A trio of piano, flute, and guitar is not a combination one ordinarily comes across in jazz. Yet the contrast between the varying pitches of the instruments emits a pleasant sensation. Of the three, Lori Bell
's inventive flute makes a major contribution to the attractiveness of the album. Her instrument gives off muted colors and a soft tone, never getting shrill or piercing even when she's swinging. Mackay
's piano is lyrical, with the notes sharply etched so the listener can hear each one alone and within the context of the melody. In addition to a deft facility with the guitar, Ron Satterfield
engages in Eddie Jefferson
-like wordless vocalizing on several cuts, such as "When Lights Are Low," engaging in call and response with the piano and flute. Not everything is a swinger. There is a lovely, languorous "When You Wish upon a Star," with Bell carrying the melody while Mackay
's piano firmly comps underneath. The CD is well-stocked with surprises, all of them pleasant. Mackay
quotes "I've Got Plenty of Nothing" during the Ellington medley of "In a Sentimental Mood" and "I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart." Satterfield does "Ding Dong the Witch Is Dead," borrowing Clark Terry
's mumbles style of vocalizing. This is an album of happy marriages, with a play list of both familiar and original material, and imaginative solos and solid ensemble playing that make for entertaining performances. The label's unusual name, Webster's Last Word, comes from a jazz spot of the same name that producer Chuck Perrin opened in downtown San Diego's East Village 35 years ago. This album is heartily recommended.