Tom Varner

Composer(s): George F. Root, Bruce Springsteen, Traditional, Tom Varner, Henry LaFayette Webster, Joseph Philbrick Webster, Hank Williams, Henry Clay Work, William Billings, Eubie Blake, Andy Razaf, Duke Ellington, Paul Francis Webster, George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin, Ethel Lynn Eliot Beers, John Hill Hewitt, Harold Arlen, E.Y. Harburg, George Jones, Larry Henley, Red (Rudolph DeLaughter) Lane, H. F. Lyte, W. H. Monk, Kenneth Morris
Album Title: The Window Up Above: American Songs 1770- 1998 
Cat. No.: 80552
Genre: Jazz
Description: The Window Up Above: American Songs 1770-1998

Tom Varner, French horn; Pete McCann, guitar; George Schuller, drums; Lindsey Horner, bass; Mark Feldman, violin; Dave Ballou, trumpet; Steve Alcott, bass;
Thirsty Dave Hansen, vocals*

“I wanted to do something different for this record. Instead of playing my own compositions, I wanted to simply explore a variety of songs that have an inner resonance, whether from family, religion, nation, or culture.”
—Tom Varner

What Tom Varner has attempted on The Window Up Above is nothing less than a survey of the whole American song book, a millenium review of the last three centuries-and he succeeds brilliantly. Every song he has chosen has that American "thing," and his approach to every song is patently jazz, even where he chooses to play the melody "straight" to let its qualities shine through. Highlights abound: The witty, off-center de- and reconstruction of the Revolutionary and Civil War smash hits "Stone Grinds All," "When  Jesus Wept," "Kingdom Come, " and "Battle Cry of Freedom" will forever change the way you hear them; his understated, heartfelt renditions of "Lorena," "All Quiet on the Potomac," and "There is a Balm in Gilead" would make a stone weep; to say nothing of his splendid reimaginings of  standards like "Over the Rainbow" and "When the Saints Go Marching In." Even Bruce Springsteen gets the treatment, his "With Every Wish" joining George Jones’s "The Window Up Above," Hank Williams's "Ramblin' Man,"(check out Mark Feldman's and Varner's hair-raising solos and closing duet) and Tammy Wynette's "Till I Get it Right" from the country canon. In Varner’s unique arrangements, every song on this collection emerges freshly minted. Once heard, not soon forgotten.

Stone Grinds All, The Window Up Above*, I Got It Bad, Kingdom Coming, Over The Rainbow, My God is Real, The Man I Love, When the Saints Go Marching In, Lorena, Till I Get It Right, Memories of You, Battle Cry of Freedom, All Quiet on the Potomac, Ramblin’ Man*, Abide With Me, When Jesus Wept, With Every Wish, The Best Thing, There is a Balm in Gilead 
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