Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for readers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!


Flutes Aren't Just For Doublers: Dotti Anita Taylor, Ali Ryerson and Holly Hofmann/Mike Wofford

Ken Dryden By

Sign in to view read count

Dotti Anita Taylor
A Morning Glory

Ali Ryerson
Jammin' at the Jazz Corner
Sweet Jazz

Holly Hofmann & Mike Wofford
Live at Athenaeum Jazz, Vol. 2

Flute is not as uncommon an instrument in jazz, as many reed players double on it, but rarer is the musician who makes it their primary instrument. Two of the instrumentalists reviewed below play flute exclusively, while the third was a pianist first before adding flute.

After long careers as a math teacher and professional musician, Dotti Anita Taylor finally makes her recorded debut as a leader with A Morning Glory. Backed by a core group including veteran pianist Bertha Hope, bassist Miriam Sullivan and drummer Bernice Brooks, Taylor's warm tone on her instrument (with judicious use of vibrato in spots) and intuitive improvisations make each of the standards she plays sound fresh. Her driving Latin-flavored arrangement of Rodgers & Hart's "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered (adding guest percussionist Steve Kroon) and lush duet with guitarist Dave Tunnell on Thad Jones' magical ballad "A Child is Born stand out. Veteran Harlem saxophonist Patience Higgins (heard on soprano), trumpeter Eddie Allen and Tunnell make the quartet sound like a much bigger band in Taylor's potent hard bop composition "It's Misterios . Her bittersweet title track suggests recalling a lost love, while "Here Comes the Sun is not the familiar Beatles hit but an original that showcases the leader's warm vocal. Perhaps she won't take so long to record a followup session.

Ali Ryerson first recorded as a leader back in the mid '80s and is probably best known for her stints with the Red Baron and Concord labels, as well as her group Flutology, which also features flautists Holly Hofmann and Frank Wess. Her first live recording took place at the Jazz Corner in Hilton Head, South Carolina with two locally-based musicians, bassist George Sheck (with whom she had worked on many occasions when he still lived in New York City) and guitarist Howard Paul. Since this isn't a regularly working trio, they stick to familiar standards, but played with imagination. Whether playing flute or the lower-pitched alto flute, Ryerson's lyrical, creative improvisations are consistently swinging while giving her sidemen plenty of space. The trio's superb counterpoint in "Alone Together , the punchy unison between the leader and Paul in the buoyant take of "Lullaby of Birdland and her warm rendition of "Emily are among the many highlights. Jazz Corner owner Bob Masteller is added on flugelbone for the breezy finale of "Just Friends . The excellent engineering and attentive, quiet audience are added bonuses to this rewarding CD.

Flautist Holly Hofmann has been active on the jazz scene for over two decades and has recorded a number of her own CDs. First partnered on a gig with pianist Mike Wofford in 1985, she performed with him frequently and they eventually married in 2000; this intimate live performance, recorded at the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library in La Jolla, California, is just the two of them. Hofmann's two originals include the mournful ballad "Free Day (for Samuel Barber) , inspired in part by Barber's "Adagio For Strings . She also penned the dark, Latin-flavored "Presentimiento , while Wofford wrote the playful "Floof for her. The bright, lively Latin setting of the standard "Out of This World proves very refreshing. Hofmann switches to the warmer alto flute (her first recording on the instrument) for three tracks: the lush opener "More Than You Know , the first of two infrequently-performed Monk compositions (the moody ballad "Introspection ) which is played as a medley (the second piece is "Eronel ) and a breezy take of the standard "If I Should Lose You .

Tracks and Personnel

A Morning Glory

Tracks: Gentle Rain; It's Misterios; A Mroning Glory; Time after Time: Au Latin; Here Comes the Sun; Herkimer; Bewitched; I Thought About You; A Child is Born; The Cat's Walk.

Personnel: Dotti Anita Taylor: flute, vocals; Bertha Hope: piano; Miriam Sullivan: bass; Bernice Brooks: drums; Dave Tunnell: guitar; Steve Kroon: percussion; Eddie Allen: trumpet; Patience Higgins: saxophones

Jammin' at the Jazz Corner

Tracks: Speak Low; My One and Only Love; Alone Together; Body and Soul; Lullaby of Birdland; Emily; Recordame; Just Friends.

Personnel: Ali Ryerson: flute, alto flute; Howard Paul: guitar; George Sheck: bass; Bob Masteller: fluegelbone.

Live at Athenaeum Jazz, Vol. 2

Tracks: More Than You Know; Floof; Introspection/Eronel; No Mercy; Twelve; Free Day (for Samuel Barber); Out of This World; If I Should Lose you; Presentimiento; Exactly Like You.

Personnel: Holly Hofmann: flute, alto flute; Mike Wofford: piano.


comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Rock Candy: Montrose (eponymous) & Paper Money Multiple Reviews Rock Candy: Montrose (eponymous) & Paper Money
by Doug Collette
Published: December 29, 2017
Read Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Indo-Pak Coalition & Rez Abbasi’s Invocation Multiple Reviews Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Indo-Pak Coalition & Rez...
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 27, 2017
Read Solo: Reflections and Meditations on Monk & Najwa Multiple Reviews Solo: Reflections and Meditations on Monk & Najwa
by Doug Collette
Published: December 23, 2017
Read The Original Delaney & Bonnie (Accept No Substitute) and To Bonnie From Delaney Multiple Reviews The Original Delaney & Bonnie (Accept No Substitute)...
by Doug Collette
Published: December 23, 2017
Read Van Morrison: Roll With The Punches & Versatile Multiple Reviews Van Morrison: Roll With The Punches & Versatile
by Doug Collette
Published: December 17, 2017
Read The Possibilities of Percussion: Yarn/Wire & ensemble, et. al Multiple Reviews The Possibilities of Percussion: Yarn/Wire & ensemble,...
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: December 12, 2017
Read "Another Timbre Celebrates Its First Decade" Multiple Reviews Another Timbre Celebrates Its First Decade
by John Eyles
Published: December 9, 2017
Read "The Narell Brothers: Steelpan Music Merchants" Multiple Reviews The Narell Brothers: Steelpan Music Merchants
by Nigel Campbell
Published: September 9, 2017
Read "Dan Phillips Returns To Chicago" Multiple Reviews Dan Phillips Returns To Chicago
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "Jazz from the US Virgin Islands' new breed" Multiple Reviews Jazz from the US Virgin Islands' new breed
by Nigel Campbell
Published: November 4, 2017