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Artist’s Choice: David Amram and the French Horn in Jazz

The composer shines a spotlight on one of the music's less common instruments

David Amram on the French horn
David Amram (photo: Alan Nahigian)

On the one hand, French horn remains one of the rarer instruments in the jazz world, past and present. On the other, though, the picture that the average jazz fan has is that there are only three or four of us that were out there playing it. There were a lot of people who did it, and are doing it. The players listed here are all people I’ve crossed paths with, and people who have all played their asses off. And they’re not alone: Every week I’m encountering players whose abilities on the horn are scary. These, though, are a good start on the range of styles and conceptions that are out there. —DAVID AMRAM

Listen to a Spotify playlist featuring all the songs in this Artist’s Choice:

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David Amram

David Amram, a multi-instrumentalist and composer of classical, jazz, film, and theater music, played French horn in the bands of Charles Mingus, Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton, and Oscar Pettiford. He is currently working on his fourth book, David Amram: The Next 80 Years.