ARTIST: HAL MCKUSICK & ART FARMER
This Lone Hill compilation collects all of the quintet studio recordings made together by Art Farmer and Hal McKusick, covering four different groups, each with a unique rhythm section. Farmer was still playing trumpet, prior to his switch to flugelhorn, while the alto saxophonist also doubles on clarinet and bass clarinet. The bulk of the album features the two men with pianist Eddie Costa, bassist Milt Hinton, and drummer Gus Johnson, with Al Cohn and Manny Albam contributing most of the arrangements. It is immediately apparent that the co-leaders have a natural ability to complement one another with perfect backing for the other’s solos, highlighted by the magical take of “Alone Together.” The next session features two originals written and arranged by Jimmy Giuffre, with guitarist Barry Galbraith, bassist Teddy Kotick, and drummer Osie Johnson providing rhythm. Both of these cool-toned pieces have a touch of mystery and are beautifully interpreted. Giuffre is also the arranger for three pieces featuring Bill Evans, Paul Chambers, and Connie Kay with the leaders, with McKusick’s bass clarinet taking solo honors in “It Never Entered My Mind.” The last three tracks also include Evans, expanding the group to a sextet with Galbraith, Hinton, and Charlie Persip joining Farmer and McKusick. George Russell is the arranger, with a swaggering yet cool take of Russell’s “Stratusphunk” standing out. Recommended. ~ Ken Dryden, Rovi
iTUNES BALANCE: $73.03
THOUGHTS: I thoroughly enjoyed this recording. Nothing ground breaking by any stretch but a wonderful sounding, straight ahead, swinging quintet date. There was a cool out head or alternate head on Gone With The Wind. Hal’s bass clarinet playing did’t knock me out but his alto playing was burning!