Art Farmer Discography Update 16

Discography Update as of June 6, 2023

Part 3 (1966-1980):

Addition of session of May 15, 1977: Art Farmer Quartet live at the Keystone Korner in San Francisco, CA.

In April of 1977, Art Farmer and alto saxophonist Jackie McLean were touring Japan backed by the stellar rhythm section known as “The Magic Triangle” – pianist Cedar Walton, Bassist Sam Jones and drummer Billy Higgins. Several recordings of this quintet from the tour exist including Art Farmer Live in Tokyo (CTI 7089), taken from a performance on April 27 at Yubin-Chokin Hall.

Not long thereafter, Farmer appeared at Keystone Korner in San Francisco without McLean, but with the same rhythm section. The club, located at 750 Vallejo St., featured jazz from 1972-1983 when it was owned by a young Todd Barkan. Now a noted impresario and NEA Jazz Master, Barkan gave the club new life in Baltimore, MD, in 2019. This incarnation of Keystone Korner survived the challenges posed by COVID-19 and is thriving.

Keystone Korner, San Francisco, CA, 1982; photo: Brian McMillen
Keystone Korner Baltimore, MD; 2019

Until informed recently by Ben Young, director of the Jazz History Database at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, we had no idea that a recording of the Farmer Quartet from the 1977 Keystone Korner appearance existed. And a fine session it is with Farmer and The Magic Triangle in excellent form, taking two of the titles. “Will You Still Be Mine” and Walton’s “Firm Roots,”  at breakneck tempi – somewhat surprising for the leader. One of the tracks, “Seven Minds,” composed by Jones, is performed only by the backing trio. Farmer was one of the great interpreters of Benny Golson’s haunting tribute ballad “I Remember Clifford” and this live set provides another example. The audio quality of the recording is surprisingly good.

We are very grateful to Ben for alerting us to this important addition to Farmer’s discography.