How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Days Before and After is a successful collaboration between reed player Andrew Rathbun and drummer Owen Howard. What makes the quintet unique is that in addition to Rathbun and Howard, also appearing are John Hebert on bass, Ben Monder on guitar, and Geoff Young on acoustic, electric, and fretless guitar. So many strings give the songs a wonderful resonance and offer interesting possibilities for musicial adventure. Moreover, Rathbun is an excellent player who moves easily from lyrical and limpid to forceful and buoyant, and Howard's drumming is solid and at the same time unpredictable.
Among the best of the CD's nine songs are "The Whole Enchilada, named for a restaurant near Howard's apartment in Brooklyn and featuring great Latin rhythms, with the quintet taking the music out in the middle. "Nomad is a multilayered song that evokes a Middle Eastern feel; the guitars create interesting fields during the horn solo and the song is full of intriguing soundscapes. "Hiccup is a simple blues with a missing beat, hence the title, and it's a chance for the guitarists to launch into some funky solos.
Rathbun penned five tunes and Howard four, both contributing arrangements. On top of Rathbun and Howard's energy and obvious care, the CD was produced by saxophonist Pat LaBarbera, adding a further layer of excellence. Days Before and After is not only an exciting blend of moods and ideas, but also a successful example of the art of collaboration.
Track Listing: 1. Darkness Before Light;
2. Missing the Sea;
3. Forward Motian;
4. Life as Crystals;
5. The Whole Enchilada;
6. There Will Come Soft Rains;
Personnel: Andrew Rathburn -- reeds;
Owen Howard -- drums;
John Hebert -- bass;
Ben Monder -- electric guitar;
Geoff Young -- acoustic, electric, and fretless guitar.