THE GUITARS OF NOVEMBER: RADIATIONS OF TAL FARLOW
Remember when the album FUERST SET by Tal Farlow came out? 1975 on Xanadu Records. It took the top of my head off. I put it in continuous play and it seemed like years before the second volume came out. This was an after-hours session of 1956 with Eddie Costa, piano, and Eddie Burke, bass, in a Manhattan apartment. Jazz re-issue programs were just getting under way in the mid-70s and much of Tal’s old records were not available. Those were the years I was endeavoring to absorb the entire jazz canon in one swoop. Even so, FUERST SET might have been my first exposure to Tal Farlow, other than a few things I might have heard on the radio.
So, here I am 39 years later on the 8th floor of a high rise on 26th Street when Fred Cohen, the proprietor of Jazz Record Center, tips me off that there’s going to be a book launch this night and it’s looking to be a real corker. Biography on Tal Farlow has just been published and a gang of guitarists are going to give it the Manhattan send off. (Fred and his wife Bobbie attended.)
This little black box jazz club down in the Village just below Washington Square Park called Zinc. It’s a step-down into a submerged basement-like cozy space, common in Greenwich Village. For some reason the club reminds me of Henry Miller stories from his days in the Village during Prohibition, in his book TROPIC OF CAPRICORN.
I was staying at a hotel on 23rd & Eighth so I walked the twenty blocks south. The 20th Century (and so far, the 21st) will go down in history as the Era of the Guitar, there are a lot of great guitarists around, even in New Mexico we have a dozen who would have no problem holding their own in New York. But, the night of these photographs was illustrative of just how much talent New York harbors. The terms of engagement: the guitarists were allowed one song each with the in-house rhythm section. They picked out tunes that are associated with Tal Farlow. I did wonder where Joshua Breakstone, Mark Elf, Joe Giglio, Howard Arlen were? and Adam Caine for that matter . . . story-teller guitarists of the Lester Young vein.
Jack Wilkins, guitar; Steve Williams, drums, Andy McKee, bass, playing “These Foolish Things” that Jack said was one of Tal’s “hits” — November 13, 2o14 — photo by Mark Weber
Vic Juris and Andy McKee — November 13, 2o14 — photo by Mark Weber
Russell Malone and Andy McKee — November 13, 2o14 — playing “Gone With the Wind” — photo by Mark Weber
Chris Morrison & Joe Diorio sans rhythm section playing one of the most soulful versions of “Corcovado” I have ever heard — November 13, 2o14 — photo by Mark Weber — You could see Joe sitting with his guitar at his table with family and friends and at one point he was looking at me from across the room and then pointed and motioned for me to come over, he must have thought I was someone he knew, so I walked over and immediately said: Joe, I used to catch you at Donte’s in the 70s! and he said, “Ohhhhh, yeh man, those were good times.”
Joe Diorio — Donte’s, North Hollywood — April 25, 1977 — photo by Mark Weber
Russell Malone in trio with Steve Williams, drums; Andy McKee, bass —– November 13, 2o14 — photo by Mark Weber ————– we caught Mr Malone only a few years ago when he came through Albuquerque as a member of Sonny Rollins band, I recommend all of his records, I play him often on my radio show
Russell Malone helps Gene Bertoncini with his set up — November 13, 2o14 — photo by Mark Weber
Jack Wilkins is the only guitarist that got to do two tunes this evening, so that he could ask the bass player from Paris to come up: Yves Torchinski — November 13, 2o14 — photo by Mark Weber
Vic Juris and Paul Bollenback ended the evening with an extremely sophisticated out there version of “Alone Together,” out there and gone! In quartet — I don’t think they ever played the head once, they just went for the moon, and the counterpoint was intense, reminds me of the Tal Farlow quote: “Every note has an origin and a destination” —- I asked around afterwards and apparently these two have not made records together and I sure hope they get in the studio soon —- I walked out of that club and walked ten blocks the wrong direction (south) in the rain I was so high (from the music) —- When I came upon Houston Street I realized my mistake and turned around (I have spatial dyslexia on the bottom end of Manhattan, it can be quite problematic) —- November 13, 2o14 — photo by Mark Weber — Vic Juris is another guy who was only a name to me, that I hadn’t heard before, born just three weeks before me (according to Wikipedia) so how bad could he be?
Ron Afiff, guitar, in trio with Andy McKee and Steve Williams —- they swung “Tea For Two” so hard that lapsang souchon went overboard —- I was unfamiliar with this guitarist and as I was making my way to the door among the crowd afterwards I jumped over to Mr Afiff’s table and ecstatically told him, “Dood, that Tea for Two was baaaaad, I’m buying every one of your records!” and he cracked up and replied, “So, you’re the one!” —– November 13, 2o14 — photo by Mark Weber
Gene Bertoncini sitting at his table with Tad Hershorn (Institute of Jazz Studies graphics specialist) and Lynne Mueller (concert presenter) —– November 13, 2o14 — photo by Mark Weber
Gene Bertoncini solo on “I Remember You” — November 13, 2o14 — photo by Mark Weber
Tad Hershorn, author of the recent Norman Granz biography and an upcoming bio on Jimmy Rowles, sitting with Lynne Mueller —- November 13, 2o14 — photo by Mark Weber
Michele Hyk-Farlow (Tal’s wife) and author Jean-Luc Katchoura — November 13, 2014 at Zinc, 82 W. 3rd Street, Manhattan — photo by Mark Weber
I didn’t catch this gentleman’s name but he was the emcee and organizer for this superior evening of music —- We need to honor the concert presenters among us because it appears to be a dying art ——- You could tell he knew the music and the guitarists, a very hip guy, and a reminder of how special New York City is when it comes to jazz — November 13, 2o14 — photo by Mark Weber