Some of the finer CTI recordings of the late '70s were those led by flugelhornist Art Farmer. Although the emphasis was generally on obscure material (in this case Farmer plays one original, two songs by Dave Grusin and one piece by pianist Fritz Pauer) and often featured musicians who did not normally play together, the results were generally quite rewarding. For this CTI LP (long out-of-print), the focus is almost entirely on Farmer who is joined by keyboardist Grusin, guitarist Eric Gale, flutist Jeremy Steig, either Will Lee or George Mraz on bass and drummer Steve Gadd. The moody music holds one's interest throughout.
Although the personnel listing mistakenly lists pianist Fritz Pauer as playing bass, this mellow release features his duets with flugelhornist Art Farmer. Pauer has been Farmer's regular pianist overseas since the flugelhornist moved to Europe in 1968. Together they perform three of Pauer's moody originals, an Austrian folk song and tunes by Al Cohn, Mal Waldron ("Soul Eyes"), Duke Ellington, Benny Golson and Tadd Dameron ("If You Could See Me Now") with the emphasis on ballads. A peaceful and mostly introspective release.
This [reissue] restores to circulation a strong Atlantic date from Art Farmer's immediate post-Jazztet period and features Farmer's quartet playing standards with swinging subtlety. Interaction, from 1963, is a vehicle for the intertwining improvisations of guitarist Jim Hall and Farmer, on flügelhorn, who weaves through and around Hall's sublimely understated lines with disarming ease, elegance, and sensitivity.
The Jazztet had been in existence for two years when they recorded what would be their final LPs, this date plus Another Git Together. The personnel (other than the two co-leaders flugelhornist Art Farmer and tenor-saxophonist Benny Golson) had completely changed since 1960 but the group sound was the same. The 1962 version of the Jazztet included trombonist Grachan Moncur III, pianist Harold Mabern, bassist Herbie Lewis and drummer Roy McCurdy and it is remarkable to think that this talent-filled group could not find enough jobs in order to stay together…
Autophysiopsychic is probably the single album that many Yusef Lateef fans either love or hate the most. Along with guest soloist Art Farmer on flugelhorn, guitarist Eric Gale, keyboardist Cliff Carter, drummer Jim Madison and bassist Gary King (except for "Sister Mamie," which features Steve Gadd and Alex Blake respectively), "Teefski" romps through five fat slices of original funk that have far more in common with the sounds of Chocolate City than with the bop sounds of 52nd Street. Autophysiopsychic is awash in the soft soul-funk-jazz sound typical of Creed Taylor's (CTI) productions in the 1970s.
Modern Art is the prelude recording for Art Farmer prior to his partnership with Benny Golson in the Jazztet, and also foreshadows the classy, tasteful inventiveness that group brought to the modern jazz world two years after this 1958 session. Pianist Bill Evans is in here, just before his pivotal work with Miles Davis on the classic album Kind of Blue, and was the table setter for McCoy Tyner's membership in the Jazztet. Brother Addison Farmer on bass and the great drummer Dave Bailey round out this sterling quintet that specializes in playing music with a subtle approach, which is neither tame nor conservatively lazy. Included on this date is the great Junior Mance tune "Jubilation," perfectly understated in a light gospel, soul-jazz, tuneful melody with both horns wonderfully matched up in balanced unison, side by side.
Two of trumpeter Art Farmer's earlier sessions as a leader are reissued on this CD in the OJC series. Farmer teams up with an all-star quintet (which includes tenor-saxophonist Sonny Rollins, pianist Horace Silver, bassist Percy Heath and drummer Kenny Clarke) for four songs and dominates a quartet (with pianist Wynton Kelly, bassist Addison Farmer and drummer Herbie Lovelle) on six other tunes. Farmer's sound is lyrical even on the uptempo pieces and he is heard throughout in his early prime. Highlights include "Soft Shoe," "I'll Take Romance," "Autumn Nocturne" and an uptempo "Gone with the Wind." One should note that the programming differs from what is listed, with "Soft Shoe" (which should have been the opener) actually appearing fifth and the songs listed as appearing second through fifth moving up to first through fourth. Despite that flaw, the music is quite enjoyable and a must for 1950s bop collectors.