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Movin Thru L.A. by Gary Farr

Here’s a really traveling album, literally. The theme is eloquently woven into the fabric of the entire album. Each tune is about a move through or to some area in sunny Southern California, my favorite region of the U.S and probably the world! I can definitely relate to this artist’s obvious love for and fixation with this section of the West Coast. Never lived there, but I’ve visited plenty of times. If not for that outrageous cost of living, I’d certainly be living there! Anyway, this is all nice, but beside the point. The point here is that pianist Gary Farr does a splendid job of conveying through his music his love affair with California.

The album is a very well-blended mix of unhomogenized smooth and bluesy jazz. Coming from the producer of Ron Fattorusso’s "Up All Night," which I own and which is also an excellent album, much of this is consistent with the smooth vibe on that album. In fact, saxophonist Fattorusso joins him on this project--a great addition.

The album gets better the deeper you go into it, in my opinion. While track 1, the title track, was adequate, it didn’t really catch me or truly represent the wonderful things that are going on elsewhere in this album. For example, there’s a vision of the mellow ride along the Pacific Coast on "Cruisin’ Ventura Blvd." that’s irresistible. "Train to West Covina" has an obvious Caribbean swagger that’s an ear-catcher as well. There’s some pretty thick funk on "Goin’ Over Coldwater Canyon," coupled with a handsomely heavy piano presence. There’s a sweet satiny collaboration of piano and strings on "Romance in Beverly Hills" and "Meet at Sunset & Highland" storms in, immediately recognizable as a disco-style dance number complete with thudding drums, well-placed horns and an effective hook.

I especially liked "The Colors of Malibu," with its up-tempo and funky, yet bluesy, feel. There’s a great bass and drum accompaniment here. That same feel continues into "Drivin’ Down to OC." "Santa Ana Winds" blows in with a healthy dose of funk, balanced with sweet strings (can you hear THAT one??).

All in all, this graphic journey through L.A. and other points in Southern CA is quite colorful and adventurous. I’d recommend thumbing a ride if you see Farr passing through.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Gary Farr
  • CD Title: Movin Thru L.A.
  • Genre: Smooth Jazz
  • Year Released: 2007
  • Record Label: Secret Formula Records
  • Rating: Four Stars
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