Art Farmer was not only an exquisite creative trumpet player, but his “sound” was lush and beautiful, as well. Each and every year he would come to NY to perform and I was fortunate to be asked to play with him. To play music with Art was very refreshing because he would bring new music each and every time. And, this new music was really different and challenging than what one would expect. He did not rest on his laurels, ever. Art was always encouraging me to bring in one of my compositions.
So, I brought in this composition, You Make Me Smile, that he seemed to like. We rehearsed and played it a few times. One day, Art asked me about eight measures in the middle of the tune. He said, “What are these eight bars doing here? They aren’t doing much!” I replied, “I don’t know,” which was not a good enough answer.
Art countered, “Let’s take them out and see what happens”. I said OK. We played it without those eight measures and the most astonishing thing happened. I didn’t miss those measures, at all. That was a huge learning experience for me, big time. Art decided he wanted to record my tune. This made me very happy. When record was released, I was surprised even more that You Make Me Smile was the title of the album. Needless to say, I was very pleased. Who knows, had I made a fuss about Art omitting some measures, we probably would not have played it anymore, much less, recorded it, much less, making it a title tune. I was always impressed with Art Farmer’s musical ability to choose solid and interesting compositions.
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