Nothing Like the Sound of Fresh Jazz French Horn in the Morning

The French horn meets jazz – Tom Varner plays Monk’s “Straight, No Chaser” with the George Gruntz Concert Jazz Band, in Tokyo in 1988.

Trumpeter Arturo Sandoval (before he defected to the U.S.) solos here, too, and the band includes Gruntz, piano; Mike Richmond, bass; Paul Motian, drums; Ray Anderson and Art Baron, trombone; and Sharon Freeman, French horn.

The Seattle-based horn man and composer’s latest CD, Heaven and Hell, received a four-star review in the February issue of Down Beat.

Varner teaches at Cornish College of the Arts, and he’s a prime mover in the Julius Watkins Jazz French Horn Festival, the sixth edition of which was held last October.

Thanks to my friend and old fellow French-horn player Craig Kowald (he still plays; I don’t) for sending the Varner clip my way.