The flute is a hard sell for a small core of jazz purists who'd rather it were confined to the precincts of the local symphony orchestra. At best a change of pace, at worst a nuisance. Those who feel that way had best stop reading at this point while I sing the praises of Holly Hofmann, a flutist (or is it flautist?) with a pleasing sound, exemplary technique and irrepressible swing in her soul.
Hofmann's latest album (and tenth overall) leans toward the Latin, which isn't a bad idea, as the flute rests quite comfortably in that milieu. The laid-back numbers are fine, but Hofmann really shows her mettle on the burners, Ray Bryant's "Tonk, Billy Strayhorn's "Johnny Come Lately, and Matt Dennis' "Will You Still Be Mine, swinging solidly at the helm of a blue-plate rhythm section comprised of husband Mike Wofford (a congenial accompanist) at the piano, rock-solid bassist Peter Washington and resourceful drummer Victor Lewis.
The first two numbers are dedicated to a friend and colleague, the late bassist Ray Brown, who arranged the unusually mellow version of Cole Porter's "Everything I Love and assembled the seaworthy "CRS-CRAFT, on which Hofmann sparkles and Washington and Lewis trade incisive fours. The Latin-style "Minor Miracle, co-written by Hofmann and Wofford, is followed by a flute/piano duet, Antonio Carlos Jobim's wistful "Samba do Avião (Song of the Jet). Another Brazilian ballad, Francis Hime's "Minha, rounds out the handsome program.
In sum, a bright, well-shaped album by four outstanding players. You'll hear no complaints from this eavesdropper.
Track Listing: Everything I Love; CRS-CRAFT; Minor Miracle; Samba do Avi
Personnel: Holly Hofmann, flute; Mike Wofford, piano; Peter Washington, bass; Victor Lewis, drums.
Year Released: 2005
| Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream