365

Tal Farlow: Tal Farlow Guitar Genius: The LA Sessions

Nic Jones By

Sign in to view read count
Tal Farlow: Tal Farlow Guitar Genius: The LA Sessions The word "genius" is used far too much, but Guitar Genius is an apposite term for a performance by Tal Farlow, and its use is fully justified with regards to this two-disc set.

Farlow was apparently blessed with unusually large hands, which on a practical level enabled him literally to reach places that were beyond a lot of other guitarists. But this would have counted for nothing if he had not allied such an attribute with equally exceptional harmonic and rhythmic sensibilities. The effect of this as a package is to make his music a profound and moving experience, even for those with little interest in jazz guitar as such.

On the earliest sides collected here, recorded in Chicago in October of 1950 and Los Angeles in April of the following year (while Farlow was a member of a Red Norvo Trio that also included Charles Mingus), Farlow perhaps unsurprisingly betrays his debt to Charlie Christian. That said, on "Swedish Pastry he shows just how far he was outgrowing his influences, even at this early stage in his career, while on Denzel Best's "Move, his lines are those of the most fleet-fingered bopper.

The trio with pianist Claude Williamson and bassist Red Mitchell is arguably the best showcase of Farlow's talents here. As a group the trio is beautifully integrated, best exemplified by "This Is Always, where Farlow proves himself to be a lyrical player whose work is all the more enjoyable because of its avoidance of the mawkish. The same goes for "These Foolish Things, where his harmonic awareness makes its presence felt by stealth, as opposed to any more obvious means.

The undervalued Bob Gordon turns up on a session recorded in May of 1955, and it's always a pleasure to hear his baritone sax work, especially as he died tragically young. The fact that he forces the beat more than Farlow does on "Walkin' makes for an effective contrast and satisfying listening. On "Out Of Nowhere Farlow single-handedly keeps at bay the kind of torpor rightly or wrongly associated with the archetypal West Coast sound by dint of rhythmic displacement.

In a sense Farlow transcended the notion of jazz guitar, and his work here and elsewhere is ample evidence of that achievement.

Track Listing: CD1: I Like To Recognise The Tune; Strike Up The Band; Autumn In New York; And She Remembers Me; Little Girl Blue; Have You Met Miss Jones?; Tal

Personnel: Tal Farlow: Guitar; Gerald Wiggins: Piano; Ray Brown: Bass; Chico Hamilton: Drums (CD1, 1-8) TF, Claude Williamson: Piano; Red Mitchell: Bass; Stan Levey: Drums (CD1, 9-18) TF, Williamson, Mitchell (CD2, 1-4) TF, Bob Enevoldsen: Valve-Trombone; Bill Perkins: Tenor Sax; Bob Gordon: Baritone Sax; Monty Budwig: Bass; Lawrence Marable: Drums (CD2, 5-11) TF, Red Norvo: Vibes; Charles Mingus: Bass (CD2, 12-17).

Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Giant Steps | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Welcome to Swingsville! CD/LP/Track Review Welcome to Swingsville!
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 26, 2017
Read Points of View CD/LP/Track Review Points of View
by Geno Thackara
Published: March 26, 2017
Read Migration Blues CD/LP/Track Review Migration Blues
by Chris Mosey
Published: March 26, 2017
Read Recent Developments CD/LP/Track Review Recent Developments
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 26, 2017
Read N.O. Escape CD/LP/Track Review N.O. Escape
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 26, 2017
Read Reflections CD/LP/Track Review Reflections
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 25, 2017
Read "Lost Signals" CD/LP/Track Review Lost Signals
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 25, 2016
Read "Atmosphères" CD/LP/Track Review Atmosphères
by Karl Ackermann
Published: September 2, 2016
Read "As subtle as tomorrow" CD/LP/Track Review As subtle as tomorrow
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 9, 2016
Read "Montréal" CD/LP/Track Review Montréal
by Roger Farbey
Published: February 11, 2017
Read "Live in Athens, Greece" CD/LP/Track Review Live in Athens, Greece
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 29, 2016
Read "AHEO" CD/LP/Track Review AHEO
by James Nadal
Published: May 23, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: DOT TIME RECORDS | BUT IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!