Modern Art is the prelude recording for Art Farmer prior to his partnership with Benny Golson in the Jazztet, and also foreshadows the classy, tasteful inventiveness that group brought to the modern jazz world two years after this 1958 session. Pianist Bill Evans is in here, just before his pivotal work with Miles Davis on the classic album Kind of Blue, and was the table setter for McCoy Tyner's membership in the Jazztet. Brother Addison Farmer on bass and the great drummer Dave Bailey round out this sterling quintet that specializes in playing music with a subtle approach, which is neither tame nor conservatively lazy. Included on this date is the great Junior Mance tune "Jubilation," perfectly understated in a light gospel, soul-jazz, tuneful melody with both horns wonderfully matched up in balanced unison, side by side. Farmer's lone compositional contribution, "Mox Nix," deserves similar iconic accolades, as it is an equally memorable, hopped-up shuffle with the uncharacteristically rumbling piano of Evans in soul-jazz to swing trim. Another notable track is Wade Legge's "Cold Breeze," which is hardly refrigerated, but instead a breezy hard bop vehicle, snappy, even-keeled, but not bubbling. The trumpeter, after all, is the official leader and arranger, taking the stage front and center for the ballad "Darn That Dream" and the midtempo take of "The Touch of Your Lips," with Golson in late, seconding the motions. For this time period, you clearly hear a refined and maturing Farmer, qualities he would retain for the remainder of his substantial career. He plops in the mute for Cole Porter's "I Love You," waxing poetic and effortlessly like a figure skater gliding through a simple routine, and Evans even gets to jam out a bit. Benny Golson's personal voice on tenor is also coming of age, as you hear during his feature "Like Someone in Love," but he's also starting to emerge as a writer with the moderately swinging "Fair Weather," displaying harmonic interplay that hints at things to come. The historical aspects of this recording, in retrospect, cannot be trivialized, but more importantly, some darn good straight-ahead jazz is played here by experts in their field.