Bassist and chief proprietor of the UFO Bass label Richard Simon has gotten together with two major proponents and pioneers of their respective instruments. Along with the clarinet, Sam Most has been working the jazz flute scene since the 1950's. He goes flute on most of the cuts, but picks up the straight black stick for two tracks. Al Viola has been plying his guitar since the 1950's and has worked with performers running the spectrum of Frank Sinatra and Tommy Dorsey through Mel Torme to Hadda Brooks. Both these performers have more than one thing in common. They respect the songs they play since they don't deconstruct the melody. Second, they get the purest of tones and sounds out of their instruments. The flute is not an easy instrument to adjust to jazz because of its harmonic limitations. Yet on such tunes as "On Green Dolphin Street" Most demonstrates that by not expanding the expectations for the instrument, it can be a very attractive and engaging instrument to listen to. Viola's way with the guitar fits this approach well. He avoids heavy chords, sticking with polished lines for the most part giving the flute/guitar sound a nice clean, melodic feel. Guitarist and flautist also show they can swing on "Softly as in a Morning Sunrise". Most picks up on vocals on a couple of tunes, such as on "As Time Goes By", with kind of a speaking sing song, reminding one of Jimmy Rowles. Throughout it all, West Coast bassist and writer Simon sets the motion for the music as well as constituting some solos along the way.
This set turns out to be more than 70 minutes of familiar music with three veterans who have played it many times before and know exactly what they have to do to make their playing a pleasant experience for the listener. Veteran players at their very best and highly recommended. Learn more about Richard Simon and his UFO bass at http://www.ufo-bass.com.
Personnel: Sam Most - Flute/Sax/Clarinet/Vocals; Al Viola - guitar; Richard Simon - Bass