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Tom Varner: Second Communion

French horn virtuoso Tom Varner is not the first to pay homage by interpreting Don Cherry’s break-out recording, Complete Communion: the DKV Trio’s blistering reading fills the first of the 2-CD Live in Wels and Chicago, 1998 (Okkadisk). Varner’s version features a close affinity with the rhythmic buoyancy of the original, and uses it as the linchpin of his takes on other Cherry-penned minor classics like “Cherryco” and “Elephantsy.” The remainder of Second Communion is comprised of Cherry-related Varner originals, spanning “Watts ’56,” which has a sly sense of swing emanating from its Lacylike construction, and the elegiac “Leaving Malaga,” which features strong horn-trio writing for Varner, tenor saxophonist Tony Malaby and guest cornetist Dave Ballou, and a strong solo by bassist Cameron Brown.

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