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Holly Hofmann and Bill Cunliffe: Just Duet

A tough act to sustain. But Hoffman, flute and Cunliffe, piano-extracting every color and nuance from their instruments-bring it off. Both are classically-trained with chops-a-go-go; both have long jazz resumes; they’re perfectly at ease in both idioms; their playing is so tight they seem to share a single musical brain. Hoffman’s first album for Azica included Bobby Shew, trumpet; Cunliffe; Bob Magnusson, bass; and the veteran Victor Lewis, drums. She is the only flutist to headline at the Village Vanguard (with pianist Kenny Barron, bassist Ray Brown and Lewis). Selections range from two originals by Cunliffe (and one with Hoffman), to standards like “Willow Weep” and “But Not For Me,” to “Bag’s Groove” and “I Mean You.” And to give themselves a little challenge, they recorded live-to-two-track, no mixing, no overdubbing, no enhancing: impressive and a nice result!

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