Concord Records’ release of Tal Farlow, Autumn Leaves
is a two CD reissue representing Farlow’s work on the Concord recordings Tal Farlow ‘78
and The Legendary Tal Farlow
recorded in 1985. Farlow, who established his reputation in the late 1940’s/early 1950’s was perhaps as well known for his scarcity in the recording studio (particularly after 1959) as he was for his incredibly agile technique.
The CD originally released as Tal Farlow ‘78
is in a straightforward, uncluttered trio format with only bass and drums accompanying Farlow’s guitar. The eight tune set comes in at just over forty-one minutes, and is comprised mostly of Farlow’s interpretation of familiar standards, such as "Here’s That Rainy Day," "Autumn Leaves," "Perdido," "Satin Doll," and others. Farlow also adds two of his own original compositions, "Mahoney’s 11 Ohms," and "Gymkhana in Soho." Throughout the listener is treated to the intricate clean melodic lines and chords that Farlow draws from his instrument providing some truly wonderful moments. One that stands out is the opening to "Autumn Leaves" in which Farlow plays unaccompanied and provides an excellent example of his high level of ability and tasteful musicianship. Bassist Gary Mazzaroppi also gets in some solo licks on a few tunes, and drummer Tom Sayek lays down consistent and swinging time with a light precise feel. The Legendary Tal Farlow
, the second reissue disc in the set, adds piano and woodwinds to the combo mix. This disc comes in at nearly forty-three minutes and is comprised entirely of standards drawing upon the work of George Gershwin, Duke Ellington, Vernon Duke, Benny Carter and others. Again Farlow’s deft and spry technique are exemplified in this recording as he winds his way through the various tunes and trades solos with the other members of the ensemble. The CD opens with the swinging and up-tempo "You Stepped Out Of A Dream" featuring the flute of Sam Most, Farlow’s guitar, and the piano of Frank Strazzeri. Other highlights include "I Got It Bad And That Ain’t Good" which again features the flute of Sam Most and "I Can’t Get Started" that has bassist Bob Maize playing the head and soloing to the paired down accompaniment of only Farlow’s guitar. The CD concludes with another example of Farlow playing unaccompanied in the opening of the tune "Everything Happens To Me."
This is an excellent collection of reissues by a musician who stayed out of the limelight too often, and these CDs would be a welcome addition to any avid jazz listener. It is unfortunate that Farlow didn’t record more frequently, however it is very fortunate for jazz aficionados that Concord has opted to reissue two of his recordings in this set Autumn Leaves