If less is indeed more than Holly Hofman has achieved perfection...
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
Holly Hofmann is a critically acclaimed artist with Phil Woods going so far as to refer to Hofmann and the great Hubert Laws as the two best flute players working today. I like her too...
Holly Hofmann brings the alto flute out of the jazz witness protection program and with an all star cast she creates a most impressive improvisational work embracing the zen like concept of less is more. While the range of the alto flute can be referred to as limited at best, this range does not limit the lyrical precision or harmonic base line of pure lyrical thought that often escapes those attempting such a daunting task such as this.
This eclectic offering features compositions from Mulgrew Miller and Pat Metheny as well as her own outstanding composition "Lumiere de la Vie." This deceptively subtle piece works a myriad of odd metered time signatures but never forces the listener into the abysses as simple melody reigns supreme. A multi-functional release, Low Life might be the straight ahead equivalent of what contemporary fans refer to as "chill" while standing on solid ground as an impressive improvisational release. Naturally when your band includes John Clayton and Jeff Hamilton then your work load has been lightened considerably and here is where the release begins scoring points quickly. Low Life is an organic exploratory from a collective conversation of artists that each have ample room to showcase their own melodic direction as well. Guitarist Anthony Wilson contributes his own dynamic offering in "Jack of Hearts" while John Clayton two compositions with the buoyant "Cedar Would" paying tribute to the late Cedar Walton.
The open warm sound of the alto flute is not anything new to the world of improvisational music, it is just rarely played this well. This most unique offering should have heads turning and critics smiling. A beautiful recording that embraces why we listen to music, melody. Simple unadorned melody.
Tracks: Jack of Hearts; Touch The Fog; Grow; Lumiere de la Vie; Cedar Would; The Very Thought of You; Make Me Rainbows; Soul-Leo; Farmer's Trust.
Personnel: Holly Hofmann: Alto Flute; Anthony Wilson: Guitar; Jeff Hamilton: Drums; John Clayton: Bass.