There have only been a few jazz French horn players of note throughout history, although the instrument became a little more common in the 1980s and '90s. Tom Varner on his third recording as a leader (following two obscure efforts for Soul Note) holds his own in a quintet with altoist Jim Snidero, pianist Kenny Barron, bassist Mike Richmond, and drummer Victor Lewis. The emphasis is on boppish soloing over appealing sets of chord changes with the oddly titled "What Is This Thing Called First Strike Capability," based on a familiar tune, and such fine songs as "Quasimodo," Bud Powell's "So Sorry Please," and "I Love You" receiving swinging treatment. A perfect introduction to both Tom Varner and the "jazz French horn."
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow