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Bebop Spoken There

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Thursday, November 29, 2018

Book review: Guy Littler-Jones - Tal Farlow

(Review by Frank Griffith)
Bedford based guitarist Guy Littler-Jones' biography of innovative jazz guitarist Tal Farlow was first self-published in 2007. It can currently be accessed on www.lulu.com and boasts a plentiful array of discographical and musical/technical information that will delight and benefit any guitarist, regardless of level or stylistic proclivity.

Littler-Jones discusses the guitarist's life and music from his early years, through his mid-career when he was most noted for his lightning speed of execution, and into his later years when his playing, although still highly complex, entered a more lyrical phase.


Coming to prominence in the 1950s, Farlow played a major role in implementing the, then new, vocabulary of bebop. The technically demanding requirements of negotiating this innovative form of jazz were not insurmountable in Tal's capable (and very large) hands. He and his counterparts, like Barney Kessel, Jimmy Raney, Wes Montgomery, et al, were all striving forward with the innovations pioneered by Charlie Christian, who died prematurely at 26 in 1942.

The impressive discography comprises 48 of the somewhat spartan 112-page book. Each of his 34 recordings as a leader, in addition to his many recordings as a sideman, are listed providing copious details of everything including personnel, recording dates and locations. The author has obviously spent extensive time in his research resulting in an unparalleled treasure trove for practitioners and laypersons alike.

This unique and invaluable book on one of the great (and somewhat unsung) jazz guitarists is highly recommended for any reader keen to be enlightened on the mastery and importance of Tal Farlow.
Frank Griffith.
www.lulu.com

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