Two for Tuesday: Tal Farlow

Tal Farlow was called “the Octopus” because of his huge hands and long fingers. He didn’t take up the guitar until he was 21, but was playing professionally a year later. He gained notoreity while playing with Red Norvo from 1949 to 1953. After a time with Artie Shaw’s Gramercy Five, he retired from full-time playing and became a sign painter. He reappeared in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s before disappearing again. He died of esophageal cancer in 1998.

Tal was adept both at comping and soloing, and our first video today shows it. This is Tal with Red Norvo and bassist Steve Novosel in an arrangement of “All of Me.”

Second is a chord melody arrangement of Errol Garner’s “Misty.”

Plenty more on YouTube, including many of his instructional videos and a jam with Bucky Pizzarelli and Les Paul that I had intended on including here, but they wouldn’t let me imbed it…

Tal Farlow, your Two for Tuesday, October 14, 2014.

2 thoughts on “Two for Tuesday: Tal Farlow

    1. He was a remarkable player and could do things few others can do on the guitar. Strange that his estimation of his playing was considerably less than everyone else’s. On the other hand, maybe he just wanted to paint signs…


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