An Exclusive Interview with Peter Lamb and the Wolves

   Written by Alix Vo, Irregardless Cafe Music Scene Blogger

These guys are as humble as their beginnings at the restaurant, Humble Pie. Peter Lamb and the Wolves have been together since the first inauguration of Obama in 2008 when Peter was tasked to assemble a band for a party taking place at the restaurant.

“When he was elected the second time, the Democratic National Convention was being held in Charlotte that year they heard us and asked us to come up.” says Lamb, leader and tenor saxophonist. “That was sheer luck.”

Perhaps it was, but it was because of this luck that 9 years later, Peter Lamb and the Wolves are still performing, mostly as regulars every other Wednesday at the establishment where they started.

Paul Rogers is on trumpet and credits his brother – Lamb – to a bit of his start. “Pete is 12 years older than me so he kind of helped me as far as what to learn and helped me learn some of this music,” says Rogers, “so it’s been a treat learning and playing with him”. “We have a fun connection where we really know each other’s playing super well, so I know what he’s going for, he knows what I’m going for. We communicate on a pretty deep and interesting level musically because we’ve been playing now for almost 15 years. We just have a lot in common musically so it’s a lot of fun to share the band with Pete.”

The band’s style is a fusion of not only listening to each other but also listening to the audience as well. The engagement they have with the audience makes them exciting and gets the audience on their feet.

Mark Wells, pianist and vocalist, comments that they try to experiment with new sounds often and that process allows them to discover what songs and styles work best for them. “Part of that process is sometimes you’re gonna try something that doesn’t work, but I think it’s part of how you figure it out.”

With a band as big as theirs, part of what makes their band dynamic is working with each other as well. “Listening to each other is just so important,” he says. “You have to understand what you’re supposed to do and your limitations of it and accept each person and the way they sound and what their concept is. So what I’m always trying to think about is how can I play something that’s gonna help everything just kind of crystallize and sort of come together. And a lot of times what it ends up is you have to simplify what you’re doing.”

And listen, they have to. All of the recordings on their CD’s are live, meaning none are made in the studio. Every mistake, every feedback, every sound not typically heard in a studio-recorded CD, but often heard on a stage performance is recorded. And there’s a reason why.

Lamb says he thinks a live performance is much more interesting, especially for a jazz band. “I think if you’re playing jazz, part of the interesting parts is improvising, the wrong notes, everything about it is cool. I think it’s way more invigorating than sitting in a studio. There are mess-ups on the album but that’s intentional. We screwed up and we want to leave it there.”