Warming Up

Warming Up

Monday, July 18, 2011

Videos: The Art of Farmer

A couple of days ago my father in law sent me a message:

Just watched an awesome session on Mezzo TV. Thought how much you would have enjoyed it. From 1964 in England. BBC. Art Farmer – Flugelhorn; Jim Hall – Guitar; Steve Swallow – Bass; Pete La Roca – Drums. I think you can Google it up on you tube.”

Have I seen this?

Yes! I have seen this before. It’s been released on DVD too, I believe. This might just be my favorite group and era of Art Farmer’s. He’s left behind the Clifford Brown influence that dominated his mid fifties work (I love that stuff too) and he’s found the vehicle that works best for his conception: the flugelhorn. He’s got chops to burn but you don’t usually hear that. Instead you get his quirky lyricism. It’s beautiful and a bit strange at the same time. And Jim Hall is the perfect partner for him too – especially at this post-Sonny Rollins “The Bridge” period. Hall is one of my all time favorite guitarists. And Steve Swallow adds a touch of the adventurous to the mix with his note choices (Swallow had just played weirdo free music with Paul Bley and Jimmy Giuffre before joining Farmer). Swallows’ fingers look like giant spider crabs crawling up and down the neck of the bass. And La Roca is perfect in this setting – sometimes swinging hard and other times swinging softly – always playing compositionally. Such an awesome group. Almost chamber-like at times, but they could straight up burn on a fast swing too. Glad you dug it! I need to watch these YouTube clips again. Maybe tonight after the kids are asleep and after I practice…

So here are the YouTube videos (in order; seven in all; the edits aren’t the best, but the footage and the music make it more than worth it, I promise). Please join me and my father in law, Gary Goldschneider, in enjoying the genius that is Art Farmer!

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