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Holly Hofmann/Bill Cunliffe: Just Duet

A tough act to sustain. But Hofmann, flute, and Cunliffe, piano-extracting every color and nuance from their instruments-bring it off. Both are classically-trained with virtuosic chops; both have long jazz resumes; both perfectly at ease in tow idioms: their playing is so tight they seem to share a single musical brain. Hofmann’s first album for Azica included Bobby Shew, trumpet; Cunliffe; Bob Magnusson, bass; and the veteran Victor Lewis, drums. She is 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 Hoffmann) to standards like “Willow Weep” and “But Not for Me”. . . to “Bag’s Goove,” and “I Mean You.” Recorded live-to-two-track, no mixing, no overdubbing, no enhancing. Nice!

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