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 trio or in solo. Irrespective of its origins, each song gets a thorough workout from the imaginative mind and skilled hands of Mr. Wofford. He's a deep thinker on "Cyprus" where he first converses with drummer Duncan Moore and then with Darek "Oles" Oleszkiewicz's bass. He then becomes quite energized on an almost seven minute excursion with his own "H²" which includes a scintillating, fast hands solo by Moore. On the standards, Wofford tends to embellish more than on the other material. One reason, of course, is that standards attract good jazz musicians because their structure opens the door for the player to be challenged and creative more so than on lesser compositions. Ironically, it's the fact that such standards are structured that allows jazz players to create extended improvisations. "My Heart Stood Still" goes on for more than seven minutes and nothing is repeated.
There's nothing like a good piano trio CD to liven up one's day and Mike Wofford's latest will brighten things up considerably. Recommended. Visit Mike's highly informative web site at www.mikewofford.com.
Personnel: Mike Wofford - Piano; Darek "Oles" Oleszkiewicz - Bass; Duncan Moore - Drums