Mike Wofford – Turn Signal

Mike Wofford, Jazz Pianist

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Mike Wofford – Turn Signal

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Review by Ken Dryden  | From: www.allmusic.com

Pianist Mike Wofford and flautist Holly Hofmann make a good team, as after they’d played together for a while, they became husband and wife, too. From this quintet session, they invited trumpeter Terell Stafford (who made a name for himself as a part of Bobby Watson’s Horizon as well as recording as a leader), bassist Rob Thorson, and drummer Richard Sellers. The blend of flute and trumpet creates a warm harmony throughout much of the album, which is a compelling mix of strong originals and overlooked gems. Wofford’s loping “The Dipper” is a tribute to Horace Silver, though it doesn’t mimic his compositions. He integrates voicings similar to the jazz master’s into his own framework. Hofmann’s rambunctious post-bop vehicle “M-Line” sets the quintet afire, with sizzling solos by the composer and Stafford, followed by Wofford’s intense workout. Bobby Watson’s infectious, Latin-flavored “Karita” will be familiar to the alto saxophonist’s fans, as he has recorded it several times and Stafford has likely played it on gigs with him. Stafford’s fiery solo is exuberant without going overboard, followed by Hofmann’s expressive, sublime solo. Wofford’s bluesy playing is the highlight of Jimmy Forrest’s “Soul Street,” as Thorson and Sellers lay down a solid foundation underneath him. Dick Twardzik is nearly forgotten due to his early death from a drug overdose in the ’50s, but “The Girl from Greenland” is evidence of his promise as a composer. Wofford’s engaging trio interpretation pays tribute to the little-recorded pianist. Turn Signal is easily one of the best recordings by Mike Wofford and Holly Hofmann.

 

 

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