Art Farmer & Benny Golson The Complete Mercury Art Farmer/Benny Golson/Jazztet Sessions
Mosaic's 7-disc The Complete Argo/Mercury Art Farmer/Benny Golson/Jazztet Sessions is an extensive dissection of hard-bop's better proponents. In early '59, saxophonist Benny Golson was already playing with a formidable quintet of young players that included pianist McCoy Tyner, trombonist Curtis Fuller, bassist Addison Farmer and drummer Lex Humphries. Once Art Farmer joined Golson's quintet in late '59, Fuller dubbed the new formation, the Jazztet. Meant to rival the popular, blues infused jazz sounds of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers and Horace Silver's quintet, the Jazztet's initial charge was severely undermined on November 17, 1959, as they debuted at New York's Five Spot opposite Ornette Coleman. Blazing a new trail in jazz, Coleman was the talk of the town, stealing most of the press' thunder. While the Jazztet was certainly more conventional than free jazz, their music was hardly conformist. As heard on the opening tunes of CD 1, the group could boast a singular, soulful approach to jazz. Led by composer and arranger Golson, already well respected for hits like "Blues March" and "I Remember Clifford," the group controlled their movements with a relaxed, assertive swing, epitomized on the soon to be classic, "Killer Joe." Despite Golson's slightly silly introduction, the tune's lazy swagger and muted riffs keep it cool to this day.
The remainder of disc 1 features the first half of the Jazztet's second album, Big City Sounds. Though only six months since their initial offering, the group's sound is different on this album, due to the departure of Tyner, Fuller, and Humphries. Golson and Farmer looked to trombonist Tom McIntosh, pianist Cedar Walton, bassist Tommy Williams and drummer Albert "Tootie" Heath to replace the feel and groove of the first group. Though it does not happen, the group's output is still buoyed by Golson's arrangements and original bop gems like, "The Cool One," "Blues on Down," "Bean Bag," and "Five Spot After Dark." The second disc concludes with their third album for Argo records, The Jazztet and Mel Lewis. Yes, Mel Lewis of MJQ fame composed the entire score for this album with wonderful versions of "Django," and "Odds Against Tomorrow" highlighting the group's efforts. Farmer's solo on "2 Degrees East, 3 Degrees West," is also worth noting. Long out of print in this country, the Mosaic set re-introduces this interesting and enjoyable album.
The third CD's contents come from the albums The Jazztet At Birdhouse and The Jazztet Here and Now. Recorded live at Chicago's Birdhouse, The Jazztet At Birdhouse session finds a cohesive, inspired group performing such highlights as Golson's bluesy "Junction," Farmer's "Farmer's Market," McIntosh's shifty "November Rain," as well as a heartfelt reading of Monk's "Round Midnight." The other half of this disc, The Jazztet Here and Now , again, brings new personnel to the Jazztet. Trombonist Grachan Moncur III, long before his avante-garde days with Jackie McLean, ushers other recent arrivals, pianist Harold Mabern, bassist Herbie Lewis, and drummer Roy McCurdy (still sparking the heat at Charlie O's). Along with the album Another Git Together that concludes the fourth CD, they perform standards like "Just In Time," "In Love In Vain," Art Farmer's "Rue Prevail," Benny Golson's "Whisper Not," "Along Came Betty," Domino," as well as Moncur's "Sonny's Back," "Space Station," Harold Mabern's "Ritchie's Dilemma," Ray Bryant's "Tonk," and Monk's "Ruby My Dear." The fourth disc concludes the Jazztet's 60's output. Golson and Farmer would not record under the Jazztet name until the 80's, when they were reunited with trombonist Fuller.
The remaining discs on this set are from the Art Farmer quartets (disc 5), the Benny Golson quartets (disc 6) and various other ensembles (disc 7) of the same time. Here is where the Mosaic box set, as usual, excels in both quality and quantity. By presenting their individual outputs of the same time, the motives and intentions of both Golson and Farmer are better understood. It's more jazz for the buck, as well! Art Farmer's Art features the trumpeter's quartet of Tommy Flanagan on piano, as well as two ex-Jazztet members, Tommy Williams on bass and Albert "Tootie" Heath on drums. With greater room to roam, Farmer enchants with his still developing lyrical style and Flanagan's always lush accompaniment. The second half of disc 5 belongs to Farmer's Perception album with Harold Mabern on piano, Tommy Williams on bass and Roy McCurdy on drums. Here, like on Art , the leader begins to court the flugelhorn, favoring its warmer tones to the trumpet's sharper edges. Two of his rare compositions, "Punsu," and "Kayin" highlight the last half of this set. Both of these albums have long been out of print and extremely difficult to find, making their appearance here all the more attractive.
Benny Golson's quartet work of the same period on disc 6 includes the albums Turning Point and Free. Joined on the first album by the remnants of the Miles Davis' split, Golson does great work with Wynton Kelly on piano, Paul Chambers on bass and Jimmy Cobb on drums as they perform five standards and two Golson originals. The album Free , though, is really the best part of this disc. Joined here by Tommy Flanagan on piano, Ron Carter on bass and Art Taylor on bass, Golson sounds more adventurous on this set with the catchy "Sockcha," "Mad About the Boy," and "Just In Time," being the more memorable tunes.
As if all this was not enough, Mosaic throws in Golson's Take A Number from 1 to 10 (1961) as well as 1962's Listen to Art Farmer and the Orchestra. Golson's tone and arrangement on this bonus material leans towards a soul-jazz plane, while Farmer's album features the flugelhornist working about several excellent arrangements by Oliver Nelson. Again, these works were previously out of print, and considering their superb content, they should not be missed.
An obscene amount of jazz, almost all of it excellent, this Mosaic set is all the stocking stuffing a jazz fan could possibly want.
Personnel: Art Farmer (trumpet), Benny Golson (tenor saxophone), et al.
DISC ONE: The Jazztet 1. Serenata (A) 3:30 (Leroy Anderson) 2. It Ain't Necessarily So (A) 4:28 (G. Gershwin-I. Gershwin) 3. Avalon (A) 3:28 (Rose-DeSylva-Jolson) 4. I Remember Clifford (A) 3:10 (Benny Golson) 5. Blues March (A) 5:17 (Benny Golson) 6. It's All Right With Me (A) 3:54 (Cole Porter) 7. Park Avenue Petite (A) 3:41 (Benny Golson) 8. Mox Nix (A) 4:02 (Art Farmer) 9. Easy Living (A) 3:34 (L. Robin-R. Rainger) 10. Killer Joe (A) 4:58 (Benny Golson) 11. The Cool One (B) 3:02 (Benny Golson) 12. Blues On Down (B) 6:00 (Benny Golson) 13. Hi-Fly (B) 5:50 (Randy Weston) 14. My Funny Valentine (B) 4:38 (R. Rodgers-L. Hart)
DISC TWO: The Jazztet 1. Wonder Why (B) 5:53 (N. Brodzsky-S. Cahn) 2. Con Alma (B) 4:59 (Dizzy Gillespie) 3. Lament (B) 3:31 (J. J. Johnson) 4. Bean Bag (B) 4:52 (Benny Golson) 5. Five Spot After Dark (B) 3:18 (Benny Golson) 6. Bel (E) 4:05 (John Lewis) 7. Milano (E) 4:49 (John Lewis) 8. Django (E) 4:50 (John Lewis) 9. New York 19 (E) 7:04 (John Lewis) 10. 2 Degrees East, 3 Degrees West (E) 8:38 (John Lewis) 11. Odds Against Tomorrow (E) 11:27 (John Lewis)
DISC THREE: The Jazztet 1. Junction (F) 5:50 (Benny Golson) 2. Farmer's Market (F) 8:33 (Art Farmer) 3. Darn That Dream (F) 4:24 (J. Van Heusen-E. De Lange) 4. Shutterbug (F) 4:47 (J. J. Johnson) 5. 'Round Midnight (F) 10:11 (Monk-Hanighen-Williams) 6. A November Afternoon (F) 6:14 (Tom McIntosh) 7. Tonk (H) 6:49 (Ray Bryant) 8. Rue Prevail (H) 4:25 (Art Farmer) 9. Richie's Dilemma (H) 5:11 (Harold Mabern) 10. Whisper Not (H) 5:20 (Benny Golson) 11. Tonk (45 take) (H) 3:01 (Ray Bryant)
DISC FOUR: The Jazztet 1. Just In Time (H) 5:24 (Comden-Green-Styne) 2. Ruby My Dear (H) 5:10 (Thelonious Monk) 3. In Love In Vain (H) 7:15 (J. Kern-L. Robin) 4. Sonny's Back (H) 4:04 (Grachan Moncur III) 5. Sonny's Back (45 take) (H) 2:48 (Grachan Moncur III) 6. Space Station (I) 5:14 (Grachan Moncur III) 7. Domino (I) 7:03 (Ferrari-Raye-Plante) 8. Another Git Together (I) 6:15 (P. Poindexter-J. Hendricks) 9. Along Came Betty (I) 5:29 (Benny Golson) 10. This Nearly Was Mine (I) 6:26 (R. Rodgers-O. Hammerstein) 11. Reggie (I) 4:30 (Benny Golson) 12. Another Git Together (45 take) (I) 2:55 (P. Poindexter-J. Hendricks)
DISC FIVE The Art Farmer Quartets 1. So Beats My Heart For You (C) 4:41 (Ballard-Henderson-Waring) 2. Goodbye Old Girl (C) 4:31 (R. Adler-J. Ross) 3. Who Cares? (C) 5:26 (G. Gershwin-I. Gershwin) 4. Out Of The Past (C) 5:17 (Benny Golson) 5. Younger Than Springtime (C) 5:39 (R. Rodgers-O. Hammerstein) 6. The Best Thing For You Is Me (C) 4:13 (Irving Berlin) 7. I'm A Fool To Want You (C) 5:30 (Sinatra-Herron-Wolf) 8. That Old Devil Called Love (C) 4:15 (A. Roberts-D. Fisher) 9. Punsu (G) 5:10 (Art Farmer) 10. The Day After (G) 2:23 (Tom McIntosh) 11. Lullaby Of The Leaves (G) 4:15 (B. Petkere-J. Young) 12. Kayin' (G) 3:54 (Art Farmer) 13. Tonk (G) 4:35 (Ray Braynt) 14. Blue Room (G) 3:55 (R. Rodgers-L. Hart) 15. Change Partners (G) 5:20 (Irving Berlin) 16. Nobody's Heart (G) 4:04 (R. Rodgers-L. Hart)
DISC SIX: The Benny Golson Quartets 1. How Am I To Know? (K) 3:47 (J. King-D. Parker) 2. The Masquerade Is Over (K) 4:38 (H. Magidson-A. Wrubel) 3. Dear Kathy (K) 4:46 (Benny Golson) 4. Three Little Words (K) 4:38 (H. Ruby-B. Kalmar) 5. Turning Point (K) 3:56 (Benny Golson) 6. Stella By Starlight (K) 4:50 (V. Young-N. Washington) 7. Alone Together (K) 7:30 (H. Deitz-A. Schwartz) 8. Sock Cha (L) 7:02 (Will Davis) 9. Mad About The Boy (L) 7:16 (Noel Coward) 10. Just By Myself (L) 5:47 (Benny Golson) 11. Shades Of Stein (L) 4:30 (Benny Golson) 12. My Romance (L) 7:28 (R. Rodgers-L. Hart) 13. Just In Time (L) 5:56 (Comden-Green-Styne)
DISC SEVEN The Ensembles 1. You're My Thrill (D) 1:35 (B. Lane-N. Washington) 2. My Heart Belongs To Daddy (D) 4:11 (Cole Porter) 3. The Best Thing For You Is Me (D) 2:48 (Irving Berlin) 4. Impromtune (D) 3:03 (Benny Golson) 5. Little Karin (D) 3:35 (Benny Golson) 6. Swing It (D) 4:26 (Benny Golson) 7. I Fall In Love Too Easily (D) 4:46 (J. Styne-S. Cahn) 8. Out Of This World (D) 3:50 (H. Arlen-J. Mercer) 9. The Touch (D) 5:16 (Benny Golson) 10. Time (D) 3:34 (Benny Golson) 11. Street Of Dreams (J) 4:18 (V. Young-S. Lewis) 12. Rain Check (J) 3:40 (Billy Strayhorn) 13. Rue Prevail (J) 4:07 (Art Farmer) 14. The Sweetest Sounds (J) 4:36 (Richard Rodgers) 15. My Romance (J) 4:58 (R. Rodgers-L. Hart) 16. Fly Me To The Moon (J) 2:52 (Bart Howard) 17. Naima (J) 5:22 (John Coltrane) 18. Ruby (J) 4:37 (H. Roemheld-M. Parish)