Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Art Farmer (1928-1999) was an American jazz trumpeter and flugelhorn player. He also played flumpet, a trumpet/flugelhorn combination designed for him by David Monette.

He joined Lionel Hampton's orchestra around 1953, (fellow trumpeters Clifford Brown and Quincy Jones were also with Hampton at the time), and having relocated to New York, later worked with Gigi Gryce, Horace Silver and Gerry Mulligan among others. In the early 1960s Farmer established a trio with guitarist Jim Hall and bassist Steve Swallow. He then moved to Europe, ultimately based in Vienna, where he performed with The Kenny Clarke-Francy Boland Big Band. Farmer also recorded extensively as a leader throughout his later career.

"Soul Sides" comes from his 1972 album "Gentle Eyes"--a slow, laconic number that crystallizes Farmer's big band arrangement (for 15 string and 5 horn players) and some wonderfully funky solos. The track was later sampled by Kool G Rap for on "For Da Brothaz."

Kool G. Rap's "For Da Brothaz":

Sunday, February 17, 2008


And, sadly, another legend passes away....

From the Stones Throw/Now Again website:

Conrad O. Johnson, bandleader of the Kashmere High School Stage Band from 1968-1978 and owner of Kram Records, the label that issued the Band’s legendary eight albums and three 7” singles of Texas jazz, funk and soul music, died in Houston on February 3 at 92 years of age...

...Johnson, known by those close to him simply as “Prof” took the reins of the Band in the late 1960s and worked with his charges to perfect the idiom that they understood most: funk. Heavy funk at that. By the time that the band recorded their third album, “Thunder Soul,” they were funking like a mini-JBs. And, by the time they won “Best Stage Band In The Nation” in 1972, they were funking as hard as the JBs themselves. Yet the Band was relegated to the annals of funk lore, largely due to the fact that the records they released were so rare and, when a collector did get his hands on an original copy, he usually wanted to keep that power for his own ears..."

DJ Shadow famously sampled the Kashmere Stage Band for the track "Holy Calamity" on the first Handsome Boy Modeling School LP.

What else can be said? Rest in peace, Conrad. Thanks for the music. "Rhapsody in Blue" below.