Art Farmer and Jim Hall - JazzWax

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July 13, 2011


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"Interaction" can also be found on a Collectables twofer along with another excellent Farmer fluegelhorn album called "Sing Me Softly of the Blues" from 1965 (Farmer, Swallow, LaRoca, and Steve Khun playing compositions by Swallow, LaRoca, Carla Bley, and Walter Fuller.)

Charles Birkett

Great band. The most recent set of Jazz Icons DVDs includes a European TV performance by them; possibly my favourite disc in that admirable series.

I love what Hall says about Farmer's playing. His choice of notes is what makes him perhaps my favourite trumpet player - no extraneous decoration. You almost feel like his solos were written out before hand, then you hear an alternate take and realize nothing could be further from the truth. What a mind.

Rab Hines

Thank you for more on the great Art Farmer. I recently saw a "Best of Art Farmer" CD and almost laughed out loud.

I have a couple of dozen Farmer recordings, several of which are always in rotation, and I have never been disappointed by any of them. Choosing a 'best of' list would seem pointless. And very hard.

If there were ever a trumpet player you wish the technique-crazed screechers coming out of music schools these days would listen to--Art Farmer. He'd probably sound wonderful on kazoo.

Bruce Armstrong

I had the great pleasure of hearing this wonderful quartet during their appearance at a Washington D.C. nightclub in the Spring of 1963, right before I graduated from high school. Art Farmer had always been one of my favorites--and he did not disappoint! Jim Hall's melodic playing was also a real bonus. The blend of that group was exceptional. I would also like to mention that on the breaks my buddy and I--a trumpet player--had the opportunity to talk with all of them and they just could not have been more accommodating to us. We even got autographs! Thanks for bringing back some great musical memories, Marc.

Bruno Leicht

My favorite record with Art Farmer is "To Sweden With Love":

Art's beautiful renditions of Swedish folk songs in the intimate quartet setting with Jim Hall, Steve Swallow, and Pete LaRocca will immediately carry you off to dreamland, to the fjords, and sounds of the Scandinavian hemisphere.

I have an original Atlantic promo LP with a white label. The music is a perfect introduction to Art Farmer's lyrical flugelhorn, and a perfect give-away for young jazz players who want to learn how to play simple, but nevertheless deep melodic lines.

Vilmer Louette

Agree about Sweden with Love. But Scandanavian hemisphere? I didn't realise that Scandinavia was half of the world. I have the Atlantic LP also, and also find it to be a good introduction - even with the regular label.

Larry Kart

The successor Farmer quartet, with Steve Kuhn in for Hall, was special, too. They made only one album, I think, the aforementioned "Sing Me Softly of the Blues." I heard them live at the Plugged Nickel in Chicago. Kuhn and LaRoca, both members of the first Coltrane quartet (heard that group live, too, several years before), brought a good deal of intensity to the Farmer group.

BTW, while I too love that Jazz Icons Farmer-Hall group DVD, a drummer friend points out that LaRoca is playing a rather dismal borrowed drum kit. A shame because LaRoca is such a fine and unique player, and this may be the only chance we have to see as well as hear him.

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  • Marc Myers writes regularly for The Wall Street Journal and is author of "Anatomy of 55 More Songs," "Anatomy of a Song," "Rock Concert: An Oral History" and "Why Jazz Happened." Founded in 2007, JazzWax has won three Jazz Journalists Association awards.
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