LAST week's Dublin Jazz Society concert by the celebrated trumpeter, Art Farmer, was not quite the unalloyed pleasure that some may have anticipated. It's not that he played poorly - Farmer has too much talent and experience for that to be the case - but that much of his work, especially during a lacklustre first set, was somewhat perfunctory by his high standards. Only some good soloing on Manha de Carneval and Stardust (where his duet on the verse with pianist Jim Doherty was impressive) came to any kind of life.
Fortunately, Doherty was in brilliant form, announcing the fact with an exceptional solo on the opening But Not For Me and maintaining this level for the rest of the evening. Ably supported by Dave Fleming (bass) and John Wadham (drums), he provided most of the excitement during the first set and, if anything, inspired Farmer to his best work of the evening after the interval.
There was a succession of sparkling piano solos on Out Of Nowhere, The Man I Love and the performance of Change Partners, a trio feature which achieved a wonderful groove. Farmer responded most effectively on I Can't Get Started the high point of the concert - and My Funny Valentine where his natural affinity for the ballad form was best - deployed. Using the trumpet, an amalgam of the trumpet and flugelhorn, he was occasionally betrayed by intonation problems, though not to the same extent as on his last visit to Dublin, when he was often flat.