Art Farmer / Benny Golson / The Jazztet

The Complete Argo/Mercury Jazztet Sessions

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The Jazztet was one of the best small groups playing hard bop during the early '60s, jointly led by Art Farmer and Benny Golson. This boxed set not only includes all six albums that they recorded for Argo and Mercury, but also features three sessions apiece led separately by Farmer and Golson. Farmer was in the process of making a switch from trumpet to flügelhorn during this time frame, while Golson's solid tenor sax was overshadowed somewhat by his impressive contributions as a composer and arranger, a primary reason the group is remembered. Their first session alone featured three of Golson's most lasting compositions, "I Remember Clifford" (showcasing Farmer's heartfelt solo), the exciting hard bop anthem "Blues March," and the funky, sauntering "Killer Joe." The Jazztet struggled financially and had quite a turnover among its sidemen during its two years in existence. Pianists included McCoy Tyner, Cedar Walton, and Harold Mabern; among the trombonists were Curtis Fuller, Tom McIntosh, and Grachan Moncur III. Bassists included Addison Farmer, Tommy Williams, and Herbie Lewis; the drummers were Lex Humphries, Albert Tootie Heath, and Roy McCurdy. Regardless of the edition of the group, their performances are consistently tightly knit, with numerous brilliant solos. The individually led dates are also noteworthy. Tommy Flanagan was the anchor to Farmer's rhythm section on the quartet session Art, highlighted by his moving interpretation of "I'm a Fool to Want You." Perception is the first record date in which Farmer played flügelhorn on every selection. Harold Mabern is the pianist on this quartet session, which includes Tom McIntosh's mournful ballad "The Day After." Farmer chose Oliver Nelson to arrange his big-band date Listen to Art Farmer and the Orchestra, which also features the leader exclusively on flügelhorn. Nelson's best chart is his adventurous scoring of John Coltrane's lush ballad "Naima." Benny Golson's individual record dates merit equal praise. In the seemingly trite concept behind the making of Take a Number From 1 to 10 (featuring Golson unaccompanied, then in a duo setting, trio, then all the way up to a tentet), it turned out to be one of his most memorable releases, with Farmer joining him only on the tentet arrangement of "Time." The quartet session Turning Point borrowed Miles Davis' rhythm section (Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers, and Jimmy Cobb), with the group sounding at its most inspired during "Three Little Words." Golson's Free is another quartet session, with Flanagan, Ron Carter, and Art Taylor in tow. Golson's driving attack is the heart of "Just in Time," which he had previously recorded with the Jazztet. Although a few of the individual albums which make up this boxed set were reissued on CD, compilations omitted some tracks, and few of the reissues remained available for long. Mosaic has done its usual standard-setting job of putting together this limited-edition boxed set, with lots of session photographs and detailed liner notes by the very knowledgeable Bob Blumenthal, though no previously issued tracks were uncovered. Hard bop fans are advised not to tarry, even though Mosaic planned to issued 10,000 copies of this essential collection of the works of Art Farmer, Benny Golson, and the Jazztet. It is available exclusively through the label at

Track Listing - Disc 5

Title/Composer Performer Time
1 4:44
2 4:33
3 5:28
4 5:20
5 5:41
6 4:16
7 5:32
8 4:17
9 5:12
10 2:25
11 4:18
12 3:57
14 3:58
15 5:22
16 4:04

Track Listing - Disc 7

Title/Composer Performer Time
1 1:37
2 4:14
3 2:50
4 3:06
5 3:39
6 4:29
7 4:49
8 3:51
9 5:18
10 3:37
11 4:21
12 3:42
13 4:09
14 4:38
15 4:57
16 2:54
17 5:24
18 4:39
blue highlight denotes track pick