Art Farmer – Something to Live For “The Music of Billy Strayhorn” {Contemporary}

Review by Scott Yanow (

This very logical set is a real gem. The lyrical flügelhornist Art Farmer and his quintet (which consists of tenor saxophonist Clifford Jordan, pianist James Williams, bassist Rufus Reid, and drummer Marvin “Smitty” Smith) interpret seven of Billy Strayhorn’s compositions. Highlights include “Isfahan,” “Johnny Come Lately,” “Raincheck,” and the title cut. Farmer brings the right combination of sensitivity, swing, respect for the melody, and creativity to these renditions and the results are quite memorable.

01 – Isfahan
02 – Bloodcount
03 – Johnny Come Lately
04 – Something to Live For
05 – Upper Manhattan Medical Group
06 – Raincheck
07 – Daydream

Art Farmer – fluegelhorn
Clifford Jordan – tenor saxophone
James Williams – piano
Rufus Reid – bass
Marvin “Smitty” Smith – drums

Recorded at Secret Sound Studios, New York City; January 14 & 15, 1987.
Year: 1987; style: Cool, Post-Bop

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, scans


Gerry Mulligan – Night Lights {PHILIPS}

Review by Scott Yanow (

This is a rather relaxed recording featuring baritonist Gerry Mulligan and some of his top alumni (trumpeter Art Farmer, trombonist Bob Brookmeyer, guitarist Jim Hall, bassist Bill Crow, and drummer Dave Bailey) exploring three of his own songs (including “Festive Minor”), Chopin’s Prelude in E minor, “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning,” and “Morning of the Carnival” (from Black Orpheus). The emphasis is on ballads and nothing too innovative occurs, but the results are pleasing and laid-back.

01 – Night Lights (1963 Version)
02 – Morning of the Carnival [From “Black Orpheus”] (Manha de Carnaval)
03 – In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning
04 – Prelude in E Minor
05 – Festival Minor
06 – Tell Me When
07 – Night Lights (1965 Version)

Gerry Mulligan – baritone saxophone and piano
Jim Hall – guitar
Bill Crow – bass
Dave Bailey – drums
Art Farmer – trumpet and fluegelhorn
Bob Brookmeyer – trombone

Recorded September, 1963 (1-6); and October, 1965 (7)

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork

(Re-uploaded because of dead links)

Sonny Clark – Cool Struttin’ {Blue Note}[xrcd]

Review by Thom Jurek (

Recorded in 1958, this legendary date with the still-undersung Sonny Clark in the leader’s chair also featured a young Jackie McLean on alto (playing with a smoother tone than he had before or ever did again), trumpeter Art Farmer, and the legendary rhythm section of bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Philly Joe Jones, both from the Miles Davis band. The set begins with one of the preeminent “swinging medium blues” pieces in jazz history: the title track with its leveraged fours and eights shoved smoothly up against the walking bass of Chambers and the backbeat shuffle of Jones. Clark’s solo, with its grouped fifths and sevenths, is a wonder of both understatement and groove, while Chambers’ arco solo turns the blues in on itself. While there isn’t a weak note on this record, there are some other tracks that stand out, most notably Miles’ “Sippin’ at Bells,” with its loping Latin rhythm. When McLean takes his solo against a handful of Clark’s shaded minor chords, he sounds as if he may blow it — he comes out a little quick — but he recovers nicely and reaches for a handful of Broadway show tunes to counter the minor mood of the piece. He shifts to both Ben Webster and Lester Young before moving through Bird, and finally to McLean himself, riding the margin of the changes to slip just outside enough to add some depth in the middle register. The LP closes with Henderson and Vallée’s “Deep Night,” the only number in the batch not rooted in the blues. It’s a classic hard bop jamming tune and features wonderful solos by Farmer, who plays weird flatted notes all over the horn against the changes, and McLean, who thinks he’s playing a kind of snake charmer blues in swing tune. This set deserves its reputation for its soul appeal alone. [The CD version includes two bonus tracks: “Royal Flush” and “Lover”].

01 – Cool Struttin’
02 – Blue Minor
03 – Sippin’ at Bells
04 – Deep Night
05 – Royal Flush (Mono)
06 – Lover (Mono)

Art Farmer – trumpet
Jackie McLean – alto sax
Sonny Clark – piano
Paul Chambers – bass
Philly Joe Jones – drums

Recorded January 5, 1958; at Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ.
Originally released in 1958 on Blue Note Records as BST-81588.

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork

Art Farmer – Maiden Voyage {DENON}

Review by Ken Dryden (

From the outside cover this CD looks promising, with seven jazz classics, including “Blue Bossa,” “Naima” and “Blue In Green,” performed by the always enjoyable flugelhornist. But his impeccable tone and superb solos can’t overcome the often overbearing studio orchestra. The rhythm section is anchored by bassist Ron Carter and drummer Jack DeJohnette, though producer/arranger/conductor Masahiko Satoh’s piano playing isn’t on the same level as the rest of the quartet. While the music is well played, there are many fine Art Farmer CDs available that deserve your attention before this one.

01 – Nica’s Dream
02 – Ruby My Dear
03 – Blue Bossa
04 – Goodbye Pork Pie Hat
05 – Blue in Green
06 – Maiden Voyage
07 – Naima

Art Farmer – flugelhorn
Masahiko Satoh – acoustic piano, rhodes piano
Ron Carter – bass
Jack De Johnette – drums

Recorded and mixed at A&R Studios, New York City in April, 1983

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork