Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
The Window Up Above: American Songs
Genres: Jazz, Pop, Classical
French hornist Tom Varner has elevated his instrument's presence in jazz almost single-handedly. He first splashed with an alto sax, bass, drums, and horn quartet over a decade ago, and comparisons to the Ornette Coleman q... more »
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French hornist Tom Varner has elevated his instrument's presence in jazz almost single-handedly. He first splashed with an alto sax, bass, drums, and horn quartet over a decade ago, and comparisons to the Ornette Coleman quartets were immediate. Varner's a sly player, smearing his notes and invoking his horn's darkest tones to emphasize the slips and slides he sees throughout the jazz idiom. And here Varner presents a window (no pun intended) on the songbook that makes up the U.S. musical consciousness. He takes on some mournful traditional music, such as "Stone Grinds All," and then moves on to cover George Jones and Hank Williams ("Ramblin' Man") with Thirsty Dave Hansen taking on the vocals. In between there are Eubie Blake-associated tunes, Gershwin numbers, and even a raggedy take on "When the Saints Go Marching In." The band is lean, with Mark Feldman's violin and Dave Ballou's cornet popping up hither and yon. And the playing ranges from homey to intricately thorny. As a reading on U.S. musical history, this is both inspiring and impressive. Varner's done something great here. --Andrew Bartlett
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VARNER DOES IT AGAIN!
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Tom Varner's music is unique yet classic. The French horn is such a great intsrument, warm and comforting and stirring, but you've never heard it played quite like this. The same is true of these classic songs -- you probably know a lot of them, but you've never heard them quite like this. Some are sweet, some bittersweet; some rueful, others upbeat. It's a great mix. I hear something new each time I listen to it."