"The Professor" Art Farmer presented a set of straight-ahead jazz for the 25-year old Stanford Jazz Workshop last summer along with tenor saxophonist Harold Land, San Francisco area pianist Bill Bell, bassist Rufus Reid and drummer Tootie Heath. Although Farmer now resides in Vienna, the ensemble shares a working knowledge of hard bop common to many artists regardless of geographical area. Coming up on the Central Avenue scene in Los Angeles in 1945 and working with the bands of Johnny Otis, Benny Carter, Gerald Wilson, and others, Farmer developed a bop-oriented style that retained the trumpet's lyrical flavor; he eventually settled on the flugelhorn in 1962 with its richer sound. Much later, noted trumpet designer David Monette created the flumpet for Farmer; it combines a brassy trumpet sound with the warmer flugelhorn sound. He now performs exclusively on the flumpet.
Monk's "I Mean You," "Eronel" and "Straight No Chaser" are familiar to most straight-ahead artists as well as to fans. Each of these tunes are presented with spirited solos from flumpet, tenor sax, and piano; on "I Mean You" the ensemble takes it one step further by trading fours and by standing back while Rufus Reid turns out an inspired and imaginative bass solo. Kenny Dorham's "Blue Bossa" starts with a powerful piano/bass riff, brings in the flumpet / sax octave unison, and finds Harold Land stretching out for a fine example of his high-energy + contrasting space = one exciting solo adventure. Tadd Dameron's ballad "If You Could See Me Now" is all Art Farmer with the ensemble backing; Farmer plays it open and high, sweet and lyrical. "The Professor" continues to say it like it is. Recommended.