La Cathedral Y El Toro

Joe Farrell

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La Cathedral Y El Toro Review

by Jason Elias

Signed to Warner Bros. in 1977, Farrell, who had been a valued sideman, had also released a few albums under his own name. On CTI, he released albums like Moon Germs, Song of the Wind, and Outback. But like many artists of his type, he was only as good as his producers and the album's premises. Ralph McDonald and William Eaton produced La Catedral Y El Toro. Despite the authoritative title, this is a fairly standard fusion set. The title track aims for Chick Corea-like expansion and excitement, but the production renders it listless, even Stanley Clarke's bass solo sounds enervated. "Promise Me Your Love" is trademark low-key and soothing McDonald and Eaton, with guitarist Eric Gale and Richard Tee's keyboards ably assisting Farrell's fluid soprano and tenor sax solos. Even halfway before it's over, it's apparent that La Catedral Y El Toro's most notable facet is how it squanders the eye-popping talent and Farrell's gifts. "Cyclone Rider" and Patti Austin's "Is It Asking Too Much" both feature Farrell as little more than a bystander on his own album. The final track, "Imagine Me," is a feather light offering featuring his often-captivating flute work falling into off notes and lack of energy. La Cathedral Y El Toro also features the talents of bassist Anthony Jackson and drummer Steve Gadd, among others. This 1977 effort is a case of Farrell not clicking with his producers, and that fact makes this less than recommended.

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