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If the listener is hunting for a clinic on the flugelhorn, look no further.
Art Farmer, along with Clark Terry, might be the greatest exponent of the flugelhorn of the past two decades. Though a founder and leader (with Benny Golson) of the widely influential Jazztet, Farmer often found himself in the critical background. Fortunately, this is no more. Here, in Concord Records latest twofer is a couple of well-received early 1980s recordings Farmer made in a quartet setting, both with balladmeister Fred Hersch steering the piano duties. The mating of these two releases in a two-for-one format is interesting and well balanced. Both discs open with Charlie Parker compositions. "Red Cross" begins A Work of Art and "Moose the Mooch" begins Warm Valley. Then, each original release sports several compositions by a single composer. A Work of Art has pianist Fred Hersch's "Summersong" and "One for Sam," while Warm Valley sports the title track and "U.M.M.G" from Ellingtonia.
The playing is top-notch, especially all of Farmer's flugelhorn work. He melds perfectly with the sensitive thoughtful playing of Hersch. The listener need listen no further than "Warm Valley" to perhaps hear a ballad that was made for the flugelhorn. The horns speaks perfectly to the melody and the feminine inspiration for that great Ellington piece. Both Farmer and Hersch are well supported by the individual rhythm sections. This is mellow, well...er...perfectly performed jazz of the highest order. Perfectly executed and a treat to listen to.
Track Listing: Disc One (A Work Of Art):Red Cross; You Know I Care; She's Funny That Way; Change Partners; Summersong; Love Walked In; One For Sam (Total Time: 38:24). Disc Two (Warm Valley):Moose The Mooche; And Now There's You; Three Little Words; Eclypso; Sad To Say; U.M.M.G.; Warm Valley (Total Time: 36:14).
Personnel: Disc One (A Work Of Art):Art Farmer: Trumpet, Flugelhorn; Fred Hersch: Piano; Bob Bodley: Bass; Billy Hart: Drums. Disc Two (Warm Valley):Art Farmer: Trumpet, Flugelhorn; Fred Hersch: Piano; Ray Drummond: Bass; Akira Tana; Drums.
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.