French-horn player Rattigan tours

Former RPO horn player sees his octet - jazz quartet plus string quartet - as a stylistic juxtaposition rather than crossover

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Jim Rattigan at Wakefield Jazz on 11 October 2019 during a performance by his band Pavillon. Photo © Brian Payne

The French-horn player Jim Rattigan, a fugitive from the classical world long acclimatised to jazz, tours music from his 2021 album When (reviewed here) this month. The album apparently set out not to fuse but to juxtapose jazz and classical interpretations.

Rattigan refers to the French horn in his compositions as “a bridge between the two genres”, something no doubt apparent as long ago as the 1940s and 1950s in the work of Claude Thornhill and Gil Evans. Other notable French horn players (and soloists) in jazz include John Clark, Tom Varner and Arkady Shilkloper.

Rattigan has played with Michael Brecker, Bill Frisell, Carla Bley, Charlie Haden, Paul McCartney, George Michael and Adele and was a member of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra from 1989 to 1995. After leaving the RPO he started playing jazz full time. BBC Music Magazine percipiently noted that he produces a sound “suspended somewhere between flugelhorn and trombone”.

Rattigan’s jazz and classical symbiosis is executed live by Ivo Neame (piano), Dave Whitford (bass), James Maddren (drums) and the Tear String Quartet. For all dates except the Pizza Express Alcyona Mick (p) and Phil Donkin (b) replace Neame and Whitford.

The tour dates are these:

8th January 2022 – PizzaExpress Jazz Club, Soho, London 1pm
26th January 2022 – Newhampton Arts Centre, Wolverhampton
27th January 2022 – Albany Club, Coventry
28th January 2022 – 1000 Trades, Birmingham
29th January 2022 – Bishop’s Castle Town Hall, Shropshire
30th January 2022 – Ashburton Arts Centre, Teignbridge