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Mike Wofford: It's Personal

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Pianist Mike Wofford can boast decades of high-caliber sideman gigs: notably with vocalists Ella Fitzgerald (for whom he served as music director), Mel Tormé and Sarah Vaughan, as well as drummer Shelly Manne, saxophonist Phil Woods, guitarist Joe Pass and others. His studio work is amply represented on records by a dizzying variety of artists. And his frequent collaborations with his wife, flutist Holly Hofmann, have been warmly received. Solo sets are not unknown in Wofford's lengthy discography but, on the evidence of the solo recital It's Personal, would be welcome with greater frequency.In particular, Wofford's style is ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mike Wofford / Holly Hofmann Quintet: Turn Signal

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Holly Hofmann is an energetic, swinging, straight-ahead jazz flautist who has been performing for over 30 years. Mike Wofford, her husband, a recognized piano master, co-leads on Turn Signal, playing with an understated, intuitively rhythmic style. The two now live in San Diego, California, but travel extensively for performances. Recording her first disc for Capri in 1989, Turn Signal is her twelfth CD as a leader, in a career that has included collaborations with pianists Kenny Barron and Cedar Walton, and bassist Ray Brown. Wofford has been on the scene since the sixties, performing with greats including ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mike Wofford / Holly Hofmann Quintet: Turn Signal

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Down in out-of-the-way San Diego, California (that's out-of-the-way in a New York-centric jazz world), flautist Holly Hofmann and pianist Mike Wofford have been steadily making world-class jazz for a couple of decades. Wofford--who has spent much of his career in supporting roles, backing vocalists Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald, saxophonists Zoot Sims and Benny Carter, and many more--is evolving into a first-rate leader. His Live at Athanaeum (Capri Records, 2004) demonstrated the pianist's acumen in the trio context, while Live at Athenaeum Jazz, Volume 2 (Capri Records, 2007), with partner-in-life-and-music Hofmann, showcased the couple in an intimate duo setting.

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Holly Hofman / Mike Wofford: Live at Athenaeum Jazz, Volume 2

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Holly Hofmann (flute) and Mike Wofford (piano) make beautiful music together. The husband and wife have teamed for several acclaimed recordings including Flutology, Minor Miracle, and Further Adventures, all on Capri Records. They continue with another superb set of duets on Live at Athenaeum Jazz, Volume 2.

Both Hofmann and Wofford have a concentrated sense for the lyrical, adding an air of romanticism and injecting a sense of humor into their playing, all of which hinges on an emotional pith.

They pair two Monk compositions in “Introspection/Eronel. Hofmann plays the alto flute on the first and gives the title its ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Holly Hofmann / Mike Wofford: Live at Athenaeum Jazz, Volume 2

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Flutist Holly Hofmann's Live at Athenaeum Jazz, Volume 2 was recorded during the summer of 2006 at San Diego' s Athenaeum Jazz Music and Arts Library, in duet with musical partner/husband, Mike Wofford. Prior to the quartet recording Minor Miracle (Capri, 2005) Wofford's piano trio released the well-received Live at Athenaeum Jazz (Capri, 2004).

Though earlier efforts may be hard to come by, Hofmann's recent signing with Colorado-based Capri means she is now on a larger indie label. Previously, she was on the smaller Azica label, coincident to her tenure with the Ray Brown group.

Originally ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Holly Hofmann / Mike Wofford: Live at Athenaeum Jazz, Volume 2

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San Diego isn't known as a jazz town in the same way New York or Chicago are, but this city in the southwest corner of the country has its fair share of fine venues for the music, and boasts some first rate artists as well.One of the best places to hear San Diego jazz is the Athenaeum Music and Arts Library's Music Room, an intimate setting with no audience member more than twenty feet from the performers. On August 2006, two of San Diego's finest jazz musicians, flutist Holly Hofmann and pianist Mike Wofford, presented a duo performance ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mike Wofford Trio: Live at Athenaeum Jazz

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Mike Wofford is one of those unsung yet enormously talented pianists (there are a lot of them) whose names rarely surface in the so-called “best of popularity contests (excuse me, polls) conducted by various jazz periodicals. One of the reasons, of course, is that Wofford makes his home in San Diego; another, closely related to the first, is that he hasn't the name recognition of a Keith Jarrett, McCoy Tyner, Chick Corea, Kenny Barron, Hank Jones, Cecil Taylor, Oscar Peterson, Herbie Hancock... the list goes on.

But despite keeping a relatively low profile, Wofford manages to stay quite busy, accompanying ...

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Mike Wofford & Holly Hofmann

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Mike Wofford Trio Live at Athenaeum Jazz Capri 2004

Pianist Mike Wofford's trio allows this in demand vocal accompanist and arranger to stretch out and lead the way with a swinging rhythm section that includes master drummer Victor Lewis and top NYC bassist Peter Washington. Live at Athenaeum Jazz captures this unit going through their paces at a San Diego concert while Minor Miracle has them taking a supporting role to Wofford's significant other, world class flutist Holly Hofmann. Opening their concert program with a relaxing 5/4 take on the standard ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mike Wofford Trio: Live At Athenaeum Jazz

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Pianist Mike Wofford has been a mainstay of the West Coast jazz scene for many decades and has been recording since 1966. Based out of San Diego, the location for this recording, he has been heard on many recordings as member of groups led by Shelly Manne and His Men, Shorty Rogers and James Moody. In 1979 he was chosen to be the pianist/musical director for Sarah Vaughan. Later, Wofford worked with Ella Fitzgerald, appearing on her final album and continuing with the singer until her retirement in 1994. Over the years, Mike Wofford recorded under his own name for ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mike Wofford Trio: Live At Athenaeum Jazz

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Mike Wofford played for fifteen years at the Athenaeum jazz concert series in San Diego, right from its initiation in 1989. Came the time to release its first recording and the spotlight, appropriately enough, shone on Wofford. He set his sights on New York and beckoned Peter Washington and Victor Lewis to join him.

The trio setting offers a snug home for jazz and if the musicians have empathy, they can raise a song to a high level through communication and artistry. These three work beautifully together and, in doing so, structure each song with a sense of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mike Wofford Trio: Live at the Anthenaeum Jazz

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My perspective, speaking as a reviewer with access to large amounts of music, may not be that of the average fan, but 2004 seems to be shaping up as the year of outstanding piano trio work by higher profile players like Keith Jarrett and Brad Mehldau, as well as by a slew of lesser-known but no less talented artists like Randy Halberstadt ( Parallel Tracks, Origin Records), Satoko Fuji ( Illusion Suite, NatSat Records), and now Mike Wofford, with Live at Anthenaeum Jazz.This set mixes some lesser-known standards--"My Old Flame," Ellington's “Take the Coltrane," Irving Berlin's “The Best ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bert Turetzky / Mike Wofford: Transition & Transformation

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Within seconds of hearing the opening strains of this album, it's obvious that Bert Turetzky and Mike Wofford are serious cats. At once visceral, studied, and passionate, the music leaps out of the speakers like a force of nature. Even when they cover tunes by Monk, Mingus, or Oscar Pettiford, the results are startlingly original. They avoid a common pitfall of virtuosity--although they are definitely expert players, they aren't hung up on sheer technique. Like all great players, they understand that the music comes first, and that great technique serves only as a vehicle to grasp at the mane of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mike Wofford: Time Cafe

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The piano, Mike Wofford writes, is an “instrument of endless possibilities,” many of which are brought to light on his first album for Azica Records. Wofford certainly is qualified to advance such an idea, having played piano for almost forty years with a veritable who’s who of celebrated Jazz artists including Shelly Manne, Chet Baker, Bud Shank, Shorty Rogers, Mel Tormé, Joe Pass, Gary Burton, Lee Konitz, Sarah Vaughan, Lockjaw Davis, Zoot Sims, Benny Carter, Ella Fitzgerald, Kenny Burrell, Art Farmer, Benny Golson and Charlie Haden, to name only some. He brings that wide experience to bear on these emphatic ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mike Wofford: Time Caf

P>While Mike Wofford has a very respectable discography as a leader going back to 1966, it's his work as the consummate accompanist that many remember. He has backed some of the great vocalists of our time including Mel Tormé, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald and Lorez Alexandria. His presence has also been a stabilizing effect for newer vocalists including Mary Ann Douglas, Jackie Ryan and Madeline Eastman. But on this album he shows he is pianist of considerable skill in his own right.

Time Cafe presents a balanced play list of standards, originals and less familiar material played either with his ...



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