Toronto-born saxophonist/composer Andrew Rathbun is no stranger to pushing the boundaries. He has released a dozen superb modernistic CDs under his own name, perhaps most notable of these his nod to his fellow Canadian, writer Margaret Atwood, Sculptures (Blue Moon, 2002), and 2009's and Where We Are Now (Steeplechase Records). Rathbun, on all of his previous outings, has shown a true talent for putting together great bands. The disc at hand, Number & Letters is right there in that regard, with perhaps his finest and most simpatico group of players on this mostly quartet outing with Phil Markowitz on piano, ...read more
What effect does solitude have on a person? How can one grow as a result of being alone? These questions provoke a musical response from saxophonist, Andrew Rathbun, though the roots of his inspiration for this music lie over forty years ago. In 1967, legendary concert pianist Glenn Gould produced a radio documentary called The Idea of North" where simultaneously played voices narrated five people's views on Northern Canada. Gould called this experiment contrapuntal radio," an extension of his own musical voice and an exploration of the theme of solitude, a state which he needed creatively and craved personally. In ...read more
It is quite insouciant to categorize jazz musicians as either composers or players. But jazz devotees sometimes typecast artists as writers or interpreters of music. With a mature talent such as composer/saxophonist Andrew Rathbun, categorizing him in one camp or the other is unwarranted.
With Where We Are Now, his tenth disc as leader, he displays his growing maturity as a player and more of his acclaimed talents as composer/arranger.
Like his last few discs, he sets aside his taste for poetry and vocalists to center the session on the music. That's not to say his writing isn't chock-full of ...read more
Andrew Rathbun is a Canadian-born tenor saxophonist resident in New York, a Brooklyn regular who has garnered support from fellow tenorists Joe Lovano and Dave Liebman as well as trumpeter Kenny Wheeler. That should give some sense of Rathbun's lineage. He's a thoughtful player and--true to the influence of Wheeler (and Booker Little) and the mid-'60s Miles Davis quintet--a skillful composer, honing a refined lyricism that explores challenging harmonic patterns.
He`s also interested in consistent partnerships. The quintet heard here includes two musicians, trumpeter Taylor Haskins and bassist John Hebert, who played on Rathbun's first quintet session, Scatter Some Stones ...read more
Andrew Rathbun at The Manhattan School of Music, NYCManhattan School of MusicNew York City, NYMarch 19, 2008 Saxophonist Andrew Rathbun, as part of his fulfillment of the requirements for his Doctorate in Musical Arts, performed and conducted his own compositions at the Ades Performance Space, employing two ensembles. Although the academy is seen by many as a separate entity from the performing world, the mixing of the two mindsets, especially in musicians coming out of the jazz more than classical tradition, has been an increasingly common occurrence, spearheaded perhaps by the European jazz scene. ...read more
Canadian jazz musicians are frequently overlooked by American jazz fans unless they record for a US-based label, but ignore Andrew Rathbun at your own risk. There is a lot to like about Shadow Forms, as there are plenty of surprising twists within these intimate performances. This talented multi-instrumentalist, primarily heard on tenor sax, also doubles on soprano sax, clarinet and keyboards during this studio session, where he is joined by bassist Scott Lee and drummer Jeff Hirshfield, with veteran George Garzone adding a second tenor on several tracks. Rathbun and Lee contribute five originals each, in addition ...read more
For some reason, I never associated Andrew Rathbun with the Canadian scene, especially as embodied in the ever-expanding circle of David Braid and Mike Murley. There is something in his playing and compositions, just like Kenny Wheeler, that I cannot place--and which renders him distinct from the others. In any case, Shadow Forms is a wonderful album and, in typical Rathbun fashion, it could not be more different from his previous release, Renderings: The Art Of The Duo. In that effort with George Colligan, the duo explored its classical side in music of such extreme delicacy it ...read more
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