Review: By Dee Dee McNeil Musical Memoirs, September 2018
WCS 103 Distant Song
Fred Farell

If you enjoy the smooth vocals and music of Tony Bennett and Frank Sinatra, this album of original music, composed by Fred Farell, brings the heyday of jazz vocals from the sixties and seventies to the forefront. Farell recalls:

“My journey in jazz followed military service in 1970, and in discovering a jazz club in Lakewood, New Jersey, owned by Richard Stein named “Richard’s Lounge.” My first singing engagement there was in 1971, on which bop pianist Barry Harris played the final evening. After listening to his masterful interpretations of that night’s music, via tape, I desired to alter my pop oriented vocal style and expression.”

Following that date, Fred Farell began sitting-in at that club and that’s where he first heard and met pianist, composer Richie Beirach. At some point, Stein asked the fledgling vocalist (Fred Farell) if he would consider studying with Richie in New York. That began a long and fruitful relationship between the two musicians. Fred Farell developed his vocal style and, on this recording, he has written all the lyrics to music composed by both Dave Liebman and Richie Beitrach. Farell’s lyrics are, for the most part, prose rather than poems that rhyme. The first song is beautifully romantic with a melody both challenging and lovely. It’s composed by Richie Beirach. Dave Liebman adds his saxophone highlights to further enhance this song. Beirach improvises in a minor mode, playing around the melody and shining the spotlight on his piano prowess. There is one small stumbling block in this recorded effort. There is only one hit jazz song that I know, that has lyrics of entirely prose, and it’s a standard jazz song played over and over again called, “Moonlight in Vermont.” That song has no rhyme. As a songwriter, I would say that writing a complete production of prose lyrics is somewhat risky, although creative. For the most part, as a lyricist you are hoping that others will hear your work and want to sing it and/or record it. Listening to this project, it resembles a songwriter’s demo that showcases original music. The duo of accompanying musicians, (piano and saxophone), take it one step further and their instrumental work is so lovely to listen to, so entertaining, that the project rises to an artistic status. Farell’s voice is smooth and silky. This trio gives their recording a feel of experimentation and the openness of prose poetry helps to solidify the artiness captured on this CD. Richie Beirach’s piano playing is hypnotic. Liebman’s saxophone flutters like a restless, beautiful bird. Sadly, I could not remember any of the lyrics from these songs

Review: By Jay Leonhart All About Jazz, July 2018
WCS 103 Distant Song
Fred Farell

Fred Farell's singing career began in the early 1970s in New York City, where he studied and gigged around with Quest pianist Richie Beirach. Int the creative miasma of that terrain, Farell also met saxophonist Dave Liebman, whose music he was drawn to. During this period Farell was writing song lyrics only put music aside in the late 1970s—early '80s, following a purposeful conversion to Christianity. Recent, Farell has reconsidered the lyrics he penned for the music of Beirach and Liebman, approaching the two musicians with the present project, Distant Song—Fred Farell sings the music of Dave Liebman and Richie Beirach. To be sure, this is not your parents' jazz vocals album. Farell's lyrics have a nondescript, untethered character to them, allowing him freedom to stretch out his well-balanced tenor-baritone that remind me of Kurt Elling. There is a relaxed freedom to these songs, Beirach's piano performance calming and tranquil, while Leibman's reeds probe for deeper emotions among that tranquility. Excellent is the title piece, where all three artists meet on even ground to produce art half improvised half fully planned, framing Farell's spiritual lyrics in infinity.

WCS 103 Distant Song
Fred Farell

An original album showcasing the vocal talent of Fred Farell, the saxophone and wooden recorder of Dave Liebman, and the acoustic piano of Richie Beirach, Distant Song is a hybrid of jazz, spiritual, and creative experimentation. Sweeping and soul-touching, Distant Song lingers gently in the mind and memory. Highly recommended, especially for connoisseurs of original and inspirational music.

Review: By D. Oscar Groomes O's Place Jazz, February 2018
WCS 103 Distant Song
Fred Farell

O's Notes: Vocalist Fred Farell took several years away from the jazz scene to enhance his spiritual and emotional health. He continued writing during the hiatus and emerges with an experienced trio that includes pianist Richie Beirach and highly lauded saxophonist Dave Liebman. The mood of the program is dark blue, solemn and well matched to Fred’s baritone and the accompanying Instrumentation. The music was composed by. Liebman and Beirach with Farell writing all lyrics. The integration works well culminating with “Distant Song”.

Review: By Chris Spector Midwest Book Review, February 2018
WCS 103 Distant Song
Fred Farell

Here’s that kind of odd duck you artsy types love. The vet vocalist puts words to the music of Dave Liebman and Richie Beirach, both of whom accompany him here. Talk about a bunch of long time pals really kicking it after hours in a jazz lounge on Mars. Art jazz from cats that never lapse into parody, this is the template for those who want to follow and do it right.