Holly's Low Life

Bruce Von Stiers

What do you think of when hearing the phrase low life? Me, it conjures up thoughts of someone who isn't a very nice person. I would never think of it being the title of a jazz album. Especially a jazz flute album. But there is indeed a jazz flute album with the title of Low Life. It is from jazz flutist Holly Hofmann.

I've reviewed a few albums of Holly's. They usually have titles that reflect the mood she's trying to invoke or a little twist on who's working on the album with her. Other albums I've reviewed from Holly include Turn Signal and Three's Company. The title for this new album also has a little twist to it. It features Holly on the alto flute, an instruments she's used on other albums but hadn't yet featured. The sub title for the album is The Alto Flute Project. The press release for the album states that Holly is bringing a new instrument to a higher plane. So you kind of get where Holly is going with the title.

Helping out on the album are drummer Jeff Hamilton, bassist John Clayton and Holly's longtime collaborator pianist Mike Wofford. Guitarist Anthony Wilson performs on four of the songs on the album.

The album has nine songs and a play time of forty minutes. It was produced by Mike Wofford and Thomas Burns. The album was recorded at Tritone Studios by Talley Sherwood and mastered by David Glasser. It is being released on the Capri Records Ltd. label. Holly's earlier albums were on this label as well.

The album begins with a nice and easy piece called Jack of Hearts. It was written by Anthony Wilson. In another interesting twist, on Wilson's album Jack of Hearts, he had Jeff Hamilton playing on it with him. This song definitely showcases Holly's wonderful abilities on the alto flute.

Touch The Fog is the first of two original compositions that John Clayton brought to the album. This is a soft and easy song. It made me think of gentle lovers embraces. There is some nice light piano and bass on the song.

Grow (for Dick Oatts) is from sax musician/ composer Ben Schachter. It is yet another gentle piece. It has a really nice guitar solo in the middle.

That is followed by the only composition on the album that Holly herself wrote. The song is Lumiere de la Vie. It is a beautiful, yet an almost sad sounding piece.

Cedar Would is a cool, toe-tapping jazz tune. It is the second John Clayton composition for the album.

The Very Thought Of You is a Ray Noble song that has been part of many jazz musician's repertoire. Holly does an excellent job with the song on this album.

Make Me Rainbows was first heard as the love song for the Dick Van Dyke film, Fitzwilly. John Williams wrote this song among others for the film's soundtrack. Holly's flute rendition of the song is superb.

Pianist Mulgrew Miller recorded the album Wingspan in 1987. On that album was a great song, Soul-Leo. Holly and her companion musicians do a wonderful job on this song. It has a slight Latin groove that is really cool.

The final song on the album is Pat Matheny's Farmer's Trust. Already beautiful, with the alto flute music of Holly, this is an exceptional piece.

Sweet, gentle, serene and beautiful is how I'd describe the music of Low Life. Holly Hofmann has once again provided a terrific flute jazz experience.

Low Life: The Alto Flute Project can be found on amazon.com and other online and traditional music stores.

The Holly Hofmann official web site is http://www.hollyhofmann.com/ She also has a Facebook band page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Holly-Hofmann/232860351658



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© 2015 Bruce E Von Stiers