Tom Varner Quartet at Earshot Jazz

Jazz Photography of Tom Varner in performance

French horn player Tom Varner and Seattle saxophonist Eric Barber, bassist Phil Sparks and drummer Byron Vannoy opened  for Tamarindo at Poncho Concert Hall at Cornish College in the 2012 Earshot Jazz Festival. The Tom Varner Quartet celebrated the legacy of the late Steve Lacy, with whom Varner performed in Seattle in 1993. The program also included Varner’s arrangements of tunes by Lacy’s favorite composers, Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk.

Varner studied with pianist Jaki Byard, composer George Russell and saxophonist Steve Lacy; organized the Julius Watkins French Horn Festival at Cornish; appears on more than 70 recordings; and performs with the Washington Composers Orchestra, Jim Knapp Orchestra, Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra, and his own quartet, nonet and tentet.

Before moving to Seattle in 2005, Varner lived in New York, where he performed with Tony Malaby. Malaby appears on two of Varner’s CDs. Varner writes to me that he’s excited by the potential to have Malaby join in on a tune with Barber, Sparks and Vannoy.– SG

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