Jazz recordings featuring the French horn are a rare breed, and as if wishing to do his bit to increase the number of available albums out there, French horn virtuoso and jazz musician Jim Rattigan is set to release his new album Duos on the 20th October.
As if this was not cause enough for celebration, the album is a 3CD set no less featuring the pianists Ivo Neame and Hans Koller and guitarist Nick Costley-White playing a set of Thelonious Monk tunes with Hans Koller, and a selection of jazz standards with Neame and Costley-White.
If you cannot wait until the release of the album on Friday 20th October, then the launch concert for Duos is on Monday 9th October at Pizza Express Jazz Club, Dean Street, London
It was therefore great pleasure to catch up with Jim ahead of the album release to find out about his favourite albums.
Of his all-time top ten albums, Jim writes:
Oscar Peterson Trio – Night Train (Verve)
This was my introduction into jazz. The first time I heard it completely changed my life. It was like being woken up.
An Alpine Symphony. Rudolf Kempe conducting the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. (Testament records)
Having spent many years playing in the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, like any job it can be just hard work at times. Then you play this piece and remember how fortunate you are to be a part of something magnificent. The sun appearing over the mountain top is simply mind -blowing. This is my favourite recording (way before my time in the orchestra). It’s heroic, Imperfect, brilliant.
Ella Fitzgerald – The Incomparable Ella (Verve)
I listened to this practically on a loop whistle touring with the Orchestra. It kept me sane. The arrangements are beautifully crafted.
Dennis Brain plays Horn Concertos R. Strauss Nos. 1 & 2 & Hindemith.
In His time Dennis Brain was on another level of horn playing. The general standard has risen considerably since the 1960’s and now there are many phenomenal French horn players in the world. However, there is still something about Dennis Brain that draws me in. It’s his ability to communicate. Like Miles Davis, Ella, Coltrane. He transcends the instrument.
Kenny Wheeler – Double, Double You (ECM)
The improvising in this album is what does it for me. The energy they create. It really feels ‘in the moment’.
Steve Swallow with Robert Creeley – So There (Xtra/WATT)
The instrumentation of this album works so well. Very difficult to pull off but it is done superbly. Robert Creeley’s poetry and voice adds gravitas to what is a beautifully written album.
Bob Brookmeyer & Jim Hall – Live at the North Sea Jazz Festival 1979 (Challenge Records)
The wonderful, joyous playing on this album just puts a smile on my face. Marvellous interplay between these two great musicians. Fantastic improvising that speaks to everyone.
Phil Donkin – Walk Alone (KLAENG Records)
An amazing achievement to bring out so much colour, contrast, textures and resonances from the double bass. Written melodies that are both light and Dark. Along with superb playing from this great musician.
Stan Getz -Sweet Rain (Verve)
The title comes from Mike Gibbs’ superb tune. Stan Getz’s highly recognizable, luscious sound, fantastic rhythm section and a great selection of tunes. I love the title track. Apparently, all was not roses in the recording session, but I think that added a little extra spice!
Paul Motian – On Broadway Vol. 2 (JMT)
The freedom with which they approach the music is wonderful. It’s all about listening and responding.