A little about Tom Varner

Heaven and Hell, Tom's new CD, is now out! Click here for lots of info and a discount (put 'heaven' in the promo code).

Tom’s new CD on the OmniTone label, Second Communion, is his long-anticipated tribute to one of his musical heroes, trumpeter Don Cherry, who inspired Tom as not only as a brass player and composer, but as a bandleader as well.  In it, Tom explores Cherry’s concept of musical beauty through originals and through Cherry masterworks, including the groundbreaking suite Complete Communion.

His debut for OmniTone, Swimming, was voted one of the top ten albums of 1999 by Jazziz and nominated as “Best Jazz Album” by the Association for Independent Music (AFIM).  It features Steve Wilson, Tony Malaby, Cameron Brown, Tom Rainey, and special guest Mark Feldman. [More info.]

The Window Up Above, new interpretations of American songs, is on New World Records.

Tom Varner's 7th CD, Martian Heartache, on the Soul Note label, was released in September 1997. Martian Heartache was voted as one of the best releases of 1998 in Coda, Pulse! (4 stars), the Arkansas Democrat Gazette and The Chapel Hill Spectator(Read an interview with Tom Varner about Martian Heartache and his beginnings of playing the French horn.)

His 6th CD, The Mystery of Compassion, also on the Soul Note label, received 4 stars in Down Beat and has been voted as one of the best releases of 1993 in The Village Voice, The Boston Globe, The Chicago Sun Times, and Coda Magazine.

Tom Varner has also written music for numerous other recording projects, including the soundtrack for the Paul Mones feature film Saints & Sinners (released Spring '95).

Tom has received 2 grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and was a Down Beat Critics Poll Top Ten in 1983 and has continued to be 1998 to 2006. 

Was featured on NPR’s All Things Considered in 2000 and Weekend Edition in 2003.

He has performed as a leader/composer at the Parallel Worlds (Vienna Koncerthaus), Vancouver, Moers and Groningen Jazz Festivals, and many times at The Knitting Factory with guests such as Ed Jackson, Lee Konitz, Bobby Previte, Ellery Eskelin, Mark Feldman, Mark Dresser, Lindsey Horner, Drew Gress, Dave Tronzo, Steve Wilson, Tony Malaby, and Tom Rainey.

As a sideman, Tom has performed and recorded with, among others, the Vienna Art Orchestra, Steve Lacy, Dave Liebman, George Gruntz, Bobby Previte, John Zorn, Bobby Watson, LaMonte Young, Franz Koglmann, and Miles Davis with Quincy Jones at Montreaux '91.  He appears on over 70 recordings.