Tal Farlow (June 7, 1921 – July 25, 1998) was an American jazz guitarist….who was nicknamed “Octopus” because of how his large, quick hands spread over the fretboard….as Steve Rochinski notes, “Of all the guitarists to emerge in the first generation after Charlie Christian, Tal Farlow, more than any other, has been able to move beyond the rhythmic, melodic, and harmonic vocabulary associated with the early electric guitar master. Tal’s incredible speed, long, weaving lines, rhythmic excitement, highly developed harmonic sense, and enormous reach (both physical and musical) have enabled him to create a style that clearly stands apart from the rest.” Where guitarists of his day combined rhythmic chords with linear melodies….Farlow placed single notes together in clusters….while varying between harmonically enriched tones. As music critic Stuart Nicholson put it, “In terms of guitar prowess, it was the equivalent of Roger Bannister breaking the four-minute mile”.
Red Mitchell (September 20, 1927 – November 8, 1992), was an American jazz double-bassist, composer, lyricist and poet….who performed and/or recorded with Mundell Lowe, Chubby Jackson, Charlie Ventura, Woody Herman, Red Norvo, Gerry Mulligan….and after joining the West Coast jazz scene in the early 1950’s….with André Previn, Shelly Manne, Hampton Hawes, Billie Holiday, Stan Seltzer, Ornette Coleman and others such as Mahalia Jackson. He also worked as a bassist in the TV and film studios around Los Angeles….while occasionally appearing on screen as he appeared in documentaries about Tal Farlow and Zoot Sims. Mitchell used standard tuning during the 1950’s and for the first half of the 1960’s ….while producing sound similar to his professional jazz bass peers….however, in 1966 he switched to cello tuning on his bass (C-G-D-A, an octave below the cello, instead of the standard E-A-D-G)….while at the same time, he began adjusting the tone controls of his amplifier to create a soft, unfocused sound in the lowest notes….and to emphasize the upper harmonics in higher notes…..as the result was an airy tone quality that sounded gentle, not muscular…..and this airy tone and his frequent habit of strumming the strings with his right thumb contributed greatly to his unusual style.
Cedar Walton, Jr. (January 17, 1934 – August 19, 2013) was an American hard bop jazz pianist….who came to prominence as a member of drummer Art Blakey’s band before establishing a long career as a bandleader and composer. Several of his compositions have become jazz standards, including “Mosaic”, “Bolivia”, “Holy Land”, “Mode for Joe” and “Fantasy in D”….as many of Walton’s compositions have been adopted as jazz standards, including “Firm Roots”, “Bolivia”, “Holy Land”, “Mode for Joe” and “Cedar’s Blues”. “Bolivia” is perhaps his best-known composition….while one of his oldest is “Fantasy in D”, recorded under the title “Ugetsu” by Art Blakey in 1963….and as “Polar AC” by Freddie Hubbard, first in 1971. In January 2010, Walton was inducted as a member of the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters.
In this video seen herewith….Tal Farlow, Red Mitchel and Cedar Walton combine their tremendous talents to play a medley of jazz standards that are well worth the price of admission here at ImaSportsphile….for this is a rare piece of video footage featuring three great jazz musicians exhibiting their many talents.