Art Farmer, 71, a protean brassman who played sprightly bebop but preferred to render mellow ballads on fluegelhorn, died Oct. 4 at his home in New York of cardiac arrest. He had homes in New York and Austria.

Although Mr. Farmer played fluegelhorn almost exclusively for decades after the early 1960s, he used a hybrid of the fluegelhorn and the trumpet, the flumpet, in the 1990s.

The instrument, designed specifically for him but now sold worldwide, brought Mr. Farmer a fuller range of sound than the fluegelhorn and also was lighter and easier to hold.

His output of more than 100 recordings -- most recently the album "Silk Road" in 1997 -- included dates with Lionel Hampton, Charles Mingus, Horace Silver, Gerry Mulligan and Milt Jackson. Perhaps his most significant work was with a sextet he called the Jazztet, which he first worked with in the late 1950s and early 1960s and later revived in the 1980s.

The original group included tenor saxophonist Bennie Golson and produced such standards as "Killer Joe" and "I Remember Clifford."

The songs, undergirded by swing rhythm, usually featured a trumpet, sax and trombone lead, with Mr. Farmer sometimes using a mute to execute the driving yet soulful and lyrical themes composed by Golson.

"The Jazztet is among the top five jazz groups of the '50s," said Rob Gibson, the executive producer and director of Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York, which programmed several concerts this decade that featured Mr. Farmer. "It was the definitive hard bop group."

In Washington, Mr. Farmer performed at Blues Alley, the Hirshhorn Museum and the Museum of Natural History in the 1970s and 1980s.

Mr. Farmer was born in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and raised in Phoenix, where he played cornet in a dance band with his twin brother, the late bassist Addison Farmer.

Wowed by fast and brassy big bands such as Stan Kenton's in the mid-1940s, he switched to trumpet, and the brothers moved to Los Angeles before their senior year of high school to take lessons and play in regional outfits.

Within a few years, Mr. Farmer made his first recordings, including the tune "Farmer's Market," with a group led by bebop saxophonist Wardell Gray. Wider recognition came in the 1950s, when he joined Hampton's big band and also played with saxophonist Gigi Gryce and pianist-composer Silver.

Additionally, Mr. Farmer performed with sax greats of the previous generation, including Lester Young and Coleman Hawkins, as well of some of his progressive contemporaries, such as pianist Thelonious Monk and drummer Art Blakey. Mr. Farmer also contributed his sound to the piano-less small groups led by guitarist Jim Hall and saxophonist Gerry Mulligan.

The bassist Keter Betts, who played at times with Mr. Farmer since the 1960s, said he was struck by Mr. Farmer's unflashy, carefully crafted rendition of notes. "He was a gentleman's trumpet player, not a rebel trumpet player," Betts said.

Mr. Farmer spent his remaining years touring Europe and the United States, where he received tributes and awards.

He is survived by a companion, a son and a sister.