Art Farmer: Live at the Stanford Jazz Workshop

Recordings made at live concerts often bring out the best in artists and, as a result, they often become classics that stand the test of time. This performance by the Art Farmer Quintet is one of those goodies-a keeper that not only shows the virtuosity of its leader, but also the unquestionable gifts of sax master Harold Land, pianist Bill Bell, and masters Rufus Reed on bass and Albert “Tootie” Heath on drums.

Farmer plays his “flumpet,” a custom-made instrument that combines the warm sound of the fluegelhorn with the resonance of a trumpet. The group opened with Monk’s “I Mean You,” with each member of the aggregation trading solos with authority. Land was particularly impressive on the tenor, and he kept his chops primed for the next track-Monk’s “Eronel,” taking off once again with some inspired blowing. The top cut is probably Kenny Dorham’s “Blue Bossa,” with some strong keyboard work by Bell, and drum work good enough to bring out the beast in you from Mr. Heath.

Other highlights include Land again wailing on “Born To Be Blue,” with equally passionate playing by Bell and Land’s “Rapture,” with some entrancing solos by the group that are visceral in their effect. For the closer, the group again turned to Monk, this time with “Straight No Chaser,” where Heath again showed his classic drum form while Farmer’s improvisational skills left this college audience obviously impressed.