There's no use denying it, so I'll confess: I am not a big jazz flute fan. The instrument has always seemed to me to be too slight to power a rhythm section and too breathy to maintain an individual attractiveness. But Herbie Mann and Sam Most have converted me on this unlikeliest of ensembles, a double flute quintet.
The Herbie Mann-Sam Most Quintet is a 1956 album of eleven genial, high-spirited tracks featuring Mann and Most trading bright, up-tempo, virtually saxophonic flute solos. They work over an energetic backdrop provided by guitarist Joe Puma, bassist Jimmy Gannon, and drummer Lee Kleinman. Most of the tracks are brisk and cheerful, although a few tastefully spare ballads ("Love Letters") are also included.
None of the tracks is over five minutes long, and with both Mann and Most (and occasionally Puma) soloing, they sometimes seem just to get started when they're over. But that may be part of how they've both made the Transverse Thing so appealing on this disc: they never overstay their welcome in solos, and they keep a steady and sober regard for the exigencies of the light touch.
Kudos to Mann and Most, wherever they are, and to the good folks at Avenue Jazz for bringing this one back.
Track listing: Fascinating Rhythm / Why Do I Love You? / It's Only Sunshine / Love Letters / Let's Get Away From It All / Flying Home / I'll Remember April / Empathy / It Might As Well Be Spring / Just One of Those Things / Seven Comes Eleven
Personell: Herbie Mann, Sam Most, flutes; Joe Puma, guitar; Jimmy Gannon, bass; Lee Kleinman, drums.