Reviews for Aegean
Sextet/Septet album of 2015 -The Jazz Owl
"For all of the fun and humor, this is a masterfully crafted composition. It makes you fondly recall Frank Zappa, who wrote such fun music that was so brilliantly and exactingly constructed.
"Varmus' compositions are distinct and varied, showing great expression of character and technique, energy and emotion.
"All of the music was composed by Varmus and commissioned by Apostolos Georgopoulos to reflect the personalities of people close to him. We enjoyed the racy "Phineas", the laid back, cool "Selena" and the contrasting peaceful "Lily" with warm, rich solos from both Varmus and McCann. Aegean captures a wealth of emotions in a cool jazz package."
".. a free floating suite of tunes that have the consistency of clouds... the live takes are like looking at the sketch book of a master painter. I love "Areti" a stop-start chuckle fest of a tune, and "Phineas" which highlights Varmus's voice and is full of conversational authenticity in the interplay between band members. "Nidal"and "Lyra" are faves too.
"One can search for accolades but it all comes down to virtuosity and soul. 5 out of 5 stars." Grady Harp, October '15
" A commissioned work to celebrate the lives of various members of the underwriter's family, the versatile jazz/classical trumpet player rose to the challenge to make something artful, meaningful to the backer, and fine listening in that it's clearly arty without being artsy... First-class sitting-down instrumental jazz throughout, this is a ticket to that part of world jazz you've yet to visit---and you'll be glad you did. Art and music can come together delightfully when the fit is as good as this."-Midwest Record
"an impressive body of work"- Bebop Spoken Here
Reviews for Terminal Stillness
"Music is very much alive in the mind and trumpet playing of Jacob Varmus. Terminal Stillness gives you plenty of evidence... Varmus is a talent, a beautiful player and composer-arranger."
-Grego Applegate Edwards, Gapplegate Music Review
"Varmus' long drawn out passages have an appeal that easily outstrips the similar minimalist approach of some of his better known trumpet contemporaries."
Dan Bilawsky, All About Jazz
"The impact of Varmus has been immense and the results have been epic. Varmus may be one of the very best trumpet players you have yet to hear of. Varmus is indeed a virtuoso."
Press for Genes and Jazz
'Trumpet virtuoso Jacob Varmus plays while his father, famed geneticist Harold Varmus, talks science at Indian Summer's Genes & Jazz concert' [photo caption] photo by Donnelly Marks
the performance, the centre stage was filled with beautiful
"Jacob Varmus's music is lyrical and self-assured..."
-Paul Goldberger, The New
and Jazz feature in Talk of the Town, 12/1/08
Reviews for All the Things We Still Can Be
The Jacob Varmus band astounds us with a euphonic elaboration including plenty of ardour, reverberations and candle luminance. Varmus is more than generous here. His musings lay on the music of monstrous jazz creators such as Shorter and Monk. Yet Varmus sounds unique among as his peers. That said, Varmus’s inspiration on Chet and Miles is brilliant, gently marked and pushed along by be-bop and post-bop oriented structures."
"On Jacob Varmus' debut recording he proves to be an exciting trumpeter, composer and bandleader."-Michael P. Gladstone, All About Jazz, 2007
"One person who trumpeter Jacob Varmus has mentioned more than once when discussing All the Things We Still Can Be, his first official album as a leader, is Chet Baker. When he was alive, Baker was far from a jazz critics’ darling—many jazz critics of the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s wrongly dismissed Baker and other Cool Schoolers as lightweights—but Baker’s impact has outlasted critics’ barbs, and this 2004 date is a prime example of Baker (who died in 1988) influencing someone who is young enough to be his grandson. That is not to say that Varmus spends all of his time going out of his way to emulate Baker; Varmus has other noteworthy influences, ranging from Miles Davis (Baker’s primary influence) to Tom Harrell to Art Farmer to Don Cherry. The only time Varmus flat-out emulates Baker is on “Everything Happens to Me,” which is one of the standards that Baker loved to play; Varmus, who is very much an instrumentalist, even includes a little Baker-ish singing. But Varmus’ own compositions dominate this post-bop-oriented effort, and most of the time, Baker’s influence—although certainly evident—is no less important than the influence of Davis or Harrell. Further, Varmus generally favors a bigger tone than either Baker or Davis, whose mid-‘60s output has had a definite impact on his writing; compositionally, Varmus gets a lot of inspiration from the Davis period that was post-standards but pre-fusion—the Davis who was no longer playing “Someday My Prince Will Come” and “My Funny Valentine” but had yet to kick off the fusion revolution with In a Silent Way and Bitches Brew."
-Alex Henderson, All Music Guide, 2006
-Chris Spector, Midwest Record Recap, 2006
-George W. Carroll, The Musicians' Ombudsman, 2006
-Edward Blanco, Ejazz News,
"One of my spiritual idols"-George Garzone, saxophonist (with Tom Harrell, Joe Lovano) and educator
"Beautiful round tone"-Jimmy Owens, trumpeter (with Duke Ellington, Slide Hampton) and educator
"A great talent"-Phil Markowitz, pianist (with Dave Liebman, Chet Baker), educator
"Something special"-Richie Cole, saxophonist (with Phil Woods, Eddie Jefferson)
"Jake uses his ears
like no one else in the band. Watch out for Jake Varmus!"
“What a sound!”-James Dixon, orchestral conductor (with Quad City Symphony, Chicago Symphony)
"I recently had the
privilege of recording a CD with