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 Art Farmer 
Art Farmer
October 4, 1999
Age 71
 
Heart Attack 
    
    
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OBITUARY 
       
NY TIMES
        
 Art Farmer, 71, Be-Bop Master of the Trumpet and Fluegelhorn

  
          By BEN RATLIFF 

               Art Farmer, one of the more important second-generation be-bop 
               musicians, an improviser who could say a great deal in a few notes 
          on the trumpet and fluegelhorn and later on his own hybrid instrument, the 
          "flumpet," died on Monday in Manhattan.  

          He was 71 and lived in Manhattan and Vienna.  

          The cause was cardiac arrest, said his manager and companion, Lynne 
          Mueller.  

          Farmer was considered a master of ballad playing.  

          His tone was soft and even and sure, with no vibrato and with canny 
          silences built into his improvisations.  

          He was born in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and when he was 4 his family 
          moved to Phoenix. He studied piano and violin in grade school there. As 
          a teen-ager he joined a dance band playing big-band arrangements, and 
          he often invited members of whatever swing band happened to pass 
          through town to come to his house and jam with him and his twin brother, 
          Addison, the bassist, who died in 1963.  

          In 1945, when they were 16, the Farmer brothers moved to Los 
          Angeles, having promised their mother that they would finish school. It 
          was a time when great musicians were coming out of the city's integrated 
          high schools; at Jefferson High Farmer studied with the well known music 
          teacher Samuel Browne, who also taught Frank Morgan, Hampton 
          Hawes and Don Cherry, among many others.  

          Farmer worked in Los Angeles with Horace Henderson, Johnny Otis 
          and others, leaving school to join Otis's group on tour.  

          He recorded a be-bop classic, "Farmer's Market," with Wardell Gray's 
          band.  

          In 1952 Farmer went on tour with Lionel Hampton, and in 1953 he 
          settled in New York, joining bands led by Gigi Gryce and Horace Silver. 
          In 1958 he was hired by the saxophonist Gerry Mulligan for one of his 
          bracing new pianoless groups.  

          At the end of the 50's Farmer formed the Jazztet, a sextet, with the 
          saxophonist Benny Golson. Together they wrote a deep repertory of 
          harmonically sophisticated, tightly arranged music, and the group defined 
          the state of the art for mainstream jazz until the music's prevailing winds 
          began to grow wilder.  

          The group broke up in 1962, and Farmer started another jointly ed 
          group, with the guitarist Jim Hall. The Jazztet reunited in 1982 and played 
          through most of the 80's.  

          In the early 60's he often used the fluegelhorn, which has a warmer, 
          creamier sound, suiting his lyricism and terseness.  

          Then in the early 90's he designed a mixture of the two instruments, the 
          flumpet, which combined projection with warmth.  

          When work grew sparse in New York, he moved to Vienna in 1968 to 
          join a radio jazz orchestra.  

          He ended up staying and starting a family but traveled constantly, playing 
          with local pickup rhythm sections around the world. For the last few 
          years, he had a residence in Manhattan and was dividing his time equally 
          between Vienna and New York.  

          Farmer's discography as a leader is large and as a sideman larger, 
          encompassing work on the Blue Note, Contemporary, Soul Note, Enja 
          and Arabesque labels, among others. His most recent album, from 1997, 
          was "Silk Road" (Arabesque).  

          Besides Ms. Mueller, Farmer is survived by his sister, Mauvolene 
          Thomas, of Tucson, and his son, Georg, of Vienna.  
 

 
 
 
     
  
    
  
 
       
 

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BIOGRAPHY
 
 
All-Music Guide
 
Born: Aug 21, 1928 in Council Bluffs, IA
     Largely overlooked during his formative years, Art Farmer's 
     consistently inventive playing has been more greatly appreciated 
     as he continues to develop. Along with Clark Terry, Farmer 
     helped to popularize the flugelhorn among brass players. His 
     lyricism gives his bop-oriented style its own personality. Farmer 
     studied piano, violin and tuba before settling on trumpet. He 
     worked in Los Angeles from 1945 on, performing regularly  
     Central Avenue and spending time in the bands of Johnny Otis, 
     Jay McShann, Roy Porter, Benny Carter and Gerald Wilson 
     among others; some of the groups also included his twin brother 
     bassist Addison Farmer (1928-63). After playing with Wardell 
     Gray (1951-52) and touring Europe with Lionel Hampton's big 
     band (1953) Farmer moved to New York and worked with 
    Gigi Gryce (1954-56), Horace Silver's Quintet (1956-58) and  
    the Gerry Mulligan Quartet (1958-9). 
Farmer, who made many recordings in the latter half of the 1950s (including with Quincy Jones and George Russell and on some jam-session dates for Prestige) co-led the Jazztet with Benny Golson (1959-62) and then had a group with Jim Hall (1962-64). He moved to Vienna in 1968 where he joined the Austrian Radio Orchestra, worked with the Kenny Clarke-Francy Boland Big Band and toured with his own units. Since the 1980s Farmer has visited the U.S. more often and has remained greatly in demand up to the present day. Art Farmer has recorded many sessions as a leader through the years including for Prestige, Contemporary, United Artists, Argo, Mercury, Atlantic, Columbia, CTI, Soul Note, Optimism, Concord, Enja and Sweet Basil. -- Scott Yanow, All-Music Guide    


                                                                        Biography 

                              "What I try to do with a song, is to get as much enjoyment out of playing 
                              as I can. It's hard to verbalise, but the degree of enjoyment that I get out 
                              of it depends on just how natural it seems to me, and the natural feeling 
                              of playing this horn comes from really losing yourself in it, getting to the 
                              place where the song is second nature and you don't have to think about 
                              it." - Art Farmer 

                              Over 40 years into his professional career, Art Farmer has made good on 
                              all counts. He has made over a hundred recordings and the pleasure in 
                              his playing is palpable on all of them. His facility and emotional depth is 
                              unmatched on the trumpet, the flugelhorn and now a combination of 
                              both: the "flumpet". A curiously named, but beautiful sounding 
                              instrument with the dark, lustrious sound quality of the flugehorn 
                              incorporated with the bright edge of the trumpet, specially developed for 
                              Art by US master brass craftsman, David Monette. 

                              Art was born in Council Bluffs, Iowa in 1928, into a musical family that 
                              included his twin brother, the respected bassist Addison Farmer, who 
                              died in 1963. He grew up in Phoenix, Arizona, where he studied piano 
                              and violin in grammar school. Soldiered into playing the bugle for 
                              flag-raising ceremonies, young Art was assigned the sousaphone in the 
                              school marching band and was soon handed the cornet. At the age of 15 
                              he joined a dance band that played stock arrangements from the Count 
                              Basie, Duke Ellington and Jimme Lunceford bands. Art was completely 
                              won over to jazz by the sound of a trumpet in a big band and the 
                              excitement of jam sessions, both of which he heard when the big bands 
                              came through town. 

                              During the summer before their last year in high school, Art and Addison 
                              ventured west to Los Angeles and were soon immersed in the thriving 
                              jazz scene around Central Avenue. They met such greats as Hampton 
                              Hawes, Sonny Criss, Eric Dolphy and Charlie Parker and soon Art was 
                              playing in the bands of Horace Henderson, Flyod Ray and Jimmy 
                              Mundy. 

                              With bandleader Johnny Otis, Art made his first trip to New York and 
                              stayed long enough to win a job in Jay McShann's band. Landing back in 
                              Los Angeles, Farmer took various day jobs when necessary in order to 
                              play with musicians that he could learn from... Benny Carter, Gerald 
                              Wilson and Dexter Gordon. He recorded his first sides, including his 
                              heralded original "Farmer's Market" with tenor saxophonist Wardell Gray. 

                              By 1953, Art was settled in New York and playing in the Lionel Hampton 
                              band, alongside Clifford Brown, Quincy Jones and Gigi Gryce, amongst 
                              others. He learnt unerasable lessons during that period, especially when 
                              he played with tenor giant, Lester Young. Other musicians Art played 
                              with during the mid-fifties included Coleman Hawkins, Thelonius Monk, 
                              Charlie Mingus and Art Blakey. 

                              After organising a quintet with Gigi Gryce, playing in the Horace Silver 
                              Quintet and the Gerry Mulligan Quartet, as well as mastering 
                              "avant-garde" experiments with Teddy Charles, Teo Macero, and George 
                              Russell, Farmer earned a reputation for being able to play anything. 

                              Greater fame came in the brief flourishing of the Jazztet, the legendary 
                              sextet that he and saxophonist Benny Golson founded in 1959. In the 
                              sixties, Art formed a quartet with guitarist Jim Hall, but by the middle of 
                              the decade, he notes, "the bottom was falling out of jazz in New York". 
                              He had toured Europe several times and in 1968, after being invited to 
                              join a radio orchestra in Vienna, Art emigrated to Austria. He still lives 
                              there today, but continues to maintain a full schedule with concerts, club 
                              dates, clinics and festivals throughout Europe, the United States and 
                              Japan. 

                              In June 1994, Art was awarded "das Goldene Verdienstzeichen des 
                              Landes Wien"..."The Austrian Gold Medal of Merit." 

                              A concert honoring his lifetime musical achievements was held at the 
                              Lincoln Center in August 1994. Among the musicians who participated 
                              were his contemporaries Gerry Mulligan, Benny Golson, Slide Hampton, 
                              Ron Carter, Jim Hall and Jerome Richardson. Wynton Marsalis, Geoff 
                              Keezer and Lewis Nash also performed. 

                              Art still plays and records with large orchestras. He recorded the 
                              Brandenburg Concertos with the New York Jazz Orchestra and in 
                              september 1994 he performed Haydn's First Trumpet Concerto with the 
                              Austrian-Hungarian Haydn Philharmonic Orchestra. 

                              Whatever the context, Art Farmer treats each composition with the 
                              same meticulous melody and harmony, with a unique sense of swing 
                              and grace.

 
 
  
 
 

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