An amazing 2-in-1 CD – filled with sublime work from the mighty Art Farmer! First up is Brass Shout – a great little album by this wonderful trumpeter – and one that we passed up for years because we were afraid of the words "brass" and "shout" in the title! If
you're a Farmer fan, though, don't worry about this being some sort of snoozy "bold n brassy" session – because it's a much more subtle record, and features some excellent lead solos by Farmer, set amidst a larger group arranged wonderfully by Benny Golson! Golson brings a great sense of balance to the album – mixing some larger horn passages with soulfully snapping rhythms, all at a level that still allows plenty of space for Farmer to solo sweetly on trumpet. Other players on the record include Lee Morgan on trumpet and Curtis Fuller on trombone, Percy Heath on bass, and either Philly Joe Jones or Elvin Jones on drums – and titles include "Minor Vamp", "Nica's Dream", "Stella By Starlight", "Moanin", "April In Paris", and "Five Spot After Dark". Aztec Suite is a rare Latin outing from trumpeter Art Farmer – one that has him working with the mighty Cuban arranger Chico O'Farrill! The grooves here are hardly "Aztec", as Chico brings a hip postwar vibe to the session – a blend of American jazz and Latin rhythms that's totally great, and played by an all-star array of players conducted by Al Cohn! Side one of the record features the extended "Aztec Suite" – an ambitious number that begins with modern moments that are somewhere in a space between Stan Kenton and Ralph Burns' experiments of this nature, but which always has Farmer's trumpet as the center focus. Side two features tracks that are a bit more conventional Latin jazz – still played by the bigger group, but with an even stronger sense of swing! Titles include "Aztec Suite", "Heat Wave", "Drume Negrita", "Alone Together", "Woody N You", and "Delirio".