Jazz CD Reviews

Mike Wofford – It’s Personal – Capri Records:
Al Daniels – Grand Piano Stories – Dan3Music

A pair of excellent solo piano improvisations.

Published on July 3, 2013

Mike Wofford – It’s Personal [TrackList follows] – Capri Records 74121-2 ****:

Al Daniels – Grand Piano Stories  [TrackList follows] – Dan3Music ****:

Mike Wofford played with the Lighthouse All-Stars and with Bud Shank, Shorty Rogers, Red Norvo, Chet Baker, Art Pepper and many others, and was accompanist for June Christy. He picked some fine standards for these dozen tracks, but more than that he picked tunes that one usually doesn’t fine on jazz CDs. He also included four of his own tunes, including a tribute to Earl Hines. Ellington, Dizzy and Toots Camerata are represented, and perhaps the most interesting track is No. 11—a medley of two entirely different tunes both titled “Once in a Lifetime.”

His style is generally relaxed and expressive, with some virtuoso flying hands here and there. One seldom misses the rhythm section. Wofford is married to leading jazz flutist Holly Hofmann.

TrackList:

1 Little Melonae (4:55)
2 It’s Personal (4:30)
3 Cole Porter (4:14)
4 The Eighth Veil (6:46)
5 Spin (2:59)
6 I Waited For You (5:32)
7 Springsville (4:09)
8 Candle (4:50)
9 Nica’s Tempo (4:42)
10 Hines Catch-Up (5:58)
11 Once In a Lifetime/Once In a Lifetime (6:21)
12 No More (3:08) 

LA-based pianist/composer Al Daniels blends smooth jazz and more adventurous jazz byways in his solo and group stints. He has provided keyboard support for saxist Ronnie Laws as well as the CJS Quintet. He says his influences range from Herbie Hancock to Jim Croce, and the pop song is a strong element in his sound. This is a most enjoyable collection of ten tracks, with one each by his mentioned influences, and one by himself. In some ways it was surprising in the often straightforward and not that jazzy treatments.

TrackList:

1. Maiden/Dolphin Dance
2. Pensativa
3. Someone to Watch Over Me
4. Stella By Starlight
5. Sophisticated Lady
6. The Way to You
7. Time in a Bottle
8. Tones for Joan’s Bones
9. Never Never Land
10. With A Song in My Heart

—John Henry




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