When one thinks of jazz trios, it's usually piano, drums and bass, or guitar in lieu of bass. Here there's the unusual combination of piano, guitar and flute. One result is the sharp contrasts created, with the flute at the high end, the guitar at the bottom and Dave Mackay's piano the bridge between the two. Another and more relevant result is more than an hour of dazzling musicianship applied to an eclectic program of interesting tunes.
Lori Bell's flute is a major cause for the success of this album. Her instrument gives off muted colors and a soft tone, never shrill or piercing. McKay's piano is lyrical with the notes sharply etched so the listener can hear each one alone and within the context of the melody. In addition to being facile on the guitar, Ron Satterfield engages in wordless vocal wizardry on Pat Methney's "It's Just Talk" and on "Joyful". On the latter, Satterfield's scatting becomes another instrument engaging in call and response with the piano and flute. There is some hard to believe flute pyrotechnics by Bell here as well. I'm not a flute specialist, but I don't think the instrument is supposed to be able to do what she does on this track. It's not all high voltage stuff by any means. There is a lovely languishing "When You Wish upon a Star", with Bell carrying the melody while Mackay's piano gently comps underneath. This version is a legitimate competitor to the Bill Evans' 1962 rendition of this tune which Cliff Edwards popularized in Walt Disney's Pinocchio.
This CD is well stocked with surprises, all of them pleasant. Mackay quotes "I've Got Plenty of Nothing" in the Ellington medley of "In a Sentimental Mood" and "I Let a Song Go out of My Heart". Satterfield sings "Ding Dong the Witch Is Dead" in Clark Terry mumbles style. The label's unusual name, Webster's Last Word comes from a jazz spot producer Chuck Perrin opened in downtown San Diego's East Village called Dizzy's. Webster's Last Word 35 years ago. This album is heartily recommended. Visit the group at www. interplaytrio. com.
Personnel: Dave Mackay - Piano/Vocals*; Lori Bell - Flute; Ron Satterfield - Guitar/Vocal**