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Tal Farlow

When guitarist Tal Farlow (1921 - 1998) died in July 1998, at the age of 77, he left behind an unmatched legacy of jazz guitar music. He began his career in the 1940's as a contemporary of the centuries most recognized and influential jazz guitarists and quickly rose to a preeminent position among them.

A sign painter by trade, Tal Farlow took up the guitar seriously after hearing Charlie Christian on the radio. He was so impressed with Christian's playing that he taught himself how to play all of Charlie Christian's solos by listening to Benny Goodman records.

That was in North Carolina in the late1930's. In the 1940's Tal Farlow was in New York beginning to influence and capture the imaginations of jazz guitarists and jazz fans with his unique sound and style. He made a number of recordings with Buddy deFranco, Artie Shaw and Red Norvo before making a series of recordings under his own name in the 1950's. Those recordings included Tal, This is Tal Farlow, The Tal Farlow Album and Autumn in New York. It was this series of recordings that established Tal Farlow as one of the greatest jazz guitarists of all time.

Farlow retired to Seabright, New Jersey after these recordings were made and took up his old occupation of sign painting. He continued to play in the local clubs in and around Seabright and from time to time he was enticed into making a recording. Concord Jazz brought Farlow out of "retirement" in the late 1970's to make a series of recordings that are as astounding in their own way as those made in the 1950's. In fact, these two sets of recordings offer a unique glimpse into the incredible style of this amazing guitarist.

Separated by 30 years, recordings like Autumn in New York from the album by the same name and I've Got The World On A String from Cookin' On All Burners demonstrated the unique Tal Farlow style; unorthodox technique, and a sound represented by clearly articulated lines played throughout the range of the guitar, chromatic chords and unusual chord voicings, flowing, complex solos that never seem to run out of ideas, improbable speed, that special Tal Farlow tone and unerring swing.

In the 1990's Tal Farlow was heard at the 1997 JVC Tribute to Barney Kessel With Love from Your Friends, and at the 1996 Tribute to Tal Farlow.

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