Art Farmer – To Duke With Love – Test of Time Records

by | Jul 12, 2007 | Jazz CD Reviews | 0 comments

Art Farmer – To Duke With Love – Test of Time Records TOT-11, 40:30 *****:

(Art Farmer, Flugelhorn; Cedar Walton, piano; Sam Jones, bass; Billy Higgins, drums)

This classic album was the first one that the versatile trumpet player recorded for the Japanese jazz label East Wind, and the start of a series of recordings with the same sidemen that continued for some time. The six tunes make a magnificent homage to Duke Ellington, with arrangements by Art himself. In addition to some of the Ellington hits Farmer has chosen some rare items such as The Star-Crossed Lovers – which comes from Ellington’s Such Sweet Thunder Shakespearean-oriented album. The Brown Skin Gal in the Calico Gown is an even more obscure Ellington tune.

The rich and warm sound of Farmer’s Flugelhorn is distinctive and oh-so-classy. Sonics are first-rate too, with DSD mastering of the original analog tapes on all Test of Time reissues.  East Wind was known not only for some of the most gorgeous LP covers ever but also for a number of superb direct disc recordings. I don’t know if this session was one of them, but regardless the analog tapes run at the same time would have be the source for this wonderful CD reissue. My only gripe is that Test of Time failed to correct the error on the original release crediting Lush Life to Ellington rather than to Billy Strayhorn.

TrackList: In a Sentimental Mood; It Don’t Mean a Thing; The Star-Crossed Lovers; The Brown Skin Gal in the Calico Gown; Lush Life; Love You Madly.

 – John Henry

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