Fusion / Funk Jazz / Post Bop / Hard Bop • United States
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Joe Farrell, real name Joseph Carl Firrantello (16 December 1937 Chicago Heights, Illinois, USA - 6 January 1986 Los Angeles, California) was a jazz saxophonist and flautist.

Farrel, best known as a member of the original line-up of Chick Corea's Return to Forever, was heavily influenced by John Coltrane, among others. His early solo CTI LP, "Follow Your Heart", with Chick Corea and Jack DeJohnette, showed an avant-garde style.

In the 1960s Farrell played with Maynard Ferguson's Big Band, the Thad Jones and Mel Lewis Big Band, Elvin Jones's combo, and Slide Hampton, and recorded with Charles Mingus, Dizzy Reece, Andrew Hill and Jaki Byard.

After his time with Elvin Jones' combo ended in 1970, Farrel joined Chick Corea on his album "Return To Forever". With the same line-up of musicians featured on the album, the original line-up of Chick Corea's influential fusion group Return to Forever was born. Joe
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JOE FARRELL Discography

JOE FARRELL albums / top albums

JOE FARRELL Joe Farrell Quartet (aka Song Of The Wind aka Super Sessions) album cover 3.46 | 5 ratings
Joe Farrell Quartet (aka Song Of The Wind aka Super Sessions)
Post Bop 1970
JOE FARRELL Outback album cover 4.00 | 3 ratings
Fusion 1972
JOE FARRELL Moon Germs album cover 3.80 | 6 ratings
Moon Germs
Fusion 1973
JOE FARRELL Upon This Rock album cover 4.12 | 4 ratings
Upon This Rock
Fusion 1974
JOE FARRELL Penny Arcade album cover 4.12 | 4 ratings
Penny Arcade
Funk Jazz 1974
JOE FARRELL Canned Funk album cover 4.00 | 4 ratings
Canned Funk
Funk Jazz 1975
JOE FARRELL La Cathedral Y El Toro album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
La Cathedral Y El Toro
Fusion 1977
JOE FARRELL Night Dancing album cover 2.00 | 1 ratings
Night Dancing
Funk Jazz 1978
JOE FARRELL Skate Board Park album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Skate Board Park
Hard Bop 1979
JOE FARRELL Sonic Text album cover 4.25 | 2 ratings
Sonic Text
Post Bop 1981
JOE FARRELL Vim 'n' Vigor (aka Joe Farrell - Louis Hayes Quartet) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Vim 'n' Vigor (aka Joe Farrell - Louis Hayes Quartet)
Post Bop 1983

JOE FARRELL EPs & splits

JOE FARRELL live albums

JOE FARRELL demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

JOE FARRELL re-issues & compilations

JOE FARRELL Darn That Dream (aka West Coast) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Darn That Dream (aka West Coast)
Post Bop 1994
JOE FARRELL Penny Arcade / Upon This Rock / Canned Funk album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Penny Arcade / Upon This Rock / Canned Funk
Fusion 2018

JOE FARRELL singles (0)

JOE FARRELL movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)



Album · 1973 · Fusion
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Steve Wyzard

It's sad that since his untimely death in 1986, Joe Farrell has been mostly forgotten. Sure, the albums he did with Chick Corea, Elvin Jones, and even Andrew Hill still have their adherents, but albums like Moon Germs remind us he deserves to be remembered as far more than just a side-man. And while this is a CTI album from 1973, don't worry: there's not an overbearing orchestra in sight.

The four tracks on Moon Germs (Farrell's "Great Gorge" and "Moon Germs", Chick Corea's "Times Lie" and Stanley Clarke's "Bass Folk Song") all follow a similar pattern: begin leisurely before launching into ridiculous speeds, Farrell takes the first solo, Herbie Hancock (electric piano - less than a year away from Head Hunters) takes the second solo, a very young Stanley Clarke (electric bass) and Jack DeJohnette (drums) add their irrepressible best, before everyone returns to the beginning. Farrell, known for his Rollins-ish tone on the tenor, plays only soprano sax on this album, with the exception of "Bass Folk Song" which is his flute showcase. Like soloing, especially from these guys? On this album, solos go far beyond the usual 10-30 seconds each.

The word "masterpiece" gets thrown around all too often, but Moon Germs truly deserves it. While released in close proximity to many other fusion classics that are still revered today, this album can stand head-and-shoulders next to any of them. Highly recommended to fans of all the players involved, but most especially to Herbie Hancock fans. If you enjoy his Crossings/Sextant period, you MUST hear his performances on this album!


Album · 1973 · Fusion
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Sean Trane
Third CTI album from the RTF wind man, and featuring again an all-superstar line-up, this time with Herbie replacing Chick, DeJohnette reclaiming the drum stool from Elvin and Stanley holding the bass. Recorded in late 72 in RVG studios, the album sports a weird moonlike eyeball watching over some kind of geometric forest at night, and while one could fear that the album is going to be even further “out there” than its two predecessors; actually it’s probably Farrell’s most accessible to date.

The A-side features two Farrell compositions, the first of which is the almost-12-mins Great Gorge, which has Hancock batting homeruns on either sides of the field at will, but not in the extremely dissonant range; though he does go electronics (something he’d experienced in his recent Mwandishi album, but that was Pat Gleason’s job. The 7-mins+ title track is a much more standard piece, where Farrell shines like a thousand full moons.

Oddly enough, if Farrell had opted to let Chick have space for a composition in Outback, in the present album, he doesn’t do the favour to Hancock, and it’s again a Corea piece that find space, though Herbie does it great justice. If Time Lies is an earthy piano piece, Farrell soars high above in the stratosphere with soprano sax. The album-closing Stanley almost-10 mins composition Bass Folk Song is maybe the album’s most energetic piece, due in no small amount to the young Clarke, who just like DeJohnette were still climbing the jazz notoriety (none of the two having yet recorded as solo artiste). While Stan was only appearing for the first time on a CTI album, JDJ was now almost a CTI veteran, before becoming an ECM pillar.

Again, if you’re looking to the “soft jazz” trademark that the CTI label was best-known for (Benson, Grover, Deodato, etc); you’d better stay away from yet another attention-demanding Farrell album, despite this one being the most fusion-like so far of Farrell’s solo career; though his next one would indulge further in avant and fusion directions.

JOE FARRELL Joe Farrell Quartet (aka Song Of The Wind aka Super Sessions)

Album · 1970 · Post Bop
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Sean Trane
In between his Elvin Jones Trio participation in the late 60’s and his Return To Forever era in the early 70’s, Joe Farrell started his own solo career, signing with Creed Taylor’s CTI label, which might sound a bit of an oddity, since Farrell’s music is not really along the soft-jazz fusion lines that the CTI was championing via George Benson, Deodato, etc… But what a line-up Farrell managed on his debut album: Corea, McL, Holland, DeJohnette. What a bunch of heavy friends, the whole thing recorded by RVG in his studio early July 70.

Opening on the slow McL composition of Follow Your Heart, Farrell takes the spotlight with a lengthy and luscious sax solo, and once McL takes over, he avoids intelligently to try to top’s Joe’s intervention. Holland rules on bass, but Corea is absent. This first track is about as melodious as the album gets, really. The short and dissonant Farrell-written Collage For Polly sounds a bit like one, though, but it segues directly in the much longer “out there” Circle In The Square, where Chick pounds his keys like there is no tomorrow. Farrell switches to the flute in the more acoustic Molten Glass that opens more melodically the flipside. The following short Alter Ego also features some soft flute, though it’s dissonant. Next up, you’d swear you’re on a classical music (XXth century) album with the 6-mins Song Of The Wind, as Farrell and Corea (his composition) are certainly thinking in those lines for both the sax and the flute and Chick’s piano. The closing Motion is again a dissonant piece, closer to contemporary classical music than jazz and it ends the album on a strange and low unexpected note.

Whether this album might have given Corea a few hints as to his future RTF venture is possdible, but not likely I’m not sure McL and Chick crossed path in the recording rooms though, because I didn’t pick out any tracks where both of them play. In either case, don’t get any idea about this album being musically close to the EJT or RTF: it’s more of a near-avant-garde thing than some kind of JR/F album. A relatively surprising album from both Farrell and the CTi label.


Album · 1972 · Fusion
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Sean Trane
Farrell’s second solo album, again with Chick Corea, but this time with Elvin Jones on drums (Joe was a member of the EJT), Airto on percussions and Buster on bass. Despite the presence of three RTF mk1 members, we’re not in such an album, but somehow, we’re not that far away either sonically speaking. Despite being released on the CTI label, this is an atypical release for the label, certainly jazzier, rather than the soft-jazz it pioneered.

Indeed the opening reprise giving the album its name, Corea’s fusion-ey Rhodes has us flying in the stratosphere with the help of Airto’s subtle percussions, but Elvin’s drumming is second to none – his name is cited in second on the sleeve and slightly larger than Chick’s. Farrell’s own Sound Down returns to a bop realm, Chick and Buster are definitely on top of things in this one.

The flipside opens with Corea’s Bleeding Orchid, which could’ve found its way on an early RTF album, and Farrell reigns supreme with his soprano, but again Elvin pulls another huge performance. There is some Trane spirits on this tune. Speaking of Trane, you’ll also hear some Greensleeves homage in a couple of place throughout the album. The closing Farrell composition November 68th is a very percussive affair (it features an Elvin drum solo), oscillating between jazz and fusion.

Definitely one of the more interesting RTF-related albums - at least to the mk1 line-up – Outback is still not a typical CTI release, but nevertheless one of the more interesting one from their catalogue. And unlike its predecessor and its follow-up, this one is more accessible.

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