First Date

CAPRI 74060 2

Frank Wess, bass and c flute; Holly Hofmann, c flute; Ali Ryerson, alto and c flute; Mike Wofford, piano; Peter Washington, bass; Ben Riley, drums

An unusual front line of three flutes makes for some comfortable listening; scampering deliciously over the opening number, Charlie Parker's "Be Bop", their balance and blending is delicate and exciting; these are Jazz players who know their trade. Peter Washington on bass and drummer Ben Riley know just what to do when holding a controlled line with good supporting underplay. Pianist Mike Wofford slips in his solos with equal flowing grace; he also did the arrangements, with the exception of "Equal Parts" and "Pretty Is", both written and arranged by Frank Weiss. "Rainsville", is a strong number, with a quiet, brooding element. The third piece written by Frank Weiss, "This I Dig Of You" opens with a flowing piano and is nicely perky in its presentation. "Pretty Is" swings along gracefully and lives up to its title, "Equal Parts" goes upbeat as the three flutes swap solos and offer some fine ensemble playing. Thad Jones's "A Child Is Born", which is done in one take without rehearsal, has a wonderfully delicate interplay of flutes, backed with great care by the rhythm section; this is an excellent track. All nine tracks are well arranged; the gelling of the six musicians is a crucial element in the success of this CD. Jazz flute players do not grow on trees; to have three playing together is well worth the listen.

by Ferdinand Maylin

New Sounds - December 2003/January 2004 CD Reviews