This Art Farmer studio session from 1971 has a slight contemporary flavor to it, due to the addition of conga player James "Mtume" Forman and percussionist Warren Smith, Jr. to a core group of collaborators including Jimmy Heath, Cedar Walton, Sam Jones, and Billy Higgins. Unfortunately, the additional percussionists are too prominent in the mix, greatly distracting from the driving arrangements of Farmer's "Homecoming" and Kenny Dorham's "Blue Bossa" as well as a peppy bossa nova, "Cascavelo." Far better are the quintet tracks, including the laid-back and mellow interpretation of Leonard Bernstein's ballad "Some Other Time," featuring the leader's matchless flügelhorn and Heath's soprano sax, and an upbeat chart of "Here's That Rainy Day." Another annoying problem is the seemingly out of tune piano, though Walton makes the best of a bad instrument. Not an essential album in the vast Farmer discography, but worth acquiring if found at a reasonable price, though it will be difficult.
by Ken Dryden