2. Giant Steps
3. Sweet Rain
6. Donna Lee
7. Come Sunday
8. Mung Beans
9. Yardbird Suite
Jim Rattigan - French horn
Phil Robson - Guitar
Phil Donkin - Bass
Gene Calderazzo - Drums
The French horn has been used sparingly in jazz and mainly in an ensemble context such as by Gil Evans. Jim Rattigan has no reservations about bringing it to the fore in a quartet setting as evidenced on this CD.
He is certainly a player of considerable dexterity. There were times when I was almost convinced that he had picked up a valve trombone or that Bob Brookmeyer had walked into the studio!
Rattigan has an impressive pedigree, having played classically with the RPO and jazz-wise with Michael Brecker, McCoy Tyner, Brad Mehldau, Kenny Wheeler and Mike Gibbs amongst other major names.
And he relishes a challenge. Parker's Donna Lee can only be played at breakneck speed and Coltrane's Giant Steps is also taken at a fast lick propelled by Calderazzo's busy drumming. Rattigan contributes three quirky Monkish originals: Timbuckthree, Shuzzed (no idea what that means!) and MungBeans. But I preferred the richer, more soulful sounds of the horn on Gibbs's Sweet Rain and Ellington's lovely Come Sunday. Rattigan's technique on the horn is prodigious but the most musically satisfying moments on this CD come when he takes the showmanship down a notch or two.
The always excellent Phil Robson contributes a number of thoughtful, inventive guitar solos and Phil Donkin provides solid support on bass.
At 43 minutes, the recording time is not generous. Another ballad or two would have made a more balanced programme.