Art Farmer

Farmer's Market

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In 1956, trumpeter Art Farmer was teamed with tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley and pianist Horace Silver in one of the most vital and important modern jazz groups of the seminal hard bop era. But it was Farmer here who was emerging as a leader, with Mobley tagging along on this excellent date. Not to say that Mobley was a slouch, and indeed far from it as a peer of Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane. Fact is, Mobley led the band with Farmer and Silver, but achieved his greatest acclaim alongside trumpeters Lee Morgan, and eventually Miles Davis. For Farmer, this recording was a coming out party, establishing him not only as a fine player, but a composer who lyricists were attracted to. "Farmer's Market" with its by now immortal swift hard bop melody and harmony courtesy of the Farmer/Mobley tandem, and the languid ballad "Reminiscing" with Mobley out but pianist Kenny Drew adding reinforcement a hundredfold, were covered vocally later on by Annie Ross and Earl Coleman respectively. Twin brother Addison Farmer stokes the coals on bass for the hard swinging "Wailin' with Hank," goes for a cool blues groove as the horns play a unison line on "Ad-Dis-Un," and strokes a bluesy swing during "By Myself" as another feature for the trumpeter, in this case with mute, and Mobley sitting out. Drummer Elvin Jones, who sounds like a more sensitive rhythm pilot instead of the powerhouse he would become with John Coltrane, plays his role as an intent listener and firm contributor without pushing the envelope. His style on the recording deserves a close inspection, vis à vis what he would become a decade later. Considering this is early period Farmer, and that his work after leaving the U.S. for Europe led him to playing the softer toned flugelhorn and trumpet exclusively, it is an important document in his legacy, comparing favorably alongside peers Clifford Brown, Miles Davis, and an also emerging Donald Byrd or Lee Morgan.

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