Art Farmer: Four Classic Albums

The four 'classics' by the trumpeter feature him with Gigi Gryce, with Quincy Jones and on the albums Farmer's Market and Art


Art Farmer’s 1954/55 sessions with Gigi Gryce were not run-of-the-mill recording dates involving musicians meeting for the first time in the studio. They had already established a relationship as members of the Lionel Hampton big band that toured Europe from September 1953 to February 1954. Returning to the USA they formed a quintet that worked extensively at Birdland and the Café Bohemia in NYC as well as venues in Chicago, Baltimore and Boston.

Stan Getz had already introduced the jazz world to Gryce’s music in 1951 when he recorded Gigi’s Melody Express, Yvette, Wildwood and Mosquito Knees. This CD features eight more of his compositions although Avid has mistakenly credited Stupendous-Lee and The infant’s Song to Farmer. Incidentally, the attractive Night At Tony’s is a contrafact of Yardbird Suite which in turn is based on the 1933 war-horse Rosetta. (Benny Goodman demonstrated this connection on his 1959 Florida Sessions album with Flip Phillips and Bill Harris).

Social Call, which was introduced here and has since become a standard in the jazz repertoire, has Farmer in a cup mute adding an intimacy to his highly personalised sound. Gryce and Farmer reprised it five months later as a feature for Ernestine Anderson performing Jon Hendricks’ new lyric.

The Quincy Jones date was clearly designed to introduce the trumpeter to a new audience. Backed with an orchestra including a large string section he performs a lyrical set of classics from the songbook repertoire. His much broader use of vibrato here recalls Clifford Brown’s 1955 With Strings album with Neal Hefti’s arrangements. Farmer’s Market has Hank Mobley (“the middleweight champion of the tenor”) on four tracks. Art introduced the title track on his 1952 date with Wardell Gray and this uptempo exploration of the blues is an album highlight. As the only horn on the 1960 quartet session he is able to stretch out creatively especially on Who Cares, Out Of The Past and I’m A Fool To Want You.

CD1: (1) [The Art Farmer Quintet – When Farmer Met Gryce] A Night At Tony’s; Blue Concept; Stupendous-Lee; Deltitnu; (2) Social Call; Capri; Blue Lights; The Infant’s Song; (3) [Art Farmer With The Quincy Jones Orchestra] Two Sleepy People; Someone To Watch Over Me; I Concentrate On You; Last Night When We Were Young; Out Of This World; When I Fall In Love; Tangerine; What’s Good About Goodbye? (73.02)
CD2: (4) [Art Farmer – Farmer’s Market] With Prestige; Ad-Dis-Un; Farmer’s Market; Reminiscing; By Myself; Wailin’ With Hank; (5) [Art Farmer – Art] So Beats My Heart For You; Goodbye Old Girl; Who Cares; Out Of The Past; Younger Than Springtime; The Best Thing For You Is Me; I’m A Fool To Want You; That Old Devil Called Love (76.48)
Farmer (t) with:
(1) Gigi Gryce (as); Horace Silver (p); Percy Heath (b); Kenny Clarke (d). New Jersey, 19 May 1954.
(2) Gryce (as); Freddie Redd (p); Addison Farmer (b); Art Taylor (d). New Jersey, 26 May 1955.
(3) Hank Jones (p); Barry Galbraith, Tommy Kay (elg); Addison Farmer (b); Ossie Johnson, Sol Gubin (d); eight-piece string section. New York, March, April 1957.
(4) Hank Mobley (ts); Kenny Drew (p); Addison Farmer (b); Elvin Jones (d). New Jersey, 23 November 1956.
(5) Tommy Flanagan (p); Tommy Williams (b); Albert Heath (d). New York, 21 & 23 September 1960.
Avid Jazz AMSC 1438