Joe Farrell, a versatile jazz musician who won Downbeat awards for playing three different instruments, died of bone cancer Friday at the City of Hope in Duarte. He was 48 and had last performed in November.
He was born Joseph Carl Firrantello in Chicago Heights, Ill., and studied clarinet, tenor saxophone and flute in the Chicago area. He joined the Ralph Marterie band in 1957 and later played with Maynard Ferguson, Thad Jones-Mel Lewis, Elvin Jones, Woody Herman and Horace Silver.
In 1968 he won Downbeat's International Critics Poll as the most promising new star on tenor sax; won the same award for flute in 1969 and the Downbeat Readers Poll for soprano sax that same year.
His survivors include two daughters and a son.