Art Farmer – Yesterday’s Thoughts (Art Farmer, flugelhorn; Cedar Walton, piano; Sam Jones, bass; Billy Higgins-drums) – Test of Time Records

by | Apr 17, 2006 | Jazz CD Reviews | 0 comments

Art Farmer – Yesterday’s Thoughts (Art Farmer, flugelhorn; Cedar Walton, piano; Sam Jones, bass; Billy Higgins-drums) – Test of Time Records, TOT-3,  44:58 (1975) ****:

Rare Art Farmer records are a reason to rejoice for trumpet fans. Previously issued in Japan in 1976, and recorded at the Vanguard Studios in New York, this CD is now being released on Test of Time Records (an apt label for music of this quality), a division of 441 Records. This is a horn session for the ages. Meticulously recorded by Japanese producers, and made up of largely standards, this CD re-release is a must-have for fans of Farmer.

Supported by a superstar rhythm section of Cedar Walton on piano, Sam Jones on bass, and the great Billy Higgins on drums, Farmer’s burnished warm tone is presented in elegant fashion. With only pianist Walton alive today – many of our jazz masters have passed away in the last 5-10 years (including Higgins and Farmer) – this CD re-release is a special occasion as Farmer was still in prime form in the mid-70s, having largely given up the trumpet for the more mellow flugelhorn. His rhythm section accompaniment here is spot on – how could any leader go wrong with Walton, Jones, and Higgins? Farmer is in the spotlight on every track but Walton gets opportunities to solo, such as on Jobim’s, How Insensitive.

Johnny Mercer’s Namely You is given respectful treatment in ballad form. Alone Together – which at 9:25 provides opportunities for all the musicians to shine – especially Sam Jones in a lengthy solo, is done with effortless style. The haunting Benny Golson composition, Yesterday’s Thoughts, is done in a mid 50s Miles Davis style. Each of Farmer’s phrase warms the heart and soul.

Search out this CD, as it will become today’s pleasant recollection of a master trumpet ballad player near the top of his game.

– Jeff Krow

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