Art Farmer

Art Farmer

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October 4, 1999 (Age 71) died

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August 21, 1928 Birthday

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Council Bluffs, Iowa, U.S. Birthplace

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Art Farmer was a jazz trumpeter and flugelhorn player who appeared on hundreds of recordings and was known for his lyrical playing. Farmer began his career playing the clubs of Central Avenue in Los Angeles in the late 1940s and early 1950s. After touring with Lionel Hampton, Farmer moved to New York where he played with artists such as Gigi Gryce, Horace Silver, Gerry Mulligan and Thelonious Monk. In 1959 Farmer and saxophonist Benny Golson formed the group the Jazztet, which he played with through 1962. In 1969 Farmer relocated to Europe where he performed frequently with other expatriates and was also a member of the Austrian Radio Orchestra. In the 1980s Golson and Farmer reprised the Jazztet which brought Farmer to the US more frequently. Farmer continued to perform and record throughout the 1990s and was named an NEA Jazz Master in 1999. He died a few months later from heart failure at the age of 71.


Art Farmer played the flumpet, an instrument that combines the trumpet and flugelhorn which was invented specifically for him in 1989. Art Farmer's lip gave out on his first big tour while a teenager due to poor technique, he had to leave the tour and began taking lessons to improve his stamina. Art Farmer appeared in the 1958 photograph "A Great Day in Harlem" and was interviewed for the 1994 documentary of the same name.

Early Life

Art Farmer, along with his twin brother, bassist Addison Farmer, was born in Iowa in 1928. When they were 4 years old the boys' father suffered a fatal work accident and the family relocated to Phoenix, Arizona. Farmer began playing the piano in elementary school and moved on to the tuba and violin before finally settling on the trumpet at age 13. He played in his high school marching band as well as in a local dance band. At age of 17 the twins decided to move to Los Angeles, by themselves ,where they attended high school and soon began working professionally.