Flutist Holly Hofmann
and Grammy-nominated pianist/composer Bill Cunliffe come through with a
charming release, Three’s Company on Capri Records.
The duet is accompanied, selectively, by guests Regina Carter on violin,
Terell Stafford on trumpet, Ken Peplowski on clarinet and Alvester Garnett
on drums. On four tracks, it’s Hofmann and Cunliffe. On the other four,
one of the guests joins them.
“Dalto” is a lively piece that has a mild Latin flavor. The two counter
well off each other. Stafford joins on the upbeat title song. Flute and
muted trumpet blend on the melody, with the piano providing background and
fills. Stafford performs a bouncy solo, backed by the piano. Cunliffe
solos as well. A highlight of the song is when all three take off on
separate, yet related flights.
Peplowski steps in on “Reunion.” The reed instruments share the melody,
sans piano at times. Hofmann then leads with Cunliffe setting the rhythm
and Peplowski answering the flute’s calls. Garnett contributes to “Sweet
Andy,” and Carter appears on “Star-Crossed Lovers.”
Hofmann, a native of northern Ohio, played with Mike Wofford, with whom
she formed a quartet. Her associations include Slide Hampton, Frank Wess,
Kenny Barron and Kevin Mahogany. Cunliffe studied jazz at Duke University
and has won several Down Beat awards for his big band and
Together, Hofmann and Cunliffe flow easily between jazz and classical
music, sometimes making one indistinguishable from the other. That,
combined with their chemistry, makes Three’s Company work.