Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Gary McFarland was an inventive arranger/composer who sadly never saw his career reach its full potential. As a musician, he played trumpet, trombone, and piano before settling on the vibes when he was 21. Before he knew it, he was working as a freelance arranger (and vibraphonist) for artists like Gerry Mulligan, Johnny Hodges, John Lewis, Stan Getz, Bob Brookmeyer, Anita O'Day, Bill Evans, and many others.
1963's Point of Departure is one of McFarland's finest solo offerings, and features an all-star sextet with Richie Kamuca on tenor and oboe, guitarist Jimmy Raney, trombonist Willie Dennis, bassist Steve Swallow, and drummer Mel Lewis. Filled with colorful, bop-oriented solos and gorgeous arrangements, the LP remains sadly (and mysteriously) out of print.