Tal Farlow was born on June 7, 1921 in Greensboro, North Carolina. He began playing guitar at the age of eight but didn't turn pro at age 22. In the meantime he worked as a sign painter. His professional career began when an air force base was opened in Greensboro, which inevitably led to the opening of music clubs. There Farlow gained gaming experience and made numerous contacts that soon drew him to New York . In 1947 he worked with Dardanelle Breckenbridge , in 1948 with the trio of Marjorie Hyams and in 1949 with the sextet of Buddy DeFranco . Then Red Norvo brought him into his innovative trio with bassist Charles Mingus , which existed until 1953. After an engagement with Artie Shaw , he was a member of Norvo's quintet in 1954 and 1955. During this time the first recordings were made under his own name. Between 1956 and 1958 he led his own trio with the pianist Eddie Costa . After his marriage in 1958 Farlow retired from the music business and initially worked as a sign painter.
Sporadic gigs, an appearance at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1968 and a tour with George Wein's band are ahead of the LP "The Return of Tal Farlow" in 1969. His real comeback wasn't until 1976, however. He released several records for the Concord jazz label and performed also in Europe (e.g. 1982 with Norvo). At times he played with the formation " Great Guitars ". Tal Farlow remained an active musician into old age; In 1996 he made a guest appearance in Vienna's Jazzland with Harald Putz (b) and Walther Großrubatscher (dm). He died on July 25, 1998 at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan to esophageal cancer .
His big hands earned Tal Farlow the nickname "Octopus" early on. They made complex accompanying rhythms possible for him, which were particularly used in the drum-less Norvo Trio.
According to Attila Zoller , Farlow was characterized by his sense of harmonies and his self-developed fingerings with special voicings. According to his own statements, Farlow's improvisations are not based on scales as usual, but are exclusively chord-based. He imagined interval structures graphically on the fingerboard of his guitar and thus managed to play far more melodic and sophisticated than many other jazz guitarists.
- 1951: The Red Norvo Trio - Move! ( Savoy Records , 1950/51)
- 1952: Jazz Masters 41 / Finest Hour ( Verve ) - compilations on the Clef / Verve recordings by Norman Granz from 1952–1958, with Red Norvo , Barry Galbraith , Red Mitchell , Ray Brown , Monty Budwig , Oscar Pettiford , Chico Hamilton
- 1956: First Set (Xanadu) with Eddie Costa , Vinnie Burke
- 1956: Second Set (Xanadu)
- 1956: The Swinging Guitar of Tal Farlow (Verve)
- 1969: The Return Of Tal Farlow ( Prestige / OJC)
- 1976: On Stage (Concord)
- 1977: A Sign Of The Times (Concord) with Hank Jones , Ray Brown
- 1981: Chromatic Palette ( Concord ) with Tommy Flanagan , Gary Mazzaroppi
- 1991: Standards Recital (FD Music) with Philippe Petit
- Jean-Luc Katchoura / Michele Hyk Farlow Tal Farlow: Un Accord Parfait. A Life in Jazz Guitar. Paris Jazz Corner, Paris 2014, ISBN 978-2954962603 .
- Ian Carr , Digby Fairweather , Brian Priestley : Rough Guide Jazz. The ultimate guide to jazz music. 1700 artists and bands from the beginning until today. Metzler, Stuttgart / Weimar 1999, ISBN 3-476-01584-X .
- Leonard Feather , Ira Gitler : The Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz. Oxford University Press, New York 1999, ISBN 0-19-532000-X .
- Wolf Kampmann (Ed.), With the assistance of Ekkehard Jost : Reclams Jazzlexikon . Reclam, Stuttgart 2003, ISBN 3-15-010528-5 .
- Martin Kunzler : Jazz Lexicon. Volume 1: A – L (= rororo-Sachbuch. Vol. 16512). 2nd Edition. Rowohlt, Reinbek near Hamburg 2004, ISBN 3-499-16512-0 .
|ALTERNATIVE NAMES||Farlow, Talmage Holt (real name)|
|BRIEF DESCRIPTION||American jazz guitarist|
|DATE OF BIRTH||June 7, 1921|
|PLACE OF BIRTH||Greensboro , North Carolina|
|DATE OF DEATH||July 25, 1998|
|Place of death||Manhattan|