His last time out on Fresh Sound Records, saxophonist/composer Adnrew Rathbun stretched the jazz listening experience by incorporating the writing of his fellow Canadian, Margaret Atwood, into his genre-bending CD, True Stories. The music was indeed 'Fresh Sounding', giving melody and quintet jazz backing to Atwood's lovely poems. And the band, when Atwood wasn't featured, turned out some high-energy, modal, mid-sixties Miles Davis sounds, Fender rhodes and all.
This time out, on Sculptures , Rathbun offers up jazz straight through, quintet mode, sax and trumpet front line, going with the accoustic piano instead of Fender rhodes.
An initial listen brings early sixties Miles Davis to mind Nefertit or E.S.P.. A thoughtful, dense set of songs, featuringin addition to Rathbun's assured tenor sax worksome elastic lines from trumpeter/flugelhornist Kenny Wheeler, and the solid but flexible rhythm of Frank Carlsberg on bass; John Hebert, piano; and Jeff Hirsfield doing the bass chores.
The music's compelling features are the overall musicianship and the twists and turns afforded by the multiple(twenty-one cuts)compositions, and the the intricate two horn interplay.
Wheeler is top notch here, as always, his sound rolling from the full round brass tone of his flugelhorn to the stretched tight, whiney, Wallace Roney-like trumpet lines.
An understated yet complex set of songs, repeated listenings revealing different shadings and nuances. Of special interest to fans of very early sixties Miles Davis.
Track Listing: Sculptures 1, Nameless, Your Eyes Changed Us, Architect, et al...
Personnel: Andrew Rathbun, tenor sax; Kenny Wheeler, trumpet and flugelhorn; Frank Carlsberg, bass; John Hebert, piano; Jeff Hirshfield, drums.