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The Swinging Guitar of Tal Farlow

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Album Review

In the mid-'50s, guitarist Tal Farlow led one of his finest groups, a drumless trio with pianist Eddie Costa and bassist Vinnie Burke. The same band would record the album Tal a week or two later. With Burke contributing a constant walking bass, the interplay between Farlow and Costa is always exciting, whether they are playing unisons or trading off. This 1999 CD reissue not only has the original seven selections but "Gone With the Wind" (which was left off of the original LP due to lack of space) plus three full-length alternate takes that are basically on the same level as the masters. Among the highpoints are "Taking a Chance on Love," "Yardbird Suite," "Like Someone in Love," and Farlow's lone original, "Meteor," which utilizes the chord changes of "Confirmation." Hot bebop that is easily recommended.

Customer Reviews

Good Jazz Guitar? Great Jazz!

It's hard to believe that there are no other reviews yet for this masterpiece. It uses an unusual trio instrumentation that Farlow played with frequently, Piano, Guitar, and Bass. The lack of drums is a bit distracting at first, but the interplay between the musicians makes up for it. Firstly, Farlow's tone is like a waterfall of artesian well water. It's really breathtaking, and this is the brightest that I've heard his recorded guitar. You can really hear that vintage tube amplifier sing. Secondly, Eddie Costa is a monster on the piano! He has a huge swinging style, with bucketloads of energy, and the interplay between Costa and Farlow is very inspiring. The guitar and the piano have such a similar timbre on this record, that they become intertwined sonically, and it is difficult to tell who is playing what... in a good way! Thirdly, the song selection is superb, and really fits this up-tempo bop session. This is really a classic album, and especially fans of fine technical jazz guitar will like it. But farlow was not just technique, he was a fountain of creativity every time he played a phrase, and it makes for an exciting listen every time.

So underrated!!!

This is one gem of an album that should get more recognition in the jazz world than it does. Tal Farlow is everything that a jazz guitarist should strive to be. It is evident by the fewer number of reviews, that this album is not one of the most sought after albums when compared to classics such as Kind of Blue or Midnight Blue. Nevertheless, buy this album and you won't regret it!


Born: June 7, 1921 in Greensboro, NC

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Nearly as famous for his reluctance to play as for his outstanding abilities, guitarist Tal Farlow did not take up the instrument until he was already 21, but within a year was playing professionally and in 1948 was with Marjorie Hyams' band. While with the Red Norvo Trio (which originally included Charles Mingus) from 1949-1953, Farlow became famous in the jazz world. His huge hands and ability to play rapid yet light lines made him one of the top guitarists of the era. After six months with Artie...
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The Swinging Guitar of Tal Farlow, Tal Farlow
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