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

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Mike Wofford / Holly Hofmann Quintet: Turn Signal 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
Kenny Barron
Kenny Barron
b.1943
piano
and Cedar Walton
Cedar Walton
Cedar Walton
1934 - 2013
piano
, and bassist Ray Brown
Ray Brown
Ray Brown
1926 - 2002
bass, acoustic
. Wofford has been on the scene since the sixties, performing with greats including singers Sarah Vaughan
Sarah Vaughan
Sarah Vaughan
1924 - 1990
vocalist
and Ella Fitzgerald
Ella Fitzgerald
Ella Fitzgerald
1917 - 1996
vocalist
, drummer Shelly Manne
Shelly Manne
Shelly Manne
1920 - 1984
drums
,and saxophonists Benny Carter
Benny Carter
Benny Carter
1907 - 2003
sax, alto
and Zoot Sims
Zoot Sims
Zoot Sims
1925 - 1985
sax, tenor
. As drummer Jeff Hamilton
Jeff Hamilton
Jeff Hamilton
b.1953
drums
has said that Wofford's musicality brings out the best in anyone he plays with.

Here, the duo takes a different approach from their usual contexts, bringing in esteemed trumpeter Terell Stafford
Terell Stafford
Terell Stafford
b.1966
trumpet
, from the East Coast, who considerably enlivens the proceedings. Bassist Rob Thorsen and drummer Richard Sellers very capably drive the quintet.

The set list of seven extended tunes offers ample opportunity for everyone to stretch out and show their stuff. The disc is bookended with two stellar originals. The opener, Wofford's homage "The Dipper (for Horace Silver
Horace Silver
Horace Silver
1928 - 2014
piano
)," starts and ends with a stately unison line, prodded by a march tempo, slowly building in intensity, bringing in eloquent contributions from Hoffman, Stafford and Wofford. Hoffman's up-tempo closer, "M-Line," was written for her dog Emily, and features a hot flute/drum duo before the others come in to light it up this cooker and take it to a blazing finish.

Along the way, an extended take of Bobby Watson
Bobby Watson
Bobby Watson
b.1953
sax, alto
's tuneful "Karita," which shows off Stafford's considerable technique, is a highlight, as is Jimmy Forrest
Jimmy Forrest
Jimmy Forrest
1920 - 1980
sax, tenor
's bluesy "Soul Street," where Stafford and Hoffman take turns—trumpet wailing, flute down and funky—leading to a shouting horn chorus of a climax.

Wofford's talent is out front in a trio setting on Richard Twardzik
Richard Twardzik
Richard Twardzik
1931 - 1955
piano
's catchy "The Girl from Greenland." His sensitive interaction with Thorsen and Sellers is a pleasure to hear.

Altogether Turn Signal does signal a change in direction for Wofford and Hoffman, and the journey is well-rewarded.


Track Listing: The Dipper (For Horace Silver); Esperança; Karita; Soul Street; Pure Imagination; The Girl from Greenland; M-Line.

Personnel: Mike Wofford: piano; Holly Hofmann: flute; Terrell Stafford: trumpet; Rob Thorsen: bass; Richard Sellers: drums.

Record Label: Capri Records


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