Brian Torff?

Discussion in 'Bassists [DB]' started by Wil Davis, Mar 7, 2002.

  1. I've just come across Brian Torff in a recording made in 1980 with George Shearing. Pretty damned amazing, and I wonder why I've never heard of him before. I'm even more surpised find that there were no hits when I did a quick search of "Torff" here in TB - is Mr Torff one of the bass-world's best kept secrets, or am I missing something here?

    - Wil
  2. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    He has also worked extensively with Marian McPartland. In that position, he's been very visible on TV over the years. Marian always made a point of introducing him, and he was always very tasty.
  3. Francois Blais

    Francois Blais Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    Québec, Canada
    Happy Birthday, Brian Torff!
    Born March 16th, 1954.

    I'm unfortunately not knowledgeable about Mr. Torff's work, but here's what AMG wrote:

    Fusion, new age and post-bop bassist. Worked frequently with Marian McPortland and Mary Lou Williams in '70s. ~ Michael G. Nastos

    Have a nice day!
  4. Brad Maestas

    Brad Maestas Sono est omnia Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 26, 2003
    Petaluma, CA, USA
    Luthier and Instrument Tech at Kala Brand Music Co.
    He's here in NYC all week with the Django Reinhardt festival at Birdland. Dorado Schmidt, Mayo Hubert and Peter Beets complete the ensemble. I've known about him but haven't seen him perform before this week. He has the most amazing bass! He told me Sam Kolstein found it some time ago and began restoring it. Apparently it's a Gagliano. The scroll is breathtaking. When I first saw it I though it was an old Klotz. When he saw it at the Kolstein shop he said he knew there was something special about the bass. Shortly thereafter he bought the bass and has had it since then (over 30 years). He's definitely underrated and under-appreciated but I believe he enjoys staying out of the spotlight.
  5. I think Brian was the first bassist that George Shearing used in the duo situation. Don Thomson replaced him.
  6. Was that the album G.S reco rded with Mel Torme? If so it turned me right on to Brian Torff too..... I thought his use of electronic effects was very interesting, it added something to the performance which is rare.....

    I just love GS without a drummer, the nuances and dynamics are so rewarding..... sorry drummers!

    I saw GS live with LLoyd Swainton(?SP) and it was just another level of communication.....
  7. I think the Shearing with Mel was Don Thomson...unless there were two.
  8. For What It Worth, I'm playing a CD as I type this and it's called " On A Clear Day" A DUO CD by George Shearing and Brian Torff. Track 2 into the CD features a 9.32 version of "Love For Sale" A nice CD by two great players! :p
  9. I was browsing through My Favorites yesterday and came up with a file on Jenifer Leitham, who used to be John Laitham, who did a whole series of gigs with George and Mel......
    After posting that link, I couldn't get it to come up.....that's the right address though. You might try trying it after logging off TBDB.
  10. Tim Ludlam

    Tim Ludlam

    Dec 19, 1999
    Carmel, IN
  11. Duh.......thanks Tim
  12. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    That's a cool website. Are there any clips of her available to check out? I've probably heard her work, I'd just like to check some stuff out since we're talking about her.
  13. abaguer


    Nov 27, 2001
    Milford, NJ
    There's a great album she did as John Leitham will Mel Torme. It's a live recording done at Epcot center or Disney. It also features pianist Mike Renzi. Great record with phenomenal playing.
  14. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Augusta GA
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    The constantly surprising thing is how MANY bass players are out there who sound great, who play nice ideas but for whatever marketing reasons, never make it into the national or international spotlight.
    I had never heard of Sonny Dallas before Joe played me some of MOTION.

    Timing has a lot to do with it, he was working a pretty good steady gig as a sideman during a time that there was not a lot of major lable interest in jazz. He wasn't doing the "bass player shuffle" like Peter Washington etc., ie working with a billion different people. And he wasn't out leading groups, playing his own music, hitting a bunch of different venues.

    And still he manages to play some serious music, right?

    I seem to recall a duo version of BIRDLAND that he played on?
  15. Andy Allen

    Andy Allen "Working Bassist"

    Aug 31, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    I'm resurrecting this old thread, as I'm listening to the George Shearing/Brian Torff releases that are available now from eMusic and thought I'd do a search to see if he's been mentioned here.

    The guy is a monster - some serious uptempo grooves, but really playing the music, not just showing his chops. An unsung hero is right - definitely worth the 25c a track! (and more).


    P.S. Jennifer Leitham plays around here a lot (well I suppose she would, as Pasadena resident) - she plays monthly just down the street from here at Charlie O's. She's a great player and a friendly and approachable person. ... D'oh, I just checked the Charlie O's calendar to give you a link and she's playing there tonight. I've been too busy to get to see her recently - I must try to get down there next month.
  16. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Augusta GA
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    I just started Brian's memoir/book called IN LOVE WITH VOICES, enjoying it so far.....
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