The Gary McFarland Legacy Ensemble, Circulation: The Music of Gary McFarland (Planet Arts)
Concerned that recognition of Gary McFarland’s achievement was fading, drummer Michael Benedict created the ensemble named for McFarland and recorded 11 of his compositions. The mystery of McFarland’s death at 38 in 1971 remains unsolved. His composing and arranging made him a welcome presence in jazz in the 1960s. With slight academic training and a large natural talent, he produced work of freshness and appeal in collaborations with Stan Getz, Bill Evans, Gerry Mulligan, Steve Kuhn and John Lewis, and with his own groups. McFarland’s 1961 How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying is one of the finest big band albums of that decade. In Circulation, pianist Bruce Barth’s arrangements of 11 McFarland compositions capture his spirit of innovation and openness and stimulate impressive soloing by Barth, vibraharpist Joe Locke, saxophonist Sharel Cassity, bassist Mike Lawrence and Benedict.