Foster at the concert in March reminded me of a day at M.C.C. back in the early 80’s. Several of us students had a mixed Woodwind Quartet (or Quintet?) with Grant coaching and also playing. All the participants were sax players dealing with their ‘doubling’ instruments. Kurt Moorehead was on clarinet, myself on flute, Jerry Donato was learning oboe, and Grant was just getting into the bassoon. I sort of recall that John Knowlton sometimes played French Horn. Jerry and Grant had the fingering charts taped to their stands! We didn’t sound very good, but it was fun and was good practice for us doublers. So one day Gary Foster is in town. Grant had him over to do some clinics at the school and then play at Chuy’s in the evening with the Night Band. So during the day, Gary (who has a great sense of humor) sits in with our little woodwind group and reads down (impeccably of course) the flute parts, and then the clarinet parts. The rest of us are having fun scuffling along, and then during a pause in the action, Gary turns to Grant and with a serious face asks him “Do you Prefer THAT kind of sound???” (Of course implying, “as opposed to the traditional sound of the bassoon?”) Grant just totally fell out laughing HARD and almost dropped the bassoon! We all broke up big time and no notes were played for the next couple of minutes. That was one of the many fun times.

Miss you lots, Grant.

Steve Marsh




Can It Really Be A Year Already?

I was riding around the East Valley last Monday with Rob Hunter (a friend of mine who was hired to fill the vacancy left at MCC when Grant passed) and he asked me if it was around a year since Grant had passed. I told him "yeah,it must be" not even realizing that it was actually a year to the day that Grant had passed. Not really all that unusual for me as I don't really tend to pay a lot of attention to linear time anyway, but it sure didn't seem like an entire year had passed.

People like Grant Wolf are never actually gone nor forgotten.Time may blur the lines/dates but the memory of the love they shared with us and the lessons we learned through them lives on through us and the people that we touch in our lives.

So goes the circle of life.

Often times when I am faced with a particularly difficult problem or student I wonder to myself how Grant would have handled it and most times an answer does come to me.The true lesson of the virtue of patience.

In some way Grant and his lessons are always with me and for this I am truly thankful.

Thank You again Grant for your love and your friendship and your lessons in life.

Peace and love Always,
Jim Henry




August 28, 2003
from Peter Caruso

Thanks Grant

I didn't grow up in AZ and didn't stay for long, but what I learned watching Grant work with the Night Band became the filter I've used ever since to guide my teaching.

When I first came to school at ASU, I was living across the street from Chuy's and spent many a Monday night quaffing beer and watching Grant do this synergistic thing with the band. What an absolute insperation! He was one who could walk a tightrope between being your best buddy AND your music guru. Kinda made it look easy too...

Thank you, Grant, for sharing your gift with all of us who happened to be there. You will always be remembered.


Posted by: Peter Caruso on August 27, 2003 03:15 PM




September 24, 2003
from Heather Wolf

I would just like to thank all of you that have shared so many wonderful memories. I have enjoyed taking the time and reading all of your remarkable stories. This website has helped me through many difficult times this year. I have not been able to write about him until now. I can’t believe it’s been a year. The pain has lessoned a bit but the memories in my head are very strong.
I am Grant’s second daughter, middle daughter, however you would like to say it… he was my Dad. Growing up with such a special person, I never really knew just how lucky I was. I remember thinking at times that he knew EVERYONE. It seemed no matter where we were or what we were doing, he always knew someone and was shaking their hand and actually remembering his or her name. That was impressive.
When I attended MCC (yes of course I also went there and stayed for way too many years), I had the pleasure to take 'Rock Music History and Culture' class from my dad. I know you all are thinking that I would breeze through that class. Okay well, that’s what I was thinking too. Wrong! He expected more out of me than anyone in that class. I saw my dad as a “person” and a very interesting person at that. Dad was always very mellow and would usually listen instead of being the talker but not in class. He came alive when he taught. He was so passionate about music and it’s history. I enjoyed going to that class all semester. From that day forward I understood what everyone else saw in my dad because I had seen it too!
I currently don’t play any instruments but I did when I was young. Piano, sax, flute, anything they tried I just didn’t have it or didn’t want it. So…to all of you wonderful musicians, keep making the music, think of him often, and continue to value the true gift he has given all of us.
My grandparents have placed a headstone in Flagstaff next to his brother, David Wolf, who also passed away a year before Grant. Also, my sister and I are placing a bench at the Forest Homes in Sedona so that we all have a place to visit.
Today I turn “30” and I miss him more than ever.
I love you, Dad!
Heather Wolf (Be Bop)




December 09, 2003
Grant talking about Bud Brisbois

[From a web article about Bud Brisbois. Grant is quoted extensively.]

When Bud Brisbois was in Scottsdale, he finally started to get interested in music again. Grant Wolf, who was the band director at Mesa Community College in Mesa, AZ told me that one day during a rehearsal, in walked this guy and who just sat there and watched the rehearsal for a while. At the end of the rehearsal he went up and introduced himself as Bud Brisbois. Grant was just stunned. Bud asked if it would be OK for him to come and sit in, and Grant was like, "of course." Bud started coming over and started practicing, and getting up in the section and helping all of the kids. Grant said "it was just one of the most phenomenal things to watch Bud and all of the things he was doing for these kids. He was so warm and generous. It was great."

Grant remembers that time well, "Bud just wandered into the hallway one day. I didn't know who he was to look at him. Well, I introduced myself to him and when he said he was Bud Brisbois, I just about dropped my bottom lip. Bud said that he was in town for a while and was checking some things out. And he had talked to some people and wanted to come over and see what the program was about and meet me. We talked for a long time, and then Bud told me he was living here and was going to make Phoenix his home."

"At that time I had a rehearsal band that played every Monday night at various places around town. Bud started playing in that band. He really had a tremendous desire to learn improvisational skills because he'd always been a lead player. He really wanted to learn how to improvise. At that point I didn't know that he had a really low self esteem and he never thought very much of his trumpet playing. He'd just put the horn to his mouth and play things, and everybody would go 'Wow man.' And to him it was nothing. He just didn't conceive of himself as what he really was. He had been through a lot of problems with his personal relationships which was hard for me to understand, because for the short time that I knew him, I really had a lot of feelings for him. He was a real good friend, he was somebody who would call me in the middle of the night and say "I have to talk to you." I wouldn't even hesitate. What we would talk about was his image of himself. He had said "you know I haven't played much for awhile." well, he still played better then any trumpet player I've ever heard. Standing right next to Bud in a trumpet section you wouldn't really hear the way Bud projected his sound, even right in front of the band you wouldn't hear that projection as much as if you got in the back of the room. Then the sound would just pin you against the wall."

"I put him to work with the trumpet students here at school and he picked up some other students in town. He did some clinics at different places in town and some of the high schools. I got him to judge a couple of festivals and he was really doing good. We went to the NAJE convention in Dallas that year. We hung out with saxophonist John Park, who was on the Kenton Band at the same time that Bud was. Man it was wild to hear those two guys talk about all of their experiences on the Kenton Band. Bud knew everybody at the convention. He had asked me to introduce him to people, but I felt like he was introducing me to everybody. One of the reasons that he went was that I found out how good he was with kids, and I wanted to make him get out and do this thing to make him really feel like he was a valuable human being, because he really was. He did some performances with us and some guest spots where we would play a bunch of the charts that were written for him. He always had trumpet parts all over his townhouse. He'd have leadpipes, and all kinds of stuff all over the place. He was always experimenting to try and find a trumpet that was more of a inspiration to him."

"He was such a fun cat too. One night we were going up to NAU's Jazz Festival where I had gotten Bud to judge. We were on our way up and it was snowing up north, so we stopped to get some food and chains and there was a guy with us who owns a music store in Albuquerque. Well, we got to the snow and it was time to put the chains on the car and I said "you know Bud, it's been a long time since I've had to put chains on a car, I don't know if I can do it." Bud says, "oh, I know how to do it." Well, Bud is down under the car and he says "god, I must have forgotten." About an hour later between the two of us we finally got them on. We were going up the road and right in front of us there was this blazer sideways in the middle. We got out and there was this young lady driving it who was on her way to meet her husband. Bud says "well, I'll drive the station wagon and you drive her car." So I'm driving her car and pretty soon I feel this heavy breathing over my shoulder, so I asked her if there was somebody else in the car with us. She said it was just her dog. I turned around and it was this big Doberman Pincher. Well, we finally got to Flagstaff and I parked her car. I told the story to Bud and he couldn't believe it so he had to go check everything out."

"Anyway on the way back down to Phoenix, Gary Foster was with us, he had flown in to be the guest clinician. Bud said, "you know Joe Pass is over at the Scottsdale Center for the Arts". So we all went over there and we were sitting in the elevator backstage because they wouldn't let us off to see Joe. Well, if I had a recording of all of the stories that those two guys were telling, it was unbelievable. We picked up Joe and hung out all night until Joe had to go to the airport the next morning. It was just little things like that. No matter what he wanted to go see what was going on. He was always turning kids on to new types of trumpets or new players. He was really active. He was really a fanatic about breathing and compressing the air. He would sit there right in the middle of rehearsal, and show kids how to do it and cheer them on. There was never a negative word that ever came out of Bud's mouth about anybody or anybody's playing, he was always positive. To turn around, and not see how he couldn't see those good things about himself. Even we he was down, to me he wasn't really dark. When he would call me in the middle of the night for coffee, we'd go and basically I would just listen to him talk. He would talk through things."

Grant also remembers Bud's infatuation with the group Matrix. "At that same time we heard the group Matrix and he just fell in love with that group. As a matter of fact they came through town and he went back to Wisconsin with them and played on a concert with Matrix at Lawrence University. I was supposed to go back with him then and I was planning on going and then something came up, so he went by himself. It was when he came back from there, he called me to tell me that he was back. It must have been the next day that I got a call from his sister saying that he had committed suicide. I don't know what happened. The guys in Matrix loved him and everybody back there just thought he was fantastic, but there was something still that was eating away at him that he didn't understand. After his death, his sister took one of his trumpets and a few other things and I took the rest of his stuff, his charts, books, tapes, and his Calicchio trumpet. Matrix later came back to do a tribute for Bud."

For the complete article, go to:




March 10, 2004
Letter to Grant - Scott Yandell

Hi Grant,

I know I just had you in my thoughts the other day, but I thought I’d write you a quick letter because I often forget to tell you everything that’s been on my mind.

It’s been about a year and a half since you’ve been away and I have to admit that you keep in touch with me more often than I thought. I sorta figured that as time passed, you’d be in my thoughts less frequently, but that hasn’t been the case, and I wanted you to know I appreciate your efforts in keeping this long distance friendship alive.

Your family seems to be doing really well. As you know, they’ve had their ups and downs since you’ve been away and even had to deal with some more loss (in the pet animal department), but they really seem like they’re going to be ok. I was really worried I’d lose touch for a long time, but last year, when I received a call saying that Emily would like to play in my after-school jazz band, I realized that this was a really great way to keep in contact with your family. Luckily, we had a sax spot open and she fits in perfectly. Emily is really a terrific young lady. She’s responsible, courteous, caring, and a real sweetheart to be around. She even went on an emergency ice cream run with me at the local grocery store. She said she had to have “Moose Tracks” – who was I to let her down! Parker is growing up fast. I swear he’ll be 6 feet tall next week. He sure loves baseball. I haven’t had as much contact with him as I should be having, but when I see him he always shakes my hand and says things are going well, in true Grant fashion. Last year when I was dropping Emily off after a rehearsal, I saw him doing a little woodworking in the garage so he could make a soapbox car. I still need to offer my workshop assistance to him in the future, but I keep forgetting. My hope is that Parker grows into a person that you would be proud of and is true to himself. Adolescence can be tough on boys, so I hope he adjusts well. I’m sure he’ll do just great. Kim is working real hard. Any teaching job is hard and takes up too much time as it is, but she seems very committed. I don’t know how she manages to do all that she does and still keep a house and family together, but she’s doing it. I know that I’m not the first person they look to when they need help, but let them know that I am here if they ever need anything.

Teaching your old Jazz Workshop band has been quite a challenge for me. It’s really profound to me when I stop and think that this was the band that you invited me to play in when I was in high school, and now here I am trying to teach that very same class and your daughter is sitting in front of me. As you know, I’ve really got no business teaching this class, but I’m trying hard and listening with open ears, and doing my best to help these kids find the joy in jazz music, like you did for me when I was 15 or 16. Thank goodness that Fred has been helping me. He doesn’t get paid for helping, but he comes to lots of rehearsals and every time he’s there, it’s like a teaching master class for me. Sometimes my insecurities tell me I’ll never be a good teacher, but I figure if I can just stick it out for another 50 years, I just might have my act together. Every now and then I’m faced with a situation that I remember you dealing with during a rehearsal. It’s in those moments when I remember your technique to solve the problem that I feel like I might actually have a chance. Much to my surprise that all those rehearsals in the past weren’t just for the fun hang with the cool jazzers—I was actually learning!

Anyway, that sort of catches me up. Oh, my family? Well, we’re doing just fine. Mom and Dad are managing a couple health issues but things seem alright. Jennifer is so good at taking care of our 14 month old, Dillan. I wish that you could have met him. He’s really a neat kid and he gives me new meaning. I now know what it is to be a father—it’s quite a ride! Eric, his wife, and four children moved back to Arizona just yesterday. I’ll be helping him unload furniture just in time for the heat wave to arrive.

Well, Grant, it sure was nice to catch up with you. I hope things are going well for you, too. Life is truly amazing and we miss having you around, but it’s been so nice of you to keep in touch in my heart and mind.

Talk to you soon,

Scott Yandell




May 30, 2004
Heather's Wedding!

On May 22, 2004 in Sedona, Heather Wolf was married to Justin Lalley in a beautiful setting beside Oak Creek. Heather looked very beautiful and this was a very happy occasion for the family. Don and Helen Wolf, the proud grandparents were of course there, and Don gave away the bride. Heather's Mother Joanne and her husband were present, and Tiffany and her family were also there. Don and Betty Bothwell attended the wedding. The musical trio of Ted Goddard, Jack Radavich, and Steve Marsh provided ceremony and cocktail music. The printed program stated that these three musicians were former students of Grant's. The program also included a rememberance of Grant and his brother David. The Oak Creek area was a favorite place for the Grant and his family to visit in the early years. Grant's ashes were scattered in the Oak Creek area. Grant was very much missed on this edding day, but everyone knew that Grant's spirit was close by. The photo below shows Heather and Justin. The second photo shows Don Bothwell visiting with Don and Helen Wolf.




October 23, 2004
From Jeff Fields

I just found this - I can't believe it. Reading this amazing page, and seeing all the names, Grant's influence on all of us is obvious.

I met Grant at Chuy's in Fall 1980 - the Nite Band was playing. I was fresh off the boat - 17 years old, knew it all, arrogant, with a "trumpet as a weapon" mentality. My roommate at the time dragged me outside to meet him on a break, telling me "THIS is the cat" - "if you're gonna be a player in AZ you HAVE to know this guy". Around the corner came this towering figure radiating wisdom and joy, and a level of hip I'd never experienced before in person - talk about humbling! What was truly amazing was that even for a punk like I was, he took the time to talk to me with genuine interest and encouragement.

I was in the jazz program at ASU, but had the pleasure many times to sit in at MCC and even do a few charts for them eventually. The vibe there was always more relaxed and intimate (or so it seemed from the outside) and more conducive to creativity, exploration, and expression, as opposed to the structure and technical at ASU. Not that Chuck wasn't amazing as well, but the whole scene at ASU was enormous - some 40,000 students. I often thought as I was scrambling to get across campus to make a botany class or whatever, how nice and calm it must be over there.I never really studied formally with Grant, but I did learn from him. He taught me that we study the technical in order to expand the heart's vocabulary - that when you pick up the horn, to put the details aside and just tell the truth. And hopefully the facility just allows you to express yourself with that much more dimension and clarity.

I left AZ in 1990 to attend the Dick Grove School, and have lost touch with most everyone I knew and loved there, but when it gets quiet, I always think back to the many wondrous and joyous times I had studying and playing jazz in AZ. Mostly warm fuzzy memories - cherished memories! I miss you all.

I'll be practicing in the dark tonight. Thanx for everything, Grant! We'll see you soon!

Jeff Fields

Jeff's CDs with the Atria Band:
CD LINK: "Atria" (CD-Baby)"
CD LINK: "Malditos Gringos""


October 26, 2004 More Memories... - Marsh (again)

from Steve Marsh

While sadly noting the recent two year anniversary of Grant’s passing, I had a few thoughts to share - and some additional memories of the old days. At the risk of being boring and rambling, I'll just write down my remaining Grant stories before my memory completely leaves for good! So here we go, in no particular order…

Grant was a magnetic field, a gravitational force. As was Don Bothwell. The energy field generated by these music teachers at M.C.C. created a very happening music scene at M.C.C. which constantly drew in a community of creative, interesting young people. Students who desired great musical experiences were drawn to M.C.C. because of the efforts of Grant, Don, and the other teachers there. Grant was a COMPLETE educator and an innovative inventor of creative musical environments and situations. Grant could teach people of all ages and all levels of proficiency. Besides the students at the College, there were young students in Middle Schools and High Schools who would come to Grant for their private lessons. The adult musicians in the Monday Nite Big Band showed up every Monday Night for the rousing big band action. Some of those players were in the Nite Band for more than a decade. A few retired people also studied with Grant. Everyone who knew Grant experienced Grant’s friendship and valued their time with him. Remember Grant’s big smile and knowing ‘wink’? And his famous laugh? I marvel at those natural teachers like Grant, who seemed to so easily connect with every student and find a way to propel them forward. Not to say Grant didn't work hard at learning to be a good teacher, but he also seemed to be one of those individuals who are touched with a natural ability to teach others.

Random Memories:
One year at the NAU music camp for high schoolers, Grant played piano in a faculty jazz quartet concert. The quartet was fronted by Barry Black on alto. I believe that Grant had been taking some piano lessons from Bob Ravenscroft around that time. Grant didn’t have a great deal of piano chops at that point, but he comped piano effectively enough for this group, with a sparse style somewhat reminiscent of Thelonious Monk. Grant used clusters in a humorous, Monkish type manner. After the concert, Grant joked about his piano performance. With a sly look on his face, Grant mischievously said,“I hope my piano teacher doesn’t find out that I played piano in public! Huh – huh – huh!” It was a funny moment.

NAU High School Music Camp, 1976: The first time I ever saw Grant was his Jazz Band concert at NAU. I was in the #2 band that year. Upon first seeing Grant, you knew that there was something special and different about this man. Grant just looked totally hip and cool. In front of a band, Grant achieved a perfect balance between being relaxed and letting the band do its thing, and then becoming intense and providing strong direction when that was needed. That first time that I heard a G.W. big band, Grant’s band played some thrilling musical selections. On one tune he had each of his five saxophonists come forward to take an ad lib solo on flute. That was the way that Grant was constantly challenging his players. Later, when I was studying at M.C.C., at various times Grant formed his saxophone players into flute quartets, clarinet ensembles, and mixed woodwind quartets or quintets. Some sax players got drafted into playing oboe or bassoon in the concert bands. Grant knew we’d have to be proficient on our doubles in the real music world, so he made sure that we had these experiences to develop strong doubling skills.

NAU Camp, 1977: Grant had his jazz band formulate our own arrangement of Frank Zappa’s “America Gets Drunk and Goes Home”. In the song’s final form, Zappa’s song was interspersed with interludes of marching band songs, a dog food jingle song, the “Dragnet” theme, the Budweiser song, and other zany stuff. At the concert, the audience was totally cracking up at this montage of musical humor. Jeff Dellisanti and I caused a bit of commotion by whipping out, and pretending to drink, two empty Budweiser bottles while the band played the Bud jingle. Grant hadn’t been forewarned of our choreography. Each year, everyone at the NAU Music Camp looked forward to Grant’s Jazz Band concert to see what he would present this time around. It was always a highlight of the camp.

The following story is an example of the way Grant would extend himself to be helpful to a student. After high school, I decided I needed to leave New Mexico because there was very little music happening there, I got to thinking again about Grant and the talented young musicians I had met at the NAU band camp. I called Grant up and he was very encouraging about me moving to Mesa. I talked to my music camp friends Jim Henry, Jim Kass, and Scott Shiever, and everyone basically said to "come on over." I told Grant that the out-of-state tuition would be difficult for me. No problem – Grant instantly came up with a plan. The steep out-of-state fees didn’t kick in at either M.C.C. or A.S.U. until you took more than 6 hours of classes. So Grant suggested I sign up for 6 hours of music classes at MCC, and take 6 hours of general Ed. classes at ASU, and thus be able to pay the lower fees. Grant would let me sit in on some of his other classes without having to sign up and pay. Great! So my Dad and I drove out to Phoenix to get me set up in a new town. Scott Shiever’s family let me stay with them until I could find a place to rent. Grant was characteristically incredibly helpful. He steered us to a "for rent" bulletin board at M.C.C. where I found a room in a house that I could rent. Then in an action that I still marvel at today, Grant insisted on driving me over to ASU, guided us to the registration hall, and stood in line with me for several hours so I could sign up for my classes at ASU. This was before widespread computerization at ASU, and the process of many thousands of students filling out those little paper cards took many hours! I was deciding on which general Ed. classes to sign up for when Grant told me that he felt that taking some classes in Philosophy and Psychology was important. I followed up on that suggestion. After several hours, we finally finished with the ASU registration ordeal and had lunch with Grant. I know that Grant had his own semester of teaching to get ready for, and it still amazes me that he took so much time out of his busy schedule to help me get set up in Arizona. Just a few weeks after I moved there, Grant received a call at the school from a rock band that needed a sax player. He sent me to the audition, and Bam!, I had some gig income coming in.

During my years at M.C.C., I was improving as a musician, but I wasn't always disciplined enough in the rest of my life. Grant could tell I was drifting and he’d periodically ask if I was OK, or he’d invite me over to his house for dinner to talk about my future plans. He showed his concern, but he seemed to know that I was in a strange temporary stage that I would just have to grow out of myself. He was right.

Several years later, in another kind gesture, Grant found out I didn't have anything to do one Thanksgiving, so he invited me to a picnic with his family on South Mountain. That was a nice time with Grant, his daughters, and Grant’s parents.

Of course there are the memories of Grant coming over to “The Grinder” or “The Village Inn” or other venues after evening rehearsals and buying many pitchers of beer for everyone. Grant loved to laugh and have a good time with his friends. One particular band trip stands out in memory. Grant drove back from California in a van with Don Bothwell. I was in the other van which was a total party on wheels for 300 miles. We finally arrived at M.C.C. and unloaded equipment. Then Grant offered to drive some us home to our pads in Mesa. But Grant had developed a big time thirst while crossing the desert. So the first stop was at a convenience store where Grant procured a 12 pack of Bud in cans. I guess this was before the “no open containers” law. We passed the beers out, and Grant commenced inhaling beers while piloting the van. As some of you know, Grant could down a beer very quickly. One after another, he tossed the empty cans backwards towards the people sitting in the back, while he laughed his head off.

Looking at Grant's birth date in his obituary, I realize when I met him in 1977, he was only 32 or so. But Grant always seemed to us students, even then, to be a very wise man. His long hair and deep penetrating eyes added to the effect. Grant just had the aura and mystique of those rare people who are truly 'Tuned In' and who really 'Know’ what it’s all about. As Bob Washut nick-named him, Grant was "The Sage."

In the last years of his life, Grant was seriously ill several times. At one point, his doctors even thought he might have Mad Cow disease. I learned about that, but that diagnosis seemed very strange since no Mad Cow cases had been publicly reported in the U.S. Around that time, I called Grant’s house and he answered the phone. Grant had just walked in the door. He was returning from a medical appointment where the tests had come back that Grant definitely did not have the Angry Bovine Disease. He was naturally very happy. With his young children and everything, Grant had a lot to live for. We talked for a while and then Grant said, “Thanks for calling 'Stever', it sure makes an old man feel good.” I remember thinking “Gee, you’re not so old, Grant.” But his illness did make him appear much older in those last few years. I don’t go back to AZ much anymore, but the last time I saw Grant was in 2001. We hadn’t seen each other in a few years. When we visited Grant at the school, he looked at me and started laughing. I said, ”what is it?” Grant was cracking up and pointed at me. Imitating a little kid’s taunts, Grant blurted out, “Ha Ha Ha. His hair’s getting thin, he’s losing his hair, he’s losing his hair. Ha Ha Ha.” It was very funny. At the same time, I had never before seen Grant with his hair cut short. I wish I had known it was going to be the last time I would see Grant. Though he was in more fragile health than I had ever seen him in, Grant’s program of using Chinese herbs seemed to have stabilized his condition at that point. I don't know if it was my denial or what, but I never allowed myself to think that Grant could really die. And then it happened.

I really hope that Grant truly knew how much he meant to everybody and how much we all miss him.
For the rest us, as we go through life we learn that unexpected, tragic things do happen. So we can be grateful for what we have, and for those amazing people we have been blessed to know. And be nice to each other.

PS: This WebSite used to be interactive. Due to a server change, it no longer is so. But any new material can be sent to me at – and I will post it on the site. Thanks to Jeff Papineau for starting this very special Website and thanks to all who have contributed. New written material or photos are always welcome! Keep those stories coming in!

God Bless – Steve Marsh




October 27, 2004
New Ladd McIntosh Big Band CDs! - included music written for M.C.C. Bands, and for Grant.

Grant's long time close friend and colleague, Ladd McIntosh, has released two new CDs of his Los Angeles Big Band.
The "Temptation" CD is a collection of Ladd's very excellent arrangements of 'Standards'. Highly recommended!

All of the compositions on "Ride the Night Beast" are original pieces of Ladd's. This CD will be of special interest to M.C.C. folks as this CD contains Ladd's moving tribute to Grant Wolf: "The Last Suite Mesa". Jon Crosse's soprano sax performance on Ladd's beautiful piece "Goodbye Grant" is extraordinary. The entire CD is dedicated to the memory of Grant Wolf.
Ladd's composition "Guru" is also heard on the CD. As Ladd has said, that title seemed appropriate to include in a collection of songs that are dedicated to Grant.
The "Ride the Night Beast" CD also includes "Suite Mesa Two", which Grant's M.C.C. Jazz band played in 1982. "Suite Mesa Two" is another outstanding composition, and was commisioned by Grant especially for his band. "Suite Mesa Two" was recorded by The M.C.C. band at the Chaton recording studio in 1982, but that tape somehow disappeared and has never been located. Bummer!

Ladd's CDs are available from CD Baby:

Ladd's CDs are also available at

Check out Ladd's website: to read about Ladd's work as an educator, composer, and an orchestrator for major motion pictures.





October 27, 2004
Dr. Donald Wolf - R.I.P.

Grant's father, Dr. Donald Wolf passed away on October 19, 2004 with his wife Helen holding his hand. Grant's parents had been married for 60 years. For many years, Don was a fixture of music education in Arizona. He was band director at South Mountain High School in Phoenix before becoming Director of Bands at Northern Arizona University, a position he held for many years. Don Wolf was a superb conductor, and he inspired musical excellence in several generations of students. Don was very passionate about drawing forth quality musical performances from his bands. Don was a first class gentleman, a devoted grandfather and great-grandfather, and he was a giant in the history of music education in Arizona. He will be missed.

Don Wolf and Heather Wolf - May 2004

Helen, Don, and Heather Wolf - May, 2004.




Feb 16, 2005
From Walter Pitts

As time goes by I realize how blessed I was to have been around such a Positive, Creative, Inspiring force. Grant Wolf was one of the most inspiring and encouraging teachers I have ever learned from. I think of Grant and the environment he & Don Bothwell created at MCC often and truly believe it's a big reason I am still playing music for a living. Sincerely, Walter Pitts




May 15, 2005
From Russ Barnard

Hi Everyone I was the bass player in Grant's Night Band for several years, and I believe that the black and white photo of the band playing in 82 that is in the photos section was taken at the Sedona Jazz on the Rocks festival. I remember this day very well. I had been subbing in the band for two weeks when Grant ( I still called him Mr Wolf ) asked if I would like to join the band. I was thrilled since I had looked up to all of these guys since I was a student at MCC. I had spent many a Monday night at Chuy's and it was truly a privilege to actually get to play with my musical idols. The Sedona festival was my first time playing with the band as an actual member and I was really excited about. I was also pretty nervous as well since I knew I was going to be sight reading at least half of the set, and unlike the rest of the band, I didn't do this very well. As we were setting up on stage, I noticed sound guys taking the line out of my amp and putting it directly into the festivals sound system. "That's just great" I thought,"now everybody will hear if I mess up" Grant took his place in front of the band and I waited for him to count off the first tune. Instead he asked " Why do you have to wrap a rat up with duct-tape?" I'll spare you the answer, but as the band cracked up he counted off the first tune. The joke took the edge off my nerves. A few bars into the tune, Grant yelled back to me "Yeah Russ!". I can't tell you how much that meant to me. He continued to give me approving nods of support throughout the rest of the set. The set turned out to be a personal best for me and is my fondest musical memory. This is a perfect example of how Grant could sense things in people. He seemed to always give you what you needed when you needed it. Even if you were not aware that you needed it. Sometimes in the form of encouragement and support, or sometimes in the form of a not so subtle reprimand. Everyone that met Grant knew he was special, and I've never met anyone like him since. I think of him often as random memories are constantly popping into my head. He even shows up in my dreams. Time has not diminished the gifts he gave to all of us as he lives on in the hearts and souls of everyone he touched. Russ Barnard




May 30, 2005
From Sheila Snyder

I grew up in Phoenix (Shadow Mountain HS 1986) and one of my favorite mentors was Grant Wolf. When I bumped into Steve Marsh in Los Angeles a few years back, he mentioned that Grant had passed away. This made me sad but somehow I know that he's up there, looking out for us.

Grant was one of the people who really encouraged me to play the French horn. I remember that he was adjudicating our high school band, and I was a lowly freshman who had just begun playing the previous summer – I had started on the flute in 4th grade and it was just not me! I was quickly obsessed with the twisted piece of metal, so by the time I had arrived at high school, I had already beaten two seniors, a junior, a sophomore, and another freshman for the first chair spot and all the coveted solos. I remember him looking at me, “inhaling” in that way he had before he said something profound, and saying, “You are a really great horn player.” Then he told me that if I hadn’t already, I needed to listen to Vincent De Rosa. I was already consuming a pretty steady diet of Mancini, Kenton, Frank Zappa, and movie scores in addition to the traditional orchestral stuff. Mr. De Rosa was one of the major reasons I picked up the horn – movies were a great way to escape during the hot summers in Phoenix and I wanted to sound like that guy in the worst way. I was so very impressed that Grant shared the same feelings about my favorite horn player. Later in life, I was fortunate enough to work with Mr. De Rosa and I kept thinking of Grant, closing his eyes and nodding in that way he had when you finally “got it.”

I’m totally in awe about how many lives he touched in a similar way to my own. This is truly what achieving immortality must be like; by touching someone so deeply that you leave a little piece of yourself that the recipient carries around inside for the rest of their life and in turn, shares with others. He genuinely cared so much about humanity and music and how important these were to the other. So many think that these things are mutually exclusive; Grant was one of the few people I had the pleasure of meeting and working with that truly understood the connection and could exude it with a mere glance or a kind gesture.

Grant was also always one of those ageless types of people. I guess certain teachers always seem that way to me. I think it was also because their brains never stopped questing and learning, and they could always summon that childlike wonder about stuff they were passionate about even if they had done it a gazillion times!

During the Thanksgiving season 2004, I stopped by his memorial bench up in Sedona and played the opening from one of my favorite Johnny Richards' charts that Mr. De Rosa recorded (For All We Know) and I like to think that he heard me. His encouragement and guidance was a big reason that I continue to love what I do, and for that, I am truly in his debt. Thank you, Grant Wolf.

- Sheila Snyder




June 21, 2005
from Chris Fagan

Thanks for putting this site up and thanks for keeping it here because I did not find it until yesterday. It was great to read the entries of people I grew up with and startling to realize that I had played with some folks over the years that had a Grant connection about which I was unaware. I played in Bill Warfield’s big band in New York with Dick Weller and did not realize that he had gone to MCC. The classic quotes (“ape shit”) and the sound bites of Grant’s voice brought the huge but gentle personality right back to me.

I was one of Grant’s least talented private students in the late 70s. Be that as it may, Grant could see how badly I wanted to play jazz and helped me along with much knowledge and encouragement. Where there were opportunities for me to participate in his programs, bands, clinics etc., he would call. While society and the music business often prefer the polished and the slick, Grant realized that jazz is about our individuality looking for a voice and encouraged us accordingly. On my last day of high school jazz band, Grant showed up and gave Chuck Lloyd and I each a record. Mine was Zoot’s “Warm Tenor”. It was the best way of saying “I think you can do it.” I ended up going to college in Southern California, eventually learned how to play (somehow), and had a meaningful career in New York, spent some time in Europe teaching and performing and finally moved on to a comfortable musical life here in Seattle where I live now. “Warm Tenor” is on my turntable right now and Grant and all of you are in my thoughts. Look me up if you come my way.

Chris Fagan




June 25, 2005
from Kevin Higgins

I am also one of the lucky ones to have known and studied with Grant Wolf and the great Don Bothwell. I attended MCC between '82 and '85. I first started out on the marching band drum-line. I thought I was a hot shot but soon learned I sucked when a guy named Dennis Marcum strapped on a snare drum and started warming-up. I soon realized I had a lot to learn. I sit here and think how fast 20 years has passed and I can still hear Grant's voice bellowing,"PRACTICE!". He said that every morning after Bothwell would tear us a new asshole when marching rehearsals were over for the day.
I have a great Grant story for you. We were on band tour in San Diego for a couple days. Grant's daughter, Heather, went with us that tour. She took the bus with us to San Diego but she flew back to AZ. Grant knew I had rented a car and asked if I could drive Heather and him to the airport so she could catch her flight. We dropped her off at the airport and on our way back to the hotel we were stopped at an intersection that had a strip club (The Body Shop) on the corner. Next to the strip club was a porn shop. Grant who was in the passenger seat peering out the window at these fine establishments, looks at his watch and says, "We have some time, why don't we check out what's going on in there". So there I was, sitting next to Grant watching beautiful girls strip while everyone else was back at the hotel waiting for our next performance.
I am truly one of the lucky ones. And I know the band in heaven sounds better than ever. I will never forget Grant.

Kevin Higgins




August 11, 2005
from John Ettinger - Growing Music in the Desert

Hi everyone,

I heard about Grant's passing almost three years ago, but I only very recently stumbled onto this website. And as it wasn't possible for us to travel to the memorial, I want to thank Steve and Jeff for keeping this site up and leaving open the opportunity to offer my two cents on my experiences with Grant. And I gotta say it's been really good, really sad, and occasionally hilarious (Crozier's car fire!) reading all your posts.

Like a lot of you I first met him at the early MCC summer jazz camps (I went to two of them), and NAU summer camps (five), and throw in the mix an eye-opening concert/clinic by the MCC big band at the high school I went to in Mesa, and you have the makings of a wonderfully sabotaged classical ambition!

Later on, after taking one of many breaks from ASU (this particular time to play bass and some violin full time with a bar band for two years) I decided to go back to school and switch from a standard violin performance degree which I'd been working on, to a jazz degree which was closer to where my head was, but still on violin. But, after being conducted by Grant at the camps and after having many friends who went thru the MCC jazz thing, and after seeing many of Grant's bands perform (including the Playboy Jazz performance--I drove over and saw that!), I decided it was a good time to finally go to MCC to get the full-on Grant and Don experience. Good decision.

It was a wonderful experience, and I'm forever grateful to both Grant and Don for their help that year. Grant very generously went out of his way to put me, a violin player, in the first big band. I wasn't a string section, I was the only violin, so he used me more like another horn. He wrote arrangements specifically for the instrumentation of that band, so this was the first time I got to do stuff like unisons with bass clarinet and trombone, rhythmic unisons with various other instruments, I got to do a few solos with horn sections playing background figures (lotsa fun!) I got to be a part of the sax section that did a transcription of Trane's Moment's Notice solo, and a whole lot of other creative and ear-opening arranging choices over the course of the year courtesy of Grant. He loaned me Cannonball Adderley records, and he once sent me to a practice room to check out a bunch of effects pedals the school owned --something at that time I had very little experience with. He transcribed and arranged for us a 10 minutes plus Metheny tune all because a few guys in the band said they liked Metheny. If I'm remembering right, I think he had us vote on it! He taught all day, he had a family, he hung out, he had the regular Monday night thing, and he did all that arranging. I don't know when he slept. We got to play a couple festivals in California, including a set at Disneyland, we did sets at the Boojum Tree and Chuy's (the early one right on Mill) as well as a few performances on campus. During the course of that year he brought in touring musicians and local pros for clinics at the school. I remember seeing David Friesen and John Stowall for the first time that year, JoAnn Brackeen with Calvin Hill playing piano/bass duet versions of those amazing compositions of hers, a Pete Magadini polyrhythm clinic, and Chris Armstrong who, fresh from Cal Arts and a Frank Zappa audition, did a great presentation on Indian music. And of course a lot of us were regulars in the audience at the Monday big band hang (before, during, and after that year--spent a lot of time listening to those/you guys). Pretty unique academic situation at MCC. The whole thing seemed to me to be all about exposing us to new music, new ideas, opening our minds, teaching new techniques, developing deeper listening skills, developing high-end ensemble playing, exploring new sounds and getting our imaginations fired up and independent, while simultaneously getting a healthy dose of the history of jazz (Don, if you read this, thanks for that great jazz history class you taught!).

And perhaps the most important element that drove all this was just Grant's obvious enthusiasm for and deep love of music and his obvious enthusiasm and love for the teaching process, and for his students. Like someone said, he made music feel like a worthwhile, important thing to do. Grant was always, always a very spiritual person in my mind.

Anyway, I only spent one year there (I often think I should have stayed longer) and then went to ASU to finish that jazz degree program. But an important, formative year for me.

I ran into Grant from time to time in the following years before moving to the San Francisco bay area in 1992 where I now live with my wife Elizabeth (who, by the way, I first met at an MCC big band performance at the MCC cafeteria during that year I was there!) and two young daughters (2 1/2 and 1 1/2).

One of those Grant sightings (anecdote lite approaching) after my time at MCC I was in thick traffic driving north on Dobson to take a right on Southern, (the corner next to the campus) and I noticed a little protest of some kind at the corner. In SF that happens every week, but in Mesa, in those days at least, it was very rare. Lots of Mesans rubber-necking their way through the intersection. When I got closer I saw around 10 people on the curb with flyers and signs about some kind of labor or funding dispute at the college. And there in the middle of the street was Grant out there handing out flyers. He had that huge grin on his face like the picture at the top of this web page, as he was walking from car to car handing out flyers to people in the cars waiting for the light to change. He was very clearly entertaining the other protesters and many of the drivers/passengers too. They were all watching him and cracking up. He got to my car and he said while maintaining that smile "Hi John, how ya' doing man? Here." He handed me a flyer, we chatted for 30 seconds, he said bye, and then casually went to the next car like it was the most natural thing in the world for him to be standing in the middle of traffic on Dobson Road! It was really funny.

I got the call about Grant's passing the night before I was to go in to a studio in San Francisco and make a CD of my tunes. He was on my mind at that session to say the least. It was quite a shock because I didn't even know he'd been ill. I mean I hadn't seen him for at least ten years. But all the stuff I just described and more came flooding back.

My appreciation of him has only grown over time. It's impossible to over-estimate how much I owe my music world view and aesthetic to my experiences with him over the years. As has been said many times on this page, we were all incredibly lucky to have him around.

To paraphrase a colleague of mine from around here (who was describing someone else, but it fits):

Grant knew how to grow music in the desert.

Thanks Grant.

John Ettinger




August 28, 2006
Clinicians and Guests

With the help of M.C.C. alumni, we have assembled a list of music Clinicians who visited M.C.C. to give clinics and to perform. Also included are those artists who Grant contracted to perform at the NAU Summer Music Camps, or those who performed with the Monday Night Big Band. It is interesting to see here the names of some of the heaviest jazz artists and educators of our time. Grant was a personal friend of many of these great musicians. These visiting artists all respected the fine work that Grant and Don were doing at M.C.C. Many of Phoenix's best musicians also came out to the school to perform. This list is by no means complete, and can be expanded if we later get more feedback.

Jamey Aebersold with Billy Higgins --- Chris Armstrong (on Indian music) --- Armand Boatman --- Joanne Brackeen --- Randy Brecker & Eliane Elias Duo --- Bud Brisbois --- Brian Bromberg --- Pete Christlieb Quartet --- Jon Cross --- Ron Eschete --- Steve Erquiaga --- Jon Faddis --- Clare Fischer --- Bruce Forman -- Gary Foster --- Bruce Fowler --- Tom Fowler --- William Fowler --- Free Flight --- Dave Friesen & John Stowell --- Ted Goddard Sr. & Ted Goddard, Jr. --- Dick Grove --- Steve Huffstedder --- Eric Kloss --- Dave Liebman/Ritchie Beirach --- Charles Lewis --- Pete Magadini --- Tony Malaby --- Ladd McIntosh --- Don Menza --- Lanny Morgan --- Lewis Nash --- Sal Nestico --- Joe Pass --- Roger Powell --- Bob Ravenscroft --- The Rutgers College Faculty: Frank Foster, Ted Dunbar, Larry Ridley, Freddie Waits. --- Charlie Rouse --- Seawind --- Joey Sellers --- Prince Shell --- Supersax w/ Blue Mitchell --- Lew Tabackin --- Frank Wess --- Michael Wolff --- Cal Tjader --- Chad Wackerman --- Bob Washut --- Bill Watrous --- Deborah Wiesz -------- Patrick Williams




Jan. 10, 2007
from Dawn Allen

I have bunches of great Grant stories to share, but the one that comes to mind today is one that was very frustrating and annoying to me at the time it happened -- and scary too! Looking back, it's pretty funny.

Being a doubler, I had auditioned for the jazz ensemble after the semester had started and people had pretty much already been placed. Being a flute major, I didn't have my own saxophone at the time, so Grant loaned me this absolutely exquisite Selmer Super Action 80 tenor to play. It was the nicest sax I had played since the Mark VI I was playing before I got out of the Navy, and I was just thrilled to have such a wonderful, beautiful instrument to use.

I played my audition and ended up in Fred Forney's Salsa band, which was actually the group you got into when you didn't get into the top group (unless you were one of those people who played in both). I was ok with that, after all, it was my second instrument and I hadn't played sax for about 5 years before that anyway. (This was somewhere around 1995ish, give or take a couple years).

I couldn't WAIT for the first day of rehearsal! I was excited about having such a beautiful, high quality instrument to play and I couldn't wait to get it out of my locker and start playing it. On the first day of Salsa band, I got to my locker, pulled out the case, opened it......
....and inside it was some ugly, beat-up Mark VII thing! Needless to say, I panicked, and wondered who would do such a thing -- go into my locker (had a school combination lock on it) and swap horns without saying anything? I mean, if you're going to steal a beautiful instrument, you're not going to replace it with something else! You're just going to take it and go, but I was in such total shock and highly stressed out about it. I wasn't sure what to say to Grant because I didn't understand what had happened right away. I remember I had to get my nerve up at some point, after I pulled myself together.

Turns out it was Grant who did it, though I don't think I ever asked him why or complained to him about it. Someone suggested it was either his personal horn he had loaned me or it was one of those school instruments meant to be used by one of the top-notch sax players. I really don't know. All I do know is that I've never really liked Mark VII's, having played on one before I got to play on the Mark VI and now I was stuck with one. :P

And now that I've read so many Grant humor stories, I wonder if this was an example of Grant's crazy sense of humor? Or was it just something he hadn't really considered -- That without leaving any kind of note to say "hey, I took back my horn because I needed it. Here's another one for you to use," or telling me ahead of time, he'd be causing some flute player to freak out needlessly.

Again, it's still pretty funny when I look back at it. I'll never know if it was one of his little jokes or if the lack of notice was just an oversight, but now I like to think it was probably that zany sense of humor of his. :)




Mesa Community College Bulletin - November 1, 2000

It’s an extra-special honor to be the first at just about anything, and the first recipient of the Jazz for the Next Generation Award, given at the 19th Annual Sedona Jazz on the Rocks Festival in late September, is MCC’s very own Grant Wolf. With this prestigious award, Sedona Jazz on the Rocks and America West Airlines recognized Grant as a musician who not only influences the music world, but also gives of his time and talent to make life better for young musicians.

Grant has been exciting kids about jazz for more than three decades. At MCC he directs the award-winning jazz and wind ensembles and has, himself, performed with some of the all-time jazz greats, like Ray Charles, Lou Rawls, and the Temptations. His list of accomplishments in music, beyond being a dedicated teacher, is way too long to fit in a few short paragraphs.


from Joshua Favors

Hello and thank you for emailing me the link about this great site for a real sweet cat.
I first met Grant and Fred in Jan of 98. Most people who meet me think I'm a pretty laid back dude, but these guys made me seem dizzy. My first encounter with who Grant was a person came shortly after my audition for the bands. The cats were nice enough to give me some dough thru the school to pay for classes. I went to register, and everything was cool, but I still owed some tuition money. I went back and told Grant that everything was cool and that I'd be takin' care of that leftover amount soon, and that I was eager to play. He calmly reached in to his pocket, pulled out his wallet and handed me the exact amount I needed. I maybe met this guy an hour ago, and he had already helped me out big time twice. I was really touched by this, and am to this day still trying to get a better grip on how unimportant the money is to the music. I spent the next few years playing on and off at the school, and learning a lot by listening. Thanks Grant!

Joshua Favors




from Kurt Moorehead

I first saw Grant at the NAU Jazz festival in 1981. The evening concert was the MCC Big Band performing "Elegy For Bud". Coming from a small town in Colorado (Durango) and having never seen a good big band perform up close and personal, I was simply awestruck. At that point, even though I still had 1 more year of high school to go, I knew that MCC was where I wanted to go. Grant and the band touched me in way that night that I will never forget.

Later, in the spring of 1982, I came down to visit Grant and the school, after contacting him about attending MCC. I remember Grant telling me that he usually doesn’t recommend out of state students to attend right out of high school, but to talk to (none other then) Steve Marsh about his experiences being from New Mexico and all. I remember jamming Aebersold in one of the class rooms with Steve and at that point nothing was going to keep me from attending MCC. The next day I told Grant that my decision was made. It is funny thinking back on decisions you make in life and realizing how important those key decisions are to making you the person you are today. That decision back then is by far the best decision I have ever made. It shaped my future both as a musician, father and human being in general.

There are many stories that I have read about Grant since his death on the memorial site, spanning a huge spectrum of emotions and experiences. It has taken me a long time to post these thoughts about this wonderfully great man, but thanks to Steve, who has kept me in the loop thru the years, I have this opportunity.

There were really 2 major musical influences I had as a young man, my dad and Grant. In some ways when I came to MCC as a green 18 year old, Grant became my guardian. It was the way he was and I know he cared about all his students this way. (Unfortunately, I missed the Crozier car incident (a year too late) but remember the legendary story being told in the break room!!!) Anyway it was truly amazing in one year with Grant how much I grew up. I remember coming home in the summer of 1983 and making my dad cry with how much I had improved. He was so proud of me and I owe much of that to Grant. My dad had immense amounts of respect for Grant!!!

I learned many things technical and non technical with my years of studying and hanging with Grant. I remember Grant making a point that when we perform, to always respond with “Thank you very much, I really appreciate that” when offered a compliment. He always stressed this. In many ways, at least for me, this lesson in humility was the most important thing I learned from Grant. Later in life, I was able to look past egos and find value in most every person I have met, musician or not. It takes a lot for me to dislike people and I owe much of that quality in myself to Grant. I remember, after playing at Chuy’s on a Monday night I ditched Music History the next morning being hung over and all. Grant took me into his office and stated “If you want to fly with the eagles, ya got to hang with the Turkeys!!!” Oh how true that statement is and the older I get, the more relevant it seems.

Grant had many lessons up his sleeve but I believe he understood that some things can never be taught; only learned. He had a knack for bringing us to a certain point and then letting our own experiences guide us the rest of the way. As I raise my kids, many of the life lessons I learned from Grant creep into how I act, and more importantly react to my own kid’s curiosity. Grant had of love of teaching but he also had a love for all of us as individuals. Seems we all had a unique relationship with Grant, which shows how truly unique he was. I love you Grant… thanks for everything!!!!

- Kurt Moorehead
Kurt's MySpace Page

Webmaster's COMMENT: Kurt, thanks for writing this. Your musical talent was a big asset to the program at M.C.C.. I well remember that day during your first visit, when Grant threw the two of us together in a room with an Aebersold record. A typically wise move on Grant's part, as he knew that we would have fun doing that. Afterwards, I told him, "Hey, this kid can really play, Grant. Make sure he comes to school down here next year!"
It has been great to watch your musical adventures throughout the years, especially with the amazing 'Psychedelic Zombies' band.
your friend - Steve M.




The Wrath of Grant - from a former student

A funny incident happened once in Grant's music appreciation class... Once, near the end of the semester, there were two people who were talking while Grant was lecturing. Grant suddenly shouted out, "IT'S NOT TOO LATE TO FLUNK YOUR ASS!!" Needless to say, the two loudmouths shut up real fast!


from Chuck Curry - Feb. 11, 2008

I hope you don’t mind if I share a story with you. It occurred to me the other day, that through all of the years that I knew Mr. Grant Wolf, if you don’t count sitting in with the night band, I was a member of only one of his bands!!

The memories I have of the Wolf family are among my first memories as a child. OK, I’ll tell you my age. I was born in 1962. That makes me forty fidddddggzzf. oops, sorry, there was some kind of keyboard malfunction back there, crazy.

Anyway, as you probably know, Grant went to Flagstaff High School and NAU, and his father Don Wolf, was the director of bands at NAU. My uncle Pat Curry, was the director of the music department at NAU at the time, and my father, Bernard Curry, was the director of bands at Flagstaff High School starting in 1965-68, and later Coconino HS 1968-84. Consequently, my uncle was Grant’s father’s boss and my father was a colleague of both.

The NAU Summer Music Camp was the pride of the Curry and the Wolf family. In fact, the camp was recently renamed the Curry Summer Music Camp at NAU, and the Wolf family played a huge part in the camp’s success. The amazing performances that happened there still ring in our ears today. Truly, among the best you would ever hear. The names of the musicians that came to that little pit stop in the mountains would drop your jaw. And, many of them, like Gary Foster, Clare Fisher and Ladd MacIntosh, were there because of Grant Wolf. So, just like clockwork, this community of musicians would come together for one month a year and do something great for kids.

Growing up in that environment was amazing. My first memories of the Wolf men have more to do with their height. They were the tallest people I knew at the age of two. I remember Don picking me up once, and I felt as though I was inches from the ceiling. It scared the crap out of me.

Despite that set back, the Wolfs would become very close and connected with various parts of my family, including Grant’s relationship with MCC saxophonists Steve Marsh and David Crozier. Few people know of their Curry connections (cousins), but now you know! I played principal trumpet for Don on many occasions, and became friends of various other relatives and friends of the Wolf family over time. For the musicians in my family, Grant became a huge part of all of our lives. Like his father, he could say so much in so few words, unlike this story, which continues;

As a result of my connection to the camp, and my early interest in the trumpet, I was able to attend the Junior Camp at the age of 8. I didn’t have much experience reading music or reading band parts at this time. Hence, my parents and I didn’t think that playing in a concert band my first year of camp would be a good idea. So my parents, intending to ease me into camp life, put me into just a couple of junior camp classes. I still had to pick a performing group, though, so I picked jazz band.

That first day, I felt pretty cool. I had my official NAU Music Camp badge, my cornet and a folder of music. I had a fun theory class with Mr. Wells. I had lunch with all of the big kids. The junior high girls thought I was cute. I started to get over my nervousness and feel like I actually belonged to the camp. In the afternoon, I went to my first performance group rehearsal. I checked my schedule. My director was someone I knew, Grant Wolf! Oh cool! The funny guy with the long hair! Oh goodie! This should be fun. OK, I was off to the Eastburn Gym.

I walked in with my little cornet. My heart was pounding. Grant smiled and met me as I came in. He showed me to the 4th trumpet spot. He had me stand on my case so I could see the music, and he told me to hold my cornet up when I played. That was really important to him. I made sure that I held it up the entire rehearsal! He started rehearsal moments later and asked us to get up our first tune. Then he started counting it off. Hmm, that’s funny, he’s clapping on two and four. That’s not what the other conductors do! I didn’t like that. I wanted him to count it off “right”. Anyway, I knew how to count measures rest, and that was my part at the beginning . While I counted, I thought it very odd that he would start the song without telling us how it “goes”. I didn’t like that, either. How were we supposed to know what to do?

I counted my measures rest and was about to come in, when suddenly he yelled, “Stop!!” The sound of his voice rang inside the gymnasium. Mr. Wolf had a serious look on his face. I tried to hide behind my cornet. Now, I wish I remember exactly what he said to the drummer at that moment, but whatever it was, it made him start to cry. I’m sure that it had something to do with how Mr. Wolf thought that good drummers should keep good time, and, at present, he isn’t and he wasn’t. Of course, back then you could say things that you can’t say now, and as I recall, Grant may have “spiced” it up a bit.

It only got worse from there. When I finally did play, I was missing a lot of notes and I knew it. Compared to the other kids though, I thought I held my own. Still, I thought the whole thing sounded awful. After a few more stops and starts, Grant exploded. “Do you call that jazz!!?”, he yelled. “How come you’re not prepared for this rehearsal!! You’ve had your folder for over 4 hours!! Next time you come in here, you had better know all of your music!!” The drummer was crying again.

There was nobody in Jazz IV that was immune from his scrutiny that day. In fact, the entire rehearsal was a rip fest. Uh oh, the trombones are talking. Big mistake. They were toast. By the end of rehearsal, everyone had cried at least once, including me. I got it back together again by the end of rehearsal, but this eye-opening experience changed me forever.

When I arrived home, I told my mom about my day at camp. “Mister Wells was cool. Lunch was great. The Jr. High flute players liked me. And, after that I went to jazz band.” (slight pause) “I didn’t know my part, because I didn’t look at it before rehearsal, and Mr. Wolf got really mad and said we didn’t know what we were doing, and he made the drummer cry, and then I cried, and then…”

The next day I was placed in Mrs. Elizabeth White’s Concert Choir, where I sang “Dona Nobis Pachem” and scenes from “Fiddler on the Roof”. That was it! One day in Grant’s band. Now, you would think that this experience discouraged me from playing jazz, or change my view of Grant, but it didn’t. From that point forward, I knew the standard it took to play for Grant Wolf. I looked forward to the day when I could have another chance to play for him and show him that I could play. But, that never happened as it turned out. By the way, not soon after that, Grant took it down a notch in rehearsals with young kids, and of course, became a great jazz educator on every level, with an enormous amount of patience.

In the coming years, my focus turned to the classical side. At NAU Music Camp, I always had to choose between orchestra and jazz. Because of my experience, I always felt the need, and the desire to play in the orchestra. Therefore, I missed out on playing for Grant at music camp. Even still, Grant knew that I was “dabbling” in jazz and encouraged me to work at it. On breaks at camp, he would often spend time with me, telling me what to practice or copy solo parts for me, writing guide notes in changes, etc.

I went from NAU camper to NAU camp counselor. And, after this point, I developed a strong interest in jazz, and began making that my primary musical focus. The NAU Jazz Camp came at a perfect time for me. My counselor buddy and roommate was Chuck Lloyd. I sat in on many of Grant’s rehearsals, often taking his trumpets for a sectional when I did. Those were amazing summers of music.

After some time, I began teaching at the camp with Grant. Working as a colleague with Grant Wolf was surreal. And ironically, I was assigned to conduct Jazz IV, although by then, they called it Jazz Gold or Blue. I had a blast with the young kids! I started doing my own arrangements at the camp faculty recitals, and Grant was always very encouraging. He enjoyed seeing me in Limbs Akimbo and the Azz Izz Band, and made it a point to try to catch a show each summer if I was playing somewhere nearby. Tiffany became a good friend in college. She was a twirler at NAU and looked fabulous in her outfit, by the way!

Don, Dave and Grant also had an annual tradition of going to the Coconino County horse races each fourth of July weekend in Flagstaff. It was just the boys, a chance for the three of them to hang out together. For over a decade, I played the “Call to the Post”, and would jazz up a call for a big race while the Wolf boys would try to get the crowd to cheer for me, unlike their stoic reputation. Even playing one tune with no valves , gave me butterflies knowing that the Wolfs were there. I made sure I was warmed up before each call, and played the call clean and triple tongued. The Wolfs were listening.

I came upon Grant’s web site by accident a couple of months ago. It was the first time that I had seen it since just after his passing. I understand the sense of family that all of his former band members have. You guys have a lot of great memories to keep for the rest of your lives. Any success you may have had after that experience, musical or otherwise, you can attribute to your memorable years at MCC with Grant. Some of you guys many, many years, seriously. I mean, jeez!!!

I hope you enjoyed this little biscuit. Like all of you, I miss Grant and the other Wolfs. It’s hard to believe they’re gone now. Fortunately, we have the great memories and music that they gave to so many. I’ll be sure to check the site periodically for more of your stories. Take care.

Chuck Curry


From Don Chance:

I played alto sax in the MCC marching band in 1975, and I remember Grant Wolf really well. I remember Mr. Bothwell really well, too, but as a sax player I was always in closer contact with Grant.

I've just found about Grant's passing. Sad thing.

Although I'd been in the varsity marching band in 9th and 10th grades, I took two years off so that I had some catching up to do when I got into the MCC band. Man, did Grant Wolf ever give me hell sometimes! "GET THOSE KNEES UP, CHANCE!" he'd yell when we were marching in place and it already felt kinda foolish anyway. So I'd raise the knees higher, thinking he'd moved on. Then I'd hear, "POINT THOSE TOES, TOO!" and I knew he was still referring to me. Still, I had so much fun that semester (the San Diego weekend trip is something I'll always remember, too).

Grant owned what seemed like the only straight soprano sax in the Phoenix valley at the time. (I'm sure it probably wasn't the only one in Phoenix, but it was the first one I'd ever seen up close, and I didn't see another one until I bought my own Vito in 1985.) His must've been an antique, though, because it had a cool dull silver finish and nicely yellowed pearl dots on the keys. I guess just about every sax player in the school wanted to play it, and I remember a few guys borrowing it occasionally. Craig Yancey could play the hell out of it! Of course, he was a prodigy anyway, but he could really wail on that soprano. As a freshman, I figured the odds of my playing it were pretty much non-existant, but I sure wanted to give it a try. I just never worked up the courage to ask.

When I realized that the Music Department was part of the Education Department because the idea was for us music majors to become music teachers, more than musicians, I quit school and taught guitar and banjo at Milano's for a few months before going on the road with a country band. Even on the road thousands of miles from Mesa over the next twenty years or so, I was asked at least a dozen times if I'd studied with Grant Wolf and Don Bothwell when I went to MCC, and when I took a continuing education music class at North Texas State (now University of North Texas) back in the mid-1980s, just about every music professor there was impressed that I'd been at MCC with Grant and Don. Those guys made the MCC music program something to be proud of. It made me wish I'd stayed on to get the AA.

When my own sons got into high school marching band, playing saxophones of course, I caught myself yelling one night, "GET THOSE KNEES UP!" I guess we just never know what will stay with us from our youth.

Godspeed, Mr. Wolf.

Don Chance
Fort Worth, Texas



I was saddened to hear about Grant. He touched so many people and in such a profound way. Of all the teachers, instructors and coaches one has while growing up, we can recall but a few. It is a testament to Grant's passion and influence that he comes first to mind, and with such vivid joyous recollection. I visited the website and it is a beautiful homage to his enduring spirit.
The family and I have lived in Ft Wayne, IN for the last 12 years but we are moving back to Chicago in September.

Warm Regards,
Dan Cutaia


Hello,I just ran across this page dedicated to Grant Wolf, a man who I had the pleasure of meeting and playing for at a very young age while attending the NAU Jazz band camp in what I believe was the summer of 1986. I played guitar in the Prescott High school jazz ensemble and combo under the direction of Gary Snyder. I was awarded a scholarship to attend NAU's summer jazz camp entering my junior year in high school. After my audition to place me in the appropriate ensemble at NAU's band camp, I made "Big Band II" as their guitarist.
Here is where Grant comes in. Grant Wolf directed our ensemble. There I sat, full of nerves and very little knowledge of true jazz at this point. Grant made all of us feel at incredible ease. He was just so cool, smart, and helpful. I never forgot this guy.
And the real point to this message about Grant Wolf is the particular comment he made to me after he requested I take a solo on a particular chart. I took my solo and we finished the tune. Grant spun around on his heels and pointed at me (and I was scared he was going to criticize my playing as "too much this" or "not enough that" or God knows what- I was nervous) and he simply said, "And you! You are quite a gem!"
That's all I needed. I was smiling for days after that. Grant helped me to gather up the courage to really have a go at being a musician. I owe him my life-long pursuit and deep love of playing music. He gave me the confidence, the knowledge, and I think some of his incredible "cool". I graduated from NAU with a bachelor's degree in 1993, where I continued to study classical guitar under Tom Sheeley, another great teacher and person.
So, just wanted to share Grant Wolf's wonderful impression on me. I will never forget him. Thank you for reading this.

Thank You, Grant.
Patryk deRosa

PS- His father Don taught my Jazz History course at the camp. Also an amazing gentleman and teacher. I remember them both fondly. What an honor it truly is to have had both of these musical gurus in my personal musical journey.


This poster was for a 1976 M.C.C. Jazz Concert. This artwork was by Jaimie Stevens. Submitted by Bob Wyman. Thanks Bob!


Grant's Favorite Music,

To add a new topic here, let's explore the music that Grant really enjoyed listening to. We have a few scattered clues, such as Grant's comments made to various students over the years. If you readers remember something about this subject, please write to us and share your information.

In the mid-1980's, the New Times paper asked several musical figures in Phoenix for their votes on the best new releases of that year. Grant was interviewed by Paul Cantrell for this poll. Some of Grant's selections for best recordings of that year included: "Evolution" by the Phil Woods Little Big Band; "Starbright" by the Clare Fischer/ Gary Foster Duo album; and "Full Cycle" by the Don Sebesky Band.

Grant enjoyed the Clare Fischer Salsa Picante Band's recordings. In the summer of 1977, Grant was real hot on the "Irakere" band from Cuba. Grant was fond of the Zoot Sims recordings with Jimmy Rowles on the Pablo label: "Warm Tenor" and "If I'm Lucky".

Grant liked to listen to Stan Getz, and he stated quite definitely that "Focus" was Stan's best record. Which is interesting because Mr. Getz often said that "Focus" was the recording that he was the most proud of.

Grant liked hearing Pete Christlieb and thus brought Peter out to the college several times for concert/clinics. Grant liked Pete's record "Self Portrait", especially the track where Pete's father was playing the bassoon alongside Peter. Grant also enjoyed the musicianship of Lew Tabackin and Gary Foster, and brought them to the college as often as could be done. The list of guest clinicians at M.C.C. (listed elesewhere on this website) contains the names of some of Grant's other favorite musicians.

One student reports being at Grant's home when Grant was playing the recorded soundtrack from the "Round Midnight" movie on the stereo. Grant was particularly focusing in and commenting favorably about the tracks that featured Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock.

Based on the music he selected for the Monday Night Band at Chuy's, Grant seemed to really enjoy the Gerry Mulligan Concert Jazz Band, the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Big Band, the Count Basie band, and also the music of Toshiko Akiyoshi.

Grant told us that he mostly listened to classical music at home. In fact, during one rehearsal, the jazz band was really messing up and some of the students' bad attitudes had pushed Grant too far. He blew up and yelled at us, "You think you know something about me? You don't know anything about me! I don't even listen to this jazz shit at home! I listen to classical music!!!

Grant sometimes gave his sax students solos by Cannonball Adderley and Paul Desmond to transcribe and study. We can guess that these artists appealed to Grant, and that he recognized the musical value for students to study their solos.

Grant was also aware of happenings in the pop music world. Once a young lady came up to Grant and told him that she really liked Peter Frampton's "Frampton Comes Alive" album. Grant responded with a knowing smile, "Oh yeah, I've got that one too. It's really good." Perhaps Grant was thinking of the "Why Wonna Wuck Wu" track...


Don Bothwell - May, 2008.


Photos of some M.C.C. alumni from a 2008 gathering.

Denny Marcum

Rick Samaniego and Scott "Scooter" Shiever

Steve Marsh and Jay McGuigan

Don Bothwell and Jim Henry

Russ Barnard and Scott Shiever

Sheila Snyder and James "Kid Flash" Kass

Big Jim Henry, Denny Marcum, Scott Shiever, Barry Render

fuzzy picture of John Knowlton