Art Farmer - Silk Road

Arabesque Recordings

Original release date: June 11th, 1996

Availabilty: MP3 download, iTunes

Silk Road cover

Amazon's launch of MP3 downloads is effectively a re-release of over 5,000 hard bop/mainstream jazz albums, many of which have been previously unavailable or at the least difficult to obtain. Add to this the fact that the cost of each MP3 download album is normally less than half the CD album cost and this is very good news indeed for jazz lovers starved of much of the great music of the past by the reluctance of record companies to risk the cost of re-release in physical CD format. Though presently only available in the US, it is strongly to be hoped that this format is spread to Europe and the rest of the world. Many of these albums are also available for download at iTunes store.

Art Farmer's "Silk Road" on the tiny Arabesque label is a fine example of what is now being made available. Playing flumpet (a hybrid instrument between trumpet and flugelhorn) the veteran Art Farmer is joined by Geoffrey Keezer on piano whose arrangements are instinctively right for bringing out the resonance in the great jazzman's playing while offering plenty of scope for experimentation of his own. Ron Blake plays tenor sax and Don Braden plays alto, allowing Geoffrey Keezer's arrangements to take on a full and rounded sound. Kenny Davis (bass) and Carl Allen (drums) complete the sextet.

There is a great, satisfyingly traditional, take on the Mitchell Parish and Hoagy Carmichael composition "Stardust", a strong opener in Ray Bryant's "Tonk" and a novel arrangement of Duke Elllington's "I Let A Song Go Out of My Heart". But the real strength of the album is in the original compositions, one each by Art Farmer, Don Braden and Kenny Davis and two by Geoffrey Keezer.

This is involving jazz of the highest order and it is a great pleasure to see that this has the chance of reaching a wider audience once more.

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To preview and purchase " Silk Road" at iTunes store:

 Silk Road cover

Art Farmer - Silk Road

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