When an artist speaks of another with admiration and respect, it is without match. These words are from Geoffrey Keezer: “One night at Sweet Basil in the mid-1990s (it was Art’s main jazz club of residence in NYC), we were playing a slow Mal Waldron ballad, “Soul Eyes,” that Art played often. When it came time for Art to solo, he chose to play only one note per measure (it was a 32-bar form), playing a whole note on beat one of each bar. Every note he picked
was exquisite — he chose the “prettiest” note in each chord. It felt like he was giving a lesson to the young guys in his band, that you don’t have to play a zillion notes all the time. It created so much anticipation in the room that the audience was literally hanging on his every note.”
Art Farmer’s sound, as eloquently described by Keezer, was and is deeply personal and signatured. His style, his way. Lyrical, his sound was so much an extension of him that simply expressing it through the trumpet or flugelhorn was not enough.
His lyrical soundscape could only be best produced as his artistic voice through a hybrid instrument known as the “flumpet,” a combination of the trumpet and flugelhorn. The sound of the instrument resonates with a sound that has the power of the trumpet and the warmth of the flugelhorn. That combination is the essence of the Farmer sound: a singular voice speaking at once with power and warmth.