the highway, a turn signal indicates a motor vehicle is about to leave the
road. Pianist Mike Wofford and flutist Holly Hofmann take that concept in
another direction with Turn Signal (Capri Records, 2012). Rather
than stray from the proverbial beaten path, the duo lead a quintet on a
mid-range trip through familiar territory.
Accompanying them on this journey are trumpeter Terrel Stafford, bassist
Rob Thorsen and drummer Richard Sellers. The set begins and ends with
original songs, penned respectively by the two leaders, but the rest of
the songs are fresh interpretations of work by and/or about their jazz
Wofford penned “The Dipper,” a tribute to Horace Silver. This ambient
piece captures some of Silver’s chord voices. Hofmann leads for most of
the piece, but the spirited middle solo by Stafford is a highlight. For
the most part, the song is a leisurely piece, but the trumpet livens it up
briefly, setting up Wofford’s interlude.
The band covers “Karita,” penned by alto flutist Bobby Watson. Trumpet and
flute blend beautifully on the melody. The entire ensemble is engaged,
regardless of which instrument is out front. Trumpet, flute and piano take
turns, but the bass and drums are felt throughout.
Wofford and Hofmann have been collaborators since 1989 and romantic
partners since 2000. Wofford has played in support of several renowned
artists, including Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald and Zoot Sims. Hofmann,
who plays flute, alto flute and piccolo on this date, studied with Frank Wess and Slide Hampton, and later connected with pianist Bill Cunliffe.
Wofford and Hofmann epitomize the phrase, “make beautiful music