Veteran drummer Joe Farnsworth figuratively steps from behind his trap kit to lead some of the musicians for whom he has served as rhythm master in the past fifteen years. Farnsworth has attracted much attention from both the old guard and young Turks alike. The former is represented by Harold Mabern, Benny Golson, Curtis Fuller, and Ron Carter; the latter by Eric Alexander, David Hazeltine, and Jim Rotondi. With a group like this, it is a bit hard to know what to expect. What occurs is the making of the most fresh and alive mainstream jazz in recent memory.
The mood of the recording is diverse, studied, and carefully prepared. Pianists Harold Mabern and David Hazeltine provide original tunes especially for this recording date. Benny Golson roughs out "And So, I Love Again," which was composed in '85 but was never recorded. Golson and Curtis Fuller team up on Golson's "Five Spot After Dark," recalling Art Blakey, while Fuller, Rotondi and Joe's brother John Farnsworth stride through "Hello, Young Lovers." The title cut, composed by Farnsworth, is a brilliant throwback to the soul jazz of the 1960s and features Ron Carter in an extended solo setting.
Joe Farnsworth's drumming deserves a bit of attention. Far from the iconoclast, Farnsworth prefers to drive the rhythm section. While doing this, he is free to sow off his considerable talent playing the cymbals. "Sweet Poppa" is a great vehicle just for this. It's Prime Time is no boring regurgitation of the same old standards. It is a fresh look at some old songs and a fresh approach to some new ones.
Track Listing: 1 Sweet Poppa 5:46
2 Old Folks 7:20
3 Prime Time 8:02
4 Stable Mates 7:11
5 Five Spot After Dark 5:50
6 And So, I Love Again 4:20
7 The Third Plane 5:37
8 Hello, Young Lovers 7:44
9 Jose's Lament 7:06
Personnel: Joe Farnsworth: Drums;
Curtis Fuller: Trombone;
Benny Golson: Tenor Saxophone;
David Hazeltine: Piano;
Harold Mabern: Piano;
Jim Rotondi: Trumpet, Flugelhorn.
I was first exposed to jazz when I discovered that one of Jimi Hendrix's influences was Wes Montgomery. I played guitar growing up and idolized Hendrix, so I knew that anyone he looked up to must be good
I was first exposed to jazz when I discovered that one of Jimi Hendrix's influences was Wes Montgomery. I played guitar growing up and idolized Hendrix, so I knew that anyone he looked up to must be good. I was 16 at the time. I went to Tower Records and purchased a CD by Wes, and I was hooked from the very first ten seconds. The sound of the song Lolita illuminated my bedroom, as I just sat back amazed at how colorful and soulful this music was--I understood it, even though at the time I didn't understand how to go about playing it. I get chills listening to Wes' solo on Lolita, and I can still listen to that song ten times in a row and never get tired of it. There is a truly timeless quality to genuinely spontaneous jazz music, and it is that quality that has inspired me to devote my life to studying and playing this music.