18 February 2007
ART FARMER - THE AZTEC SUITE
Art Farmer teamed up with Chico O'Farrill who composed and arranged this 1959 latin jazz suite for United Artists.
Here's a rather underwhelming review from Ken Dryden at AMG-personally I think it's a pretty good example of big band latin jazz in the late 50s.
One of the rarer LPs in Art Farmer's sizable discography is this 1960 studio date for United Artists, whose centerpiece is Chico O'Farrill's "The Aztec Suite." This long piece has its moments, particularly featuring the trumpeter and solos by unidentified sidemen (it is possible that the tenor saxophonist is Al Cohn, the conductor of the piece). In spite of the assurances of the uncredited liner notes author who states that "since its introduction, it has become a jazz classic," this suite sounds uneven and rather dated. It isn't clear if O'Farrill is also the arranger for the shorter tracks on the flip side of the record, though it is very likely. Unfortunately, excessive Latin percussion overwhelms Irving Berlin's "Heat Wave," while a normally terrific standard, "Alone Together," is rapidly faded at an odd moment. Dizzy Gillespie's "Woody 'n You" proves to be rather successful, however. Farmer's own solos tend to be rather brief. It's hard to consider this long unavailable disc to be an essential part of Art Farmer's career, but collectors who have a compulsive interest in collecting everything may want to hunt auction lists to track down a copy.
This has just made a cd reissue (coupled with Brass Shout)for the Gambit label.