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John Hicks & Elise Wood: Beautiful Friendship

- CD Reviews

John Hicks & Elise Wood: Beautiful Friendship
2005 Noble Music Co., Ltd.
A 2-CD Pack
John Hicks on Piano
Elise Wood on Flute

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
February 5, 2006

CD #1 is a compilation of three original works: Interlude/Heart to Heart/Deux Battements de Coeur, Starcrossed Lovers, Untitled Dedication/Warm Valley/Day Dream. CD #2, a collection of eleven standards, is mellow and mellifluous, with generous solos for both flute and piano. John Hicks and Elise Wood fuse melodies with a twist of jazz, but never conceal the inherent beauty of each song. These musicians have superb command of their instruments and of the moment, whether it be to carry the theme, to join the theme, or to support the theme.

Notable tracks:

#2 –Beautiful Friendship – Composed by S. Styne/D. Kahn. With a piano lead and a buoyant melody, this title piece is clear and singable. Hicks adds some keyboard flourishes for signature style.

#5 –Sophisticated Lady – Composed by Duke Ellington-Tempo Music. Hicks’ command of the jazz idiom rings with resonance, as this piece showcases his experience with Ellington’s repertoire. Wood’s flute soars and warbles toward the end, finally fusing for a fancy finale.

#6 –April in Paris – Composed by Vernon Duke. This track is clearly a showcase for Wood, with her elegant entrance this time and Hicks’ keyboard collaboration. The main theme is apparent at almost a minute or so, and the improvisational quality is engaging.

#10 –Afternoon in Paris – Composed by John Lewis. Although both flute and piano bring in this scintillating piece, Hicks takes a lengthy and lightning solo across his keyboard and over the ocean, with a breezy Parisian flute fusion toward the conclusion. This track adds to the urban, sophisticated genre of this recording.

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