The Art Farmer Archive at William Paterson University became a reality in 2019 when Lynne Mueller, Farmer’s manager and companion in his later years, donated a variety of materials to the Living Jazz Archives. These include recordings, music, photos, articles and memorabilia. Thus Farmer joins trumpeters Thad Jones and Clark Terry, saxophonist Michael Brecker, pianists Harold Mabern, James Williams and Mulgrew Miller as major artists memorialized in this growing, state-of-the-art archive managed by Dr. David Demsey. In addition, an Art Farmer Jazz Master Scholarship is awarded annually to an exceptional student in the William Paterson Jazz Studies program.
Dr. Demsey recently offered the following comments regarding the Farmer acquisition:
We are so thrilled and honored to add the Art Farmer Archive to our collections – and grateful to Lynne Mueller and Noal Cohen for all they have done to make this happen. Art was one of the giants of this music, certainly one of the great formative trumpet voices in jazz history. Following Clark Terry’s original mission of the Living Jazz Archives, we will store and care for Art Farmer’s materials at the highest archival levels – but we will also have copies of that material on the students’ music stands and in classes constantly, as part of our curriculum. Art’s voice and legacy needs to continue, to generations of gifted young jazz musicians in the future.
An Art Farmer tribute concert, delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, will take place on October 24, 2021 and will feature an all star quintet comprised of Jeremy Pelt on trumpet, Ron Blake on saxophones, Geoffrey Keezer on piano, Kenny Davis on bass and Yoron Israel on drums. All except Pelt performed in and recorded with Farmer’s ensembles. Song selections will be drawn from the Living Jazz Archives Art Farmer Collection. In addition to being established performing artists, Pelt and Keezer are adjunct Jazz Studies faculty members at William Paterson. Blake teaches jazz saxophone at the Juilliard School, Davis is a lecturer at Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University and Israel is chair of the Percussion Department at Berklee College of Music.
The Art Farmer Tribute Concert is part of the fall 2021 WPU Jazz Room Series and will take place at 4 P.M. on Sunday, October 24, 2021, in Shea Center for Performing Arts on the William Paterson University campus in Wayne, NJ. It will be preceded by a “Sittin In” session at 3 P.M. where the musicians will discuss their experiences working with Art Farmer. Tickets for the concert can be purchased here.
Proceeds from this event will go toward the Living Jazz Archives.
The Tribute Quintet members can be heard on some of Farmer’s finest recordings as follows: