Tom Varner: SWIMMINGWhat reviewers say about Tom Varner: Swimming
(OmniTone 11903)

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[Press about OmniTone]

  • ""
    —Jon Andrews, Down Beat (June 2000)

  • 1999 All Music Guide Pick: "Best of Artist"  

  • 1999 AFIM Indie Award nominee

  • "...the strongest music of the decade just ended."  —Bob Blumenthal, Boston Globe (6 October 2000)

  • "...Varner has recruited an impressive group who are among the hottest if not finest modern jazz musicians on the scene today....  There's a lot to get excited about on Swimming as Varner excels as a multifaceted composer who injects a good deal of emotion and color into his work which is enhanced by a supremely motivated ensemble who share Varner's plight and compelling vision. After listening to this recording several times, it became apparent, that Varner has established a unique jazz vocabulary. Swimming should not go unnoticed!  Highly recommended."
    —Glenn Astarita,

  • Top 10 of 1999..."Swimming is one session in which most jazz fans can
    happily immerse themselves."
    Ken Waxman,

  • "[Varner] has patiently opened the doors to a very personal American music, drawing on jazz and other traditions and turning out some of the best New York records of the 90's."
    —Richard Cook, Jazz Review Magazine (Feb 2000)

  • "...Varner has a Mingus-like gift for intertwining complex counter-melodies in a manner that's more soulful than acrobatic. This approach creates countless opportunities for inspired improvisation ... Swimming is a marvel of cohesive ensemble writing and playing..."
    —Nate Chinen, Philadelphia City Paper (3 Feb 2000)

  • "The music [is] swinging, intense, uncommon and wholly mesmerizing."
    —Thomas Staudter, Westchester County Weekly (25 January 2001)

  • "This intriguing disc floats on beautifully structured solo and ensemble sections filled with the rich,  resonant sound of Varner's facile French horn playing....  The French horn is one of the most beautiful and engaging of all brass instruments, and Varner's one of the few who play it so well in such a fine jazz context. Recommended.
    —Gene Hyde, Spectator (5 Feb 2000)

  • "...more traditional strains are also informed by the contemporaneous sensibilities of Charles Ives, as well as the later ones of Henry Threadgill and Charles Mingus.  And, like [William] Faulkner, Varner plays with time and narrative structure in fascinating ways." 
    —Larry Nai, Jazz Improv (Vol 2, No 3)

  • "Tom Varner is that special kind of new jazz master who is pushing the music in new directions...  an intense, profound and stunning hybrid of dazzling improvisations and cleverly abstract musical forms and melodies....  It is Varner's writing where the mastery starts and his use of space, interplay, movement and time signatures keep the listener on the edge of their seat.  Nothing is predictable here. Swimming is more than a splash!"
    JazzOnline (March 2000)

  • "What keeps both the players and listeners on their toes is the eclectic world of inspiration that Tom draws from —biblical themes, science fiction, folklore, kitsch, funk and modern classical music....   One of the highlights of this great CD is the 'Seven Miniatures for Mark Feldman', which pushes Mark's wondrous violin through a diverse array of styles/genres - inside & outside, modern jazz & classical, somber & explosive, Mark is magnificent when given the chance to push the limits....  Another excellent offering from Tom Varner and company."
    —Bruce Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery

  • "...a welcome burst of quality, a gold nugget after a hard day of coming up from the mine empty handed."
    —Blaine Fallis, About.Com (1 February 2000)

  • "...some of Varner's most accomplished, sprawling work....  He's
    got an impeccable melodic sense, making songs that ring memorably long after they've departed."
    —Andrew Bartlett, Amazon.Com

  • "...Varner's playing is articulate and dazzling throughout.  His lower-register work on the usually unruly French horn is, in fact, quite stunning. If you are unacquainted with Tom Varner, Swimming is as good a place as any to begin.  And those who already know his music will not be disappointed."
    —David Prince, CDNow.Com

  • "[Varner] has mastered his instrument so that it is —incredibly —as fluid as a smooth-sailing sax or a spirited violin.... ...fine, well-rehearsed, and carefully arranged music ... Varner orchestrates with a broad brush, his arrangements full and complex... of his best efforts to date." —Steven Loewy, Cadence (June 2000)

  • 2001 Critics' Best Paulo Gil,

  • "...Varner uses his multi-horn band to meditate on social and spiritual matters, all the while keeping an ear to the ground and finding exciting space to explore."  —

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