WBGO Radar

Tim Horner: The Head Of The Circle

cover art for Tim Horner's CD "The Head of the Circle"

Tim Horner first sat behind the drums at age ten. He was inspired to make them his life's work. Since then he has traveled the world with The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, John Scofield, Hank Jones, The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra and singers Joe Williams, Mark Murphy and Roseanna Vitro, among many others.

Horner's own groups make for keeping time and making time to see his own compositions come to light, such as the ten on this new CD, "The Head Of The Circle." 

This is, surprisingly, Tim's second recording as a leader.  The ensemble here includes vibraphonist Joe Locke, pianist Jim Ridl, Steve Allee on accordion, Hammond B3 & Fender Rhodes, Ted Nash on tenor and soprano sax, bass clarinet & flute, and bassist Dean Johnson.

This collective takes us through the ten finely-crafted Horner pieces, which start with the "The Drums," a tribute to the drumming of Native American culture.

After Tim had visited the gravesite of Sitting Bull, "The Dance" was born. Locke's vibraphone and Nash on bass clarinet give the piece a Middle Eastern mood which evokes Sitting Bull's ghost dance, used to revisit departed ancestors.

Of "Awakening," Horner says this song is reflective of the strength, intelligence and beauty of Sacagawea, a Lemhi Shoshone woman known for her help as the guide and translator to the Lewis & Clark expedition. It's a great chance Ridl's explorations on Fender Rhodes and piano.

Based on a poem by the pianist's brother, "Listen And You'll See" has the ensemble developing the colors, melodies, rhymes and harmonies of the music. Nash's gorgeous flute work and Ridl's piano add much here to the shades of the Horner's drum work.

"Requiem" written after a friend's family tragedy, is rather, a celebration of a life that was, allowing for Locke on vibes and Nash on tenor and pianist Ridl to further celebrate Horner's intent.

"Mandala," a word which means "circle" or wholeness in Sanskrit, moves with Horner's time and voice in a circular motion, with accordion, bass, piano, and bass all in swirling exchange.

Tim says Quincy Jones could've written "The King." Horner adds, "I always loved the character Grady, played by Whitman Mayo for the television show Sanford and Son. I couldn't stop thinking of the episode of Grady wearing a crown. So in salute to Grady Wilson and actor Whitman Mayo, I called this one "The King."

After one listen, you can tell Tim Horner and his musical friends had a special time creating the spirit of "The Head Of The Circle." If you're like me, you're anticipating the thrill of hearing this music performed live.

              - Gary Walker, WBGO music director

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