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Mike Wofford / Holly Hofmann Quintet: Turn Signal (2011)

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Mike Wofford / Holly Hofmann Quintet: Turn Signal 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
Sarah Vaughan
Sarah Vaughan
1924 - 1990
vocalist
and Ella Fitzgerald
Ella Fitzgerald
Ella Fitzgerald
1917 - 1996
vocalist
, saxophonists Zoot Sims
Zoot Sims
Zoot Sims
1925 - 1985
sax, tenor
and Benny Carter
Benny Carter
Benny Carter
1907 - 2003
sax, alto
, 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.

For her part, Hofmann fronted a marvelous quartet on Minor Miracle (Capri Records, 2004), with Wofford holding down the piano chair, as well as teaming engaging in a true flute fest on First Date (Capri Records, 2003), with Ali Ryerson
Ali Ryerson
Ali Ryerson

flute
and multiple reedman Frank Wess
Frank Wess
Frank Wess
1922 - 2013
sax, tenor
, as part of a trio dubbed Flutology.

With Turn Signal, the Wofford/Hofmann collaboration veers into tribute territory, opening with the groove-centric "The Dipper, (for Horace Silver
Horace Silver
Horace Silver
1928 - 2014
piano
)." Employing a quintet with the inspired choice of trumpeter Terell Stafford
Terell Stafford
Terell Stafford
b.1966
trumpet
in the frontline with Hofmann, the tune has a modern feel and uniquely silky harmonic sound with the melding of trumpet and flute. Hofmann blows a solo with nuanced coolness and some surprising phrases, while Stafford possesses a bright and succinct sound in front of a deliberate rhythm.

With beautifully unfolding harmonies, "Esperanca" is Wofford's quintet take on the orchestral original by composer/arranger Vince Mendoza
Vince Mendoza
Vince Mendoza

band/orchestra
. Wofford's pensive solo emerges from fluid smoothness of the horns, backed adeptly by Rob Thorsen's muscular bass lines and drummer Richard Sellers' subtle percussive intricacies.

The group takes saxophonist Bobby Watson
Bobby Watson
Bobby Watson
b.1953
sax, alto
's "Karita" aloft, a soaring in the clouds affair with more delectable harmonies from Hofmann and Stafford, whose solo reaches for heaven in front of the locked-in-tight, cranking-it-up rhythm section, leading to Hofmann's gorgeous songbird turn.

Polished and adventurous, this is a gem of a CD. Engaging and, with the teaming of trumpet and flute, not the standard quintet jazz experience, Jimmy Forrest
Jimmy Forrest
Jimmy Forrest
1920 - 1980
sax, tenor
's "Soul Street" is a lesson in serious soulful swing. The group closes out with Hofmann's juiced-up "M-Line," the flautist at her most inspired as Stafford burns hot and brassy.


Track Listing: The Dipper (for Horace Silver); Esperanca; Karita; Soul Street; Pure Imagination; The Girl From Greenland; M-Line.

Personnel: Holly Hofmann: alto flute, piccolo; Terell Stafford: trumpet, flugelhorn; Mike Wofford: piano; Rob thorsen: bass; Richard Sellers: drums.

Record Label: Capri Records


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