“Another noteworthy artist in the Gospel-jazz scene is New York based vocalist, Fred Farell, who recently sent me a tape tagged simply “Live—At the Solid Rock Café, May 21, 1993.” The recording features an excellent back-up ensemble called “JazzLite” consisting of Jeff Kruh on piano, Donald Hanson on saxophones, Jonathan Gilley on bass, and John Moriarty on drums. Vocally, Fred’s voice is smooth, clear and high register; kind of like Neil Sedaka meets Mel Torme. Altogether, this is a real nice tape for jazz enthusiasts. Lyrically it is 100% Gospel with an emphasis on praise.”
In the early 70s, burgeoning jazz vocalist Fred Farell began studying with pianist Richie Beirach in New York City, developing his ear and his chops as an improviser. Beirach encouraged his student to write lyrics to jazz compositions and before long Farrell was diving into works written by Beirach and his colleague Dave Liebman. Farell penned heartfelt, evocative words that added context to the Beirach’s and Liebman’s dramatic music, but after a religious awakening decide to leave the jazz world in 1980. More than 30 years alter, Farell revisited the lyrics he had written and found they still spoke to him. Thus inspired, he contacted Beirach and Liebman and proposed that they finish what he had started. The subsequent trio album Distant Song (Whaling City Sound) was well worth the wait. Farell’s yearning vocals float and drift over the stark and moody terrain of Beirach’s piano and Liebman’s saxophone and flute, the lyrics wistfully introspective.
Vocalist Fred Farell’s latest project Distant Song captures the music of Liebman and Beirach beautifully. Farell didn’t merely copy Liebman’s and Beirach’s compositions, he added sublime lyrics and a magically ethereal vocal style.
Rich toned vocalist Fred Farell comes up with the creative idea of mixing voice to the songbook of post-bop legend Dave Liebman. The trio of Farell with Liebman, along with Liebman’s long time associate Richie Beirach/p is both an intimate and poetic affair.
"Listening to Farell is like stepping back in Time, to mid-20th Century America, when Jazz and Romance were popular. His Sounscapes are like Odes to Love...Farell's "Distant Song" provides enough soothing sounds for listeners to ponder the Human condition...He is joined by Dave Liebman on soprano & tenor Saxophones, and by Richie Beirach on acoustic Piano.
"I give Fred, and his fellow master (musicians) an energy quotient rating of 4.99 for this CD...One of the strongest Jazz Vocal performances I've listened to yet in 2018."