a film by Lorenzo DeStefano
Talmage Holt Farlow's half-century career in jazz
embodied the unusual. Born June 7, 1921 in Greensboro, North
Carolina, he was supposed to grow up and become a textile plant worker
like his father. Instead, he spent countless hours tuned-in to
remote radio broadcasts of Count Basie, Benny Goodman and Coleman
By the late 1940's, the polite, lanky boy with the
massive hands had moved to New York after playing in dance and society
bands down South. Tal's highly innovative style and unique sense
of harmony soon established him as a vital link in the chain begun by
Charlie Christian. His work in the bands of Buddy DeFranco, Artie
Shaw, and in the landmark Red Norvo Trio with Charles Mingus eventually
landed him on a successful and much-heralded career as a leader.
the top of his form in 1958, Tal Farlow walked out of the limelight as
suddenly as he'd walked into it less than ten years before. People
wondered where he'd vanished to. Had he cracked up? Was he
sick of the jazz scene? Farlow put it more succinctly.
"It didn't suit my temperament, I guess."
Settling in the coastal town of Sea Bright, New Jersey,
the guitarist returned to his old trade as a sign painter. His
"disappearance" turned him into a living legend for
generations of players and fans. You could still hear him from
time to time into the early eighties in clubs and restaurants along the
Jersey Shore. His most loyal listeners found him but press
attention was scarce.
In addition to
showcasing Tal's music, this film explores his reasons for choosing a
different kind of life for himself. Since his death, his place among the great innovators of modern jazz
seems well assured. Constantly searching, refining, experimenting,
Tal Farlow was more than just a great musician. His patient
struggle to find a balance between artistic excellence and peace of mind
is the real story behind Talmage Farlow.
Lorenzo DeStefano, Producer/Director.
Farlow with DeStefano, Sea Bright, New