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The Swiss Duos  
Artist: Tom Varner
Album: The Swiss Duos
Katalog Nr: UTR 4128
Releasedatum: 01.11.2000
Albumdauer: 62:33
Line-Up: Tom Varner âEUR" French horn
George Gruntz âEUR" piano
Christoph Baumann âEUR" piano
Gabriela Friedli âEUR" piano
Hans Feigenwinter âEUR" piano
Credits: Recorded «live to Dolby SR analog two-track» at Radio DRS, Studio 2, Zurich, August 7 & 8, 1998
Produced by Tom Varner
Executive Producers: Peter Bürli/Radio DRS and Tom Varner
Engineer and production assistant: Martin Pearson
Mastered at Platinum One, Zurich
Liner Notes: Extraordinary encounters between a top jazz French hornist and four of SwitzerlandâEURTMs most individual pianists
Tom Varner is one of the few French horn players as much at ease in classical music as in jazz or improvisation. Born in New Jersey in 1957, he studied in Boston with Julius Watkins, Ran Blake and Jaki Byard before winning his spurs on the downtown New York scene, with big bands and small jazz formations of the likes of Steve Lacy, John Zorn, Dave Liebman and others. Well introduced in Switzerland, which he discovered while playing with the George Gruntz Big Band in 1982, Tom Varner has shared many things, on stage and off, with Swiss musicians. Inspired by Peter Bürli, the indefatigable jazz promoter of Radio DRS II, he now brings together four Swiss pianists for a remarkable series of duets that highlight his talent as soloist and composer.
The result is worth listening to on several counts. The idea of the duet for one, with its question and answer game balanced in a fragile equilibrium from which springs music that is surprisingly fresh and new. The compositions, signed Tom Varner, but also Parker, Monk and Gershwin. Finally, the contrast between the different pianists gives this undertaking added zest: George Gruntz with his rounded forms and spiraling harmonies; Hans Feigenwinter, the most elegiac of Swiss pianists, who interprets the theme of "What is this thing called first strike capability?" in unison with his partner; Christoph Baumann, who flaunts his skill in improvised and jocose jousts; Gabriela FriedliâEURTMs delicate shades of meaning that adapt perfectly to Tom VarnerâEURTMs horn. From "classical" jazz to instant composition, via the art of the counterpoint and standard pieces, Tom Varner offers us a disc radiant with empathy âEUR" one of the best jazz duo records ever made.
Links: www.tomvarnermusic.com
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