In an atmosphere of relaxed cordiality, Woods and Mann explore a set of jazz classics, and a couple of their own originals. A touch of bossa nova, and some variations in instrumentation add a change of pace, some sensitive accompanists stimulate without intruding, and the result is an effortless flow of invention that may not contain too many surprises but is never boring..
It is an exceptionally well-paced program, with Woods and Mann heard both separately and together. Mann's features reflect his more exotic interests, three originals with a Brazilian flavor--Bill Evans' We Will Meet Again, Antonio Carlos Jobim's Caminhos Cruzados and Mann's own Sir Charles Duke--and one, Jelek, from his Sona Terra recording with its Eastern European roots. For his feature, Blood Count, Woods reveals a streak of Johnny Hodges, while reminding us what a fine clarinetist he is on another slice of Ellingtonia-Azure Add to this some medium-tempo swingers-Alvin G, Bohemia After Dark, and Little Niles, some up-tempo Charlie Parker-Au Privave--and another intriguing original-Another Shade Of Blues-which adds Gil Goldstein's accordion to Mann's flute and Woods' clarinet. Then there is Time After Time. Recorded just weeks before Herbie's passing, as a kind of afterthought at a tape mixing session, and dedicated to his wife Janeal who had stood by him through six years of illness, it is as touching and poignant as any 4 minutes and 28 seconds of music can be. For those who enjoyed Herbie's music, and there were many of them, or liked him as a person, and there many of those too, it is worth the price of the recording.