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Jazz French Horn

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Album Review

There have only been a few jazz French horn players of note throughout history, although the instrument became a little more common in the 1980s and '90s. Tom Varner on his third recording as a leader (following two obscure efforts for Soul Note) holds his own in a quintet with altoist Jim Snidero, pianist Kenny Barron, bassist Mike Richmond, and drummer Victor Lewis. The emphasis is on boppish soloing over appealing sets of chord changes with the oddly titled "What Is This Thing Called First Strike Capability," based on a familiar tune, and such fine songs as "Quasimodo," Bud Powell's "So Sorry Please," and "I Love You" receiving swinging treatment. A perfect introduction to both Tom Varner and the "jazz French horn."


Born: June 17, 1957 in Morristown, NJ

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

There have been few French horn soloists in jazz but, even if there had been dozens, chances are that Tom Varner would rank near the top. He started on piano at age eight and a year later switched to French horn, discovering his predecessor Julius Watkins' recordings when he was 17. He graduated from the New England Conservatory and, in 1979, moved to New York. Since then, Varner has recorded several albums (mostly for Soul Note) as a leader, and has worked with such players as Dave Liebman, Bobby...
Full Bio
Jazz French Horn, Tom Varner
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: 1985

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