A CTI powerhouse – five full albums from reedman Joe Farrell, each packaged in a tiny LP-styled sleeve! First up is Joe Farrell Quartet – a stellar session that's easily one of the early high points for the legendary CTI label! Farrell bursts forth as one heck of a soulful cat – working on these great modal grooves that slide out wonderfully and really have a sense of flow – a style that's different than Joe's later material, but equally powerful! Part of the strength of the record comes from the lineup – a key quintet of like-mined up-and-comers that includes Chick Corea on keyboards, John McLaughlin on guitar, Dave Holland on bass, and Jack DeJohnette on drums – players who definitely know the farther reaches of jazz, yet hang just on the inside here with Joe – providing some amazing accompaniment for his lines on soprano, tenor, and flute. Titles include "Molten Glass", "Song Of The Wind", "Motion", "Follow Your Heart", and "Circle In The Square". Next is Outback – a drawn-out quintet side, with Chick Corea on electric piano, Buster Williams on bass, Elvin Jones on drums, and Airto on percussion. Farrell was playing with Jones at the time, and the album's got some of their strong choppy reed/
percussion interplay – but with a sharpness and focus that you don't always hear on Elvin's records! Tracks are all long – and titles include "Outback", "Sound Down", and "Bleeding Orchid". Penny Arcade has grooves so sharp you could cut your trousers on them! Farrell's angular reed style is in perfect form here – grooving with a small group that includes Herbie Hancock on piano, Joe Beck on guitar, Steve Gadd on drums, and Don Alias on percussion – a combo that's got a harder, tighter feel than most CTI groups – a key reason why Joe's records of this time are so legendary! The album features a fantastic version of Stevie Wonder's "Too High" – one that breaks all over the beginning with these riffs by Farrell, then grooves into a CTI electric funk mode for about 13 minutes. All tracks are long – and other tracks include "Hurricane Jane", "Geo Blue", "Penny Arcade", and "Cloud Cream
". Upon This Rock is wonderful – and there's a lean, edgey groove to the set that's totally great – a lot more bite than usual for CTI, thanks to these wonderfully angular lines from Joe on tenor, soprano sax, and flute – backed up with some wicked guitar work from Joe Beck, who really matches Farrell's energy – in a core quartet with Herb Bushler on bass and Jim Madison on drums. One cut features a guest group – with Herbie Hancock on piano, Steve Gadd on drums, and Don Alias on percussion – and the album includes the massively break-heavy title cut "Upon This Rock", plus "Seven Seas", "I Won't Be Back", and "Weathervane". Last up is Canned Funk – a record that's as fresh and freaky as the classic image on the cover! The riffing rhythms get going right from the start – some amazing lines from a rhythm combo that includes Joe Beck on guitar, Herb Bushler on bass, Jim Madison on drums, and the mighty Ray Mantilla on percussion – adding in these extra changes and fills that really get the tunes moving wonderfully – providing a perfect platform for Joe Farrell's wonderful work on tenor, soprano, baritone, and flute! The sax lines are as angular as the rhythms – tight, choppy, and completely funky – no wonder the record's a CTI classic that folks have dug for years! Tracks are all nice and long – and titles include "Canned Funk", "Animal", and "Spoken Silence".