Yoshino

Passion Flute

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Using little more than one hand, you can count the number of prominent jazz musicians who rely on the flute as their sole instrument. Herbie Mann, Jeremy Steig, Hubert Laws, Paul Horn, and Holly Hoffman come to mind. It is generally the second instrument for many fine saxophone players such as Frank Wess and James Moody. Even in classical music, the flute takes a back seat to other members of the symphony orchestra as a solo instrument, despite concerti by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Antonio Vivaldi, and Jean-Pierre Rampal. Now comes an attractive album from Japanese artist and Berklee College of Music graduate Yoshino, performing and singing mostly her own compositions. Using the alto flute, she exploits the finest features of the instrument over a play list of 11 tunes in a mellow, seamless, personal way. Whether it is the lovely ballad "I Want You," backed by strings electronically created by Jimmy Wisner, or a lilting "A Variation From Samba de Orfeu," working hand in glove with Nelson Veras' acoustic guitar as they play adaptations of Luiz Bonfá's Brazilian piece, she displays an amazing flute fluency. Her playing reveals the number of emotions the flute can convey, such as poignancy and happiness in the same tune, "Très Nostalgique." The other major member of the group, bassist Gildas Bocle, is prominent on such cuts as "In a Twilight Mood." Yoshino doesn't sing on all cuts. But when she does, it's like adding another instrument with her wordless vocalizing on "Eriko's Song." While staying with mainly slower numbers, Yoshino brings out her swinging credentials on "Intimate Relationship." With the advent of Yoshino, one will have to start moving over to the next finger to count the number of fine performers who work solely on flute. Recommended.

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