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John Hicks/Elise Woods
Single Petal of a Rose,  Mapleshade Productions CD 02532, 1994 (65:29)

Romantic jazz, and what’s wrong with that?

The flute has always seemed an odd instrument for jazz. There is something so subtle and predictable about its tone that I never feel the player has enough room to really improvise. On this recording the fine pianist John Hicks teams up with flutist Elise Wood for a variety of ballads that provide a mellow and romantic, candle-lit dinner kind of sound. The title track, composed by Duke Ellington, is played with simplicity and elegance by the duo. Bassist Walter Booker helps out on a number of tracks and provides a steady foundation for the two to encircle. On the tender David Murray composition, "Ballad of a Black Man," trumpeter Jack Walrath joins Hicks-Woods and the three improvise together as coequal voices. Walrath also joins in with a muted trumpet on the final track "Virgo." Hicks is at his best on Gershwin’s "Embraceable You" and I kept wanting to hear more of him alone throughout the CD.–  Mark Craemer

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