Joe Farrell

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Joe Farrell
JoeFarrell 1985.jpg
Joe Farrell performing at Lush Life in New York City, 1985
Background information
Birth name Joseph Carl Firrantello
Born (1937-12-16)December 16, 1937
Origin Chicago Heights, Illinois, United States
Died January 10, 1986(1986-01-10) (aged 48)
City of Hope National Medical Center, California
Genres Jazz, jazz funk, fusion, hard bop
Occupation(s) Musician, composer, bandleader
Instruments Tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, flute, English horn
Years active 1962–1986
Labels CTI
Associated acts Elvin Jones Trio
Return to Forever
Flora Purim
Fuse One
Notable instruments
Saxophone, Flute, English Horn

Joseph Carl Firrantello (December 16, 1937 – January 10, 1986),[1] known as Joe Farrell, was an American jazz saxophonist and flautist. He is best known for a series of albums under his own name on the CTI record label and for playing in the initial incarnation of Chick Corea's Return to Forever.


Farrell was born in Chicago Heights, Illinois, United States.[2]

In the 1960s, Farrell played with Maynard Ferguson and The Thad Jones/ Mel Lewis Orchestra. He also recorded with Charles Mingus, Andrew Hill, Jaki Byard, Players Association and Elvin Jones.

In the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s, Farell performed with Chick Corea and Return to Forever. He is the flautist in Corea's most famous work "Spain," which is considered to be a modern jazz standard.

He did numerous sessions and contributed a flute solo to Aretha Franklin's 1973 hit "Until You Come Back to Me (That's What I'm Gonna Do)". The Santana track "When I Look into Your Eyes" from Welcome also includes solo work from Farrell.

Farrell performs with Brazilian percussionist Airto and Airto's wife Flora Purim on the album Three-Way Mirror. A message on the CD jacket dedicates the 1987 album to Farrell and states it contains his final recordings.

Farrell died of myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) in Los Angeles, California on January 10, 1986 at the age of 48.[3]

In 2008, Farrell's daughter Kathleen Firrantello filed a lawsuit against rappers Kanye West, Method Man, Redman and Common, and their record labels for allegedly using portions of Farrell's 1974 musical composition "Upon This Rock" in their songs without approval. Firrantello was seeking punitive damages of at least US$1 million and asked that no further copies of the songs be made, sold or performed.[4][5]


As leader[edit]

As sideman[edit]

With Mose Allison

With Patti Austin

With Average White Band

With The Band

With Ray Barreto

With the Bee Gees

With George Benson

With Willie Bobo

With Frank Butler

With Jaki Byard

With Billy Cobham

With Chick Corea/Return to Forever

With Lou Donaldson

With Maynard Ferguson

With Aretha Franklin

With Fuse One

  • Fuse One (1980)

With Grant Green

With Urbie Green

With Slide Hampton

With Andrew Hill

With Johnny Hodges

With Jackie and Roy

With Elvin Jones

With Lee Konitz

With John Larkin

With The Jeff Lorber Fusion

With Arif Mardin

With Pat Martino

With Jack McDuff

With Charles Mingus

With Mingus Dynasty

With Blue Mitchell

With James Moody

With Airto Moreira

With Laura Nyro

With Dizzy Reece

With the Santana

With Lalo Schifrin

With Don Sebesky

With Bobby Timmons


  1. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 195. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  2. ^ "Biography". All About Jazz. Retrieved 2009-04-15. 
  3. ^ "Biography". NME. Retrieved 2009-04-15. 
  4. ^ "Rappers sued over samples". The Sydney Morning Herald. May 23, 2008. Retrieved 2009-04-15. 
  5. ^ "Four rappers sued by jazzman's daughter". The Gazette. May 23, 2008. Retrieved 2009-04-15.