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Art Farmer: Brass Shout/The Aztec Suite & The Time and The Place

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Art Farmer
Brass Shout/The Aztec Suite
Blue Note
2008


Art Farmer
The Time And The Place
Mosaic
2008




The '50s and '60s were exceedingly bountiful in turning out accomplished trumpet players with personally memorable voices spanning the stylistic spectrum from Clifford Brown to Chet Baker. There were so many that tags or short-cuts were often applied, consigning each player to a neat pigeonhole, often unfairly. Art Farmer is a prime example; his name and "lyrical" are linked so often that the word might as well be joined to him at the hip. Yet as these three very different sessions/settings prove, Farmer—who would have been 80 years old this month—was a much more versatile and complete jazz trumpet and flugelhorn player than can be conveyed by just "lyrical."

Brass Shout, the original LP album, was subtitled "Seven Moods in Brass arranged by Benny Golson" and credited to the Art Farmer Tentet. At the time (1959) Farmer and Golson were co-leaders of The Jazztet, a hard bop sextet. The Tentet was a brass band, including French horn and/or baritone horn and tuba as well as trumpets and trombones, with just bass and drums. Pianist Bobby Timmons has a cameo turn on his own "Moanin.'" Golson's arrangements are varied and inventive, creating a rainbow of brassy colors. "Nica's Dream," earlier given a French horn lead with the Oscar Pettiford Orchestra, retains that feature here, but the other charts have no obvious antecedents. "April in Paris" veers far from the popular Count Basie treatment; "Autumn Leaves" bounces on muted trumpets and "Stella by Starlight" is a lush tone poem. Contrary to expectation, Farmer is hardly the only soloist—he has no solos on two tracks—with both Ernie Royal and Lee Morgan having one substantial trumpet solo apiece and trombonist Curtis Fuller and French hornist Julian Watkins soloing often.

The Aztec Suite was an LP recorded a couple months later, a collaboration between Farmer, composer/arranger Chico O'Farrill and an orchestra conducted by Al Cohn. It's dominated by the 16-1/2 minute title track, which is almost as long as the five other tracks combined. O'Farrill is at his fecund best on the suite, changing up themes, tempos and rhythms in an episodic display of staggering orchestral variety (the ad hoc New York band was 21 strong). It's a demanding work for the musicians and especially for Farmer, who takes solos ranging from muted and melodic to high, open and full of Latin fire. His trumpet also dominates the other tracks—tenor saxophonists Zoot Sims and Seldon Powell are the other main soloists on the date—which range from an incendiary "Heat Wave" and a slow then faster cha-cha, "Drume Negrita," to Dizzy Gillespie's "Woody N'You" and a sumptuous, incremental (just bass and trumpet start and end it) limning of "Alone Together."

Columbia Records pulled a fast one in 1967, releasing a studio album with dubbed applause called The Time and the Place and calling it a live record of a concert by the Art Farmer Quintet at the Museum of Modern Art. This Mosaic Single CD gives us the actual MoMA concert, recorded in 1966.

By this time, Farmer was playing flugelhorn exclusively and earlier in the decade had been exploring his lyrical side in bands with Jim Hall and Steve Kuhn. But this working quintet was a return to his hard bop (Jazztet) days and featured the brawny tenor sax of Jimmy Heath (the band's main composer/arranger) and the muscular rhythm section of pianist Albert Dailey, bassist Walter Booker and drummer Mickey Roker. Heath's two originals are highlights: "Far Away Lands," one of those stop-start hard bop tunes that are structured like negotiating swift water with alternating rapids, and the title tune, one of those catchy, soulful workouts with the "Sidewinder"-style shuffle beat and vamp that was as prevalent in hard bop as the Bo Diddley beat was in rock 'n' roll. Farmer is quite extroverted throughout too—just check out the uncharacteristically fast "Blue Bossa" and loping blues "Dailey's Bread."


Tracks and Personnel

Brass Shout/The Aztec Suite

Tracks: Nica's Dream; Autumn Leavesl Moanin'; April In Paris; Five Spot After Dark; Stella By Starlight; Minor Vamp; The Aztec Suite; Heat Wave; Delirio; Woody 'N You; Drume Negrita; Alone Together.

Personnel: Brass Shout: Art Farmer, Lee Morgan, Ernie Royal: trumpets; James Haughton: baritone horn; Jimmy Cleveland, Curtis Fuller: trombones; Julius Watkins: French horn; Don Butterfield: tuba; Percy Heath: bass; Philly Joe Jones: drums; Benny Golson: arrangements.

Aztec Suite: Art Farmer, Joe Ferrante, Bernie Glow, Marky Markowitz, Nick Travis: trumpets; Jimmy Cleveland, Tom Mitchell, Frank Rehak: trombones; Jim Buffington, Tony Miranda: French horns; James McAllister: tuba; Seldon Powell, Zoot Sims, Sol Schlinger: saxophones; Spencer Sinatra: reeds; Hank Jones: piano; Addison Farmer: bass; Charlie Persip: drums; Tommy Lopez, Jose Mangual, Willie Rodriguez: percussion; Chico O'Farrill: arranger; Al Cohn: director.

The Time And The Place

Tracks: On The Trail; Band announcement; Far Away Lands; The Shadow Of Your Smile; Dailey Bread; Blue Bossa; Is That So?; The Time And The Place.

Personnel: Art Farmer: fluegelhorn; Jimmy Heath: tenor saxophone; Albert Dailey: piano; Walter Booker: bass; Mickey Roker: drums.

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