Half Notes: Holly Hofmann and Bill Cunliffe – Three's Company (2010)

Share this:

by S. Victor Aaron

Although she’s made bop-oriented records for over twenty years, Holly Hoffmann is not as well known as she probably should be. A flautist of the first order, she’s the logical heir to Frank Wess’ legacy. Bill Cunliffe is accomplished in the jazz world himself, having won the Monk piano competition in 1989, recorded with some heavy hitters like Frank Sinatra and Natalie Cole, and has made a string of well-regarded records as a leader for nearly twenty years. But he also has a long history of recording with Hoffman, having served as a sideman and co-led three prior dates with her. Two of them, Just Duet Vols. 1 and 2, were almost entirely true duos, while Live At Birdland was a quartet setting with Victor Lewis and Ray Brown. Three’s Company is more like Just Duet, except that half the tracks are trios, and therein lies the twist: the third player each time is a different player with a different instrument (Regina Carter, violin; Alvester Garnett, drums; Ken Peplowski, clarinet; Terell Stafford, trumpet). The music is the kind of stuff they love to do together: bop, but with classical influences. Some of it falls under “chamber” jazz, such as “Pavane,” while the title cut (with Stafford) is noteworthy for the unison bebop lines. However, the foundation for this record is a rock-solid rapport between Hoffmann and Cunliffe: on “Dalto” for instance, Cunliffe’s piano plays both the bass line and melodic counterpart to Hoffman’s flute, make it sound fuller than the mere two instruments playing it. All told, Three’s Company is yet another successful collaboration between two longtime musical partners.

Something Else!

Something Else!

The Something Else! webzine, an accredited Google News affiliate, has been featured in The New York Times and NPR.com's A Blog Supreme, while our writers have also been published by USA Today, Jazz.com and UltimateClassicRock.com, among others. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Something Else!
Share this:
Close