Los Angeles' trumpeter Art Farmer (1928), a veteran of Lionel Hampton (1952-53), Oscar Pettiford (1956-57), Horace Silver (1957) and Gerry Mulligan (1958), had debuted as a leader with his Septet (july 1953), upon settling in New York (arranged by Quincy Jones, the first album to feature an electric bass, played by Monk Montgomery, an instrument invented in 1951 by Leo Fender and first employed in country music in Nashville). His favorite vehicle was the two-horn quintet,
as on Farmer's Market (november 1956), featuring tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley and drummer Elvin Jones,
on the two 10" EPs of When Farmer Met Gryce (may 1954 and may 1955), both
with alto saxophonist Gigi Gryce (who composed all the music) and the first one featuring the rhythm section of Horace Silver (piano), Percy Heath (bass) and Kenny Clarke (drums), and on another quintet with Gryce,
Evening In Casablanca (october 1955).
Last Night When We Were Young (march 1957), arranged for string orchestra by Quincy Jones,
Portrait (may 1958), for a quartet with pianist Hank Jones, Addison Farmer and drummer Roy Haynes,
led to his
partnership with arranger Benny Golson, that began with Modern Art (september 1958) and Brass Shout (april 1959) for a tentet.
After Aztec Suite (november 1959), containing Chico O'Farrill's 16-minute Aztec Suite for Latin big band,
Farmer joined Golson's Jazztet, but continued producing music with his own quartets.
Art (september 1960), with Tommy Flanagan on piano, was already ethereal by the
standards of hard-bop, but the real breakthrough in sound came with
Perception (october 1961) and Listen to Art Farmer and the Orchestra (september 1962), arranged by Oliver Nelson for big band, that emphasized his lyrical style at the flugelhorn. By switching instrument, Farmer had also changed mood.
After the Jazztet broke up, Farmer formed a quartet with guitarist Jim Hall
and bassist Steve Swallow that recorded Interaction (july 1963) and then
mutated into a quartet with Swallow, pianist Steve Kuhn and drummer Pete LaRoca
for the better Sing Me Softly of the Blues (march 1965), which was basically an imitation of Pete LaRoca's Basra with Farmer replacing Joe Henderson.
After Baroque Sketches (september 1966), arranged for baroque orchestra by Golson,
Farmer employed a quintet with tenor saxophonist Jimmy Heath and pianist Cedar Walton for The Time And The Place (february 1967).
After moving to Europe, where he recorded Gentle Eyes (1971) with an Austrian orchestra, Farmer explored his lyrical side via a quartet with Walton,
the big band of Something You Got (july 1977)
and several other combinations.
Throughout his career, Farmer's problem was a chronic lack of good material.
He was certainly important for popularizing the flugelhorn in jazz music.
Farmer died in 1999.
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