An internationally renowned champion of jazz and improvised music for the French horn, Tom Varner has appeared on over 70 different recordings with such important artists as Miles Davis, Quincy Jones, Steve Lacy, John Zorn, Bobby Previte, and Jim McNeely. As a sideman, Varner has toured North and South America, Europe, Japan, and Russia with George Gruntz, Steve Lacy, Reggie Workman, Bobby Previte, John Zorn, the Mingus Orchestra, the Vienna Art Orchestra, Bobby Watson, Lee Konitz, Jane Ira Bloom, La Monte Young, McCoy Tyner, Quincy Jones, Miles Davis, and many others.
Varner also has a well-deserved reputation as an inventive and passionate composer and bandleader with twelve CDs released under his own name and featuring Steve Wilson, Ed Jackson, Tony Malaby, Mark Feldman, Kenny Barron, Drew Gress, Cameron Brown, Victor Lewis, Billy Hart, Tom Rainey, and Matt Wilson, among others. Varner's latest recording Heaven and Hell will be released in the fall of 2009.
Varner holds a Bachelor of Music from the New England Conservatory where he studied with Jaki Byard and George Russell, and a Masters of Arts from the City College of New York. He won the 2000 Jazz Composers Alliance Composition Award, has been awarded residencies at the MacDowell, Civitella, and Blue Mountain arts colonies, and has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Doris Duke Foundation/Chamber Music America. He also composed the soundtrack for the feature film Saints and Sinners.
After living in New York City for many years, Varner relocated to Seattle with his family in 2005. Since his move, he has appeared as both bandleader and sideman with numerous artists at the Vancouver, Earshot Jazz, and Bumbershoot Arts Festivals.