Hunting vintage jazz vinyl records in the Nutmeg State
Joe Farrell, tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, flute, and oboe
with Chick Corea (p), Dave Holland (b), and Jack DeJohnette (d)
special guest John McLaughlin (g)
Purchased from Replay Records, Hamden, CT
Even with the minuscule readership I have, I am very excited about this post because it is an opportunity for me to share music that is not readily available in any medium besides the vinyl record. I’ve always thought of Joe Farrell as drastically underrated and am consistently in awe of his multi-instrumental prowess. His oboe playing especially puts me at a loss for words, but maybe that’s coming from someone who attempts to teach the instrument to 4th and 5th graders three times a week.
My first encounter of “Molten Glass” was through a big band arrangement I played in college, but it stuck with enough and I knew Farrell’s work enough as a sideman that I began to seek out his CTI releases. I happened upon Outback, Moon Germs, and this LP all at once at Angry Mom Records in Ithaca, NY but the self titled quartet record was either $15 or $20…I can’t remember…and at the time that was beyond the amount I wanted to spend for any one LP (ha). Some sort of karma was on my side and I found this copy in my home state only a month or so later for about half the price.
Each of the Farrell quartet records I have heard contains a slightly perplexing mix of jazz-funk groove and freely improvised chamber jazz. This particular album has some really wacky stuff on side 2 after “Molten Glass” which, even with it’s spacey and affected flute barrage, seems comparatively straight ahead. On top of all that, the LP opens up with a relatively famous version of John McLaughlin’s “Follow Your Heart”. For a label that is often viewed as commercially minded, CTI gave Farrell lots of artistic freedom. This LP is definitely worth seeking out, even if the more grounded material is traditionally your bag, as the rhythm section is essentially an ECM all-star ensemble. The interplay on “Molten Glass” should be proof enough.