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Talmage Farlow
Talmage Farlow
Actors: Tal Farlow, Lenny Breau, George Benson, Red Mitchell, Tommy Flanagan
Director: Lorenzo DeStefano
Genres: Music Video & Concerts
NR     2006     0hr 59min

This film showcases the music of Talmage Farlow and offers a charming and engaging look into his life. After its original release in 1981, Tal discovered that he was in demand again, venturing far from Sea Bright on inter...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Tal Farlow, Lenny Breau, George Benson, Red Mitchell, Tommy Flanagan
Director: Lorenzo DeStefano
Genres: Music Video & Concerts
Sub-Genres: Pop, Jazz
Studio: Mvd Visual
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 04/04/2006
Original Release Date: 01/01/1981
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1981
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 0hr 59min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

A deep, poignant story
twangmon | Nashville, TN USA | 05/17/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Originally released in 1981, but only now available on DVD, this swinging, intimate portrait of one of jazz guitar's most innovative and enigmatic players will thrill dedicated guitar heads, regardless of stylistic persuasion.

Director Lorenzo DeStefano finds Tal Farlow in his waterside home in Sea Bright, New Jersey, where the guitarist-then in his late 50s-was living a quiet life of fishing, sign painting, and playing occasional gigs in local bars. It wasn't always that way: From 1949 to 1953, Farlow was the toast of the jazz guitar world, playing with bassist Charles Mingus in the Red Norvo Trio. Farlow's huge hands allowed him to fret lightning fast bebop lines and radical chord voicings, and thus develop a sound that was remarkably different from such contemporaries as Barney Kessel and Herb Ellis. For reasons that are slowly revealed in the film, Farlow dropped out of the jazz scene to embrace a more contemplative existence.

Talmage Farlow has many magical moments: We watch the lanky guitarist rehearse with bass virtuoso Red Mitchell and piano colossus Tommy Flanagan (Sonny Rollins, Wes Montgomery, Ella Fitzgerald, John Coltrane) for a "comeback" concert in New York City's famed Public Theater, and then see the trio bring down the house in the sold-out performance. Another highlight is when Lenny Breau arrives-Tom Holmes solidbody in hand-at Farlow's house to meet the master for the first time, jam, and sit in at one of Farlow's club dates. It's fascinating to see the two guitarists-who have utterly different technical and sonic takes on the 6-string-find common ground in their love for improvisation and jazz tunes.

The film is packed with footage of Farlow playing, and when he's not attacking the flatwound strings on his Gibson archtop, his recorded lines provide a backdrop to the on-screen drama. Like Farlow's tone, the film's colors are beautifully rich and muted, and DeStefano's deft editing keeps the emotional tension building to the final credits.

It's worth noting that the musicians we see performing-Farlow, Breau, Flanagan, and Mitchell-are all dead, so this movie is as much about a sound and vibe that's vanished from our world, as it is the story of a complex and gifted guitarist. A young George Benson is among those who provide background commentary on Farlow's place in the jazz-guitar firmament, and if you look carefully at the closing scene, you'll even see GP's founding publisher Jim Crockett (one of the film's executive producers) hanging with Farlow. Whether you're searching for soulful guitar playing or a poignant tale of creative struggle, Talmage Farlow delivers."
Fitting tribute to a great guitarist.
R. C. Fisher | Midwest USA | 12/10/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a fascinating, slow-paced documentary that really is a must-see for guitar fans. If you're reading this, you probably already know that Tal Farlow was an awesome guitar player, the likes of which we may never see again. But after watching "Talmage Farlow" you'll also know that he was a deeply reflective, genuinely warm person.

The fact that Lenny Breau--another one-of-a-kind guitar genius now departed--is also in this is an added bonus. Watching the two of them talk about their radically different approaches to the instrument is fun and informative, yet you also realize that they were often striving for the same thing, each in his own way. The outtakes are unedited, and frankly, you have to get through a lot of mess to get to the good stuff. But the morsels of Farlow and Breau playing together are well worth it.

This is a documentary that could be watched and enjoyed by anyone with an interest in music, and for guitarists and fans of jazz guitar, the DVD is worth owning."
Talmage Farlow
John J. Russell | Ladys Island, SC | 11/09/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Superb video showcasing both his virtuoso talents as a jazz guitarist
and his off stage persona as a humble, genuinely nice man"
A Must Have for Fans of Farlow and Breau
A. Herrmann | New Jersey, USA | 08/18/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"A wonderful opportunity to see and hear Tal Farlow play in several relaxed settings. For me, the real draw was the footage of Lenny Breau playing with Farlow on his deck on the Navesink River and in a small local club. While these scenes are only a small part of the film, a bonus feature is the out takes of all the Farlow-Breau footage shot. Unfortunately, there is no editing of the additional material so you have to wade through a lot of stuff to get to the music, but it is well worth it. About a half hour into the footage, the rest of the deck jam and club appearance can be found. The "My Funny Valentine" is amazing and goes on for quite a while as the two trade solos and provide chordal accompaniment to the other. Their two styles complement each other beautifully. Jazz guitar fan heaven!"