All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

168

Andrew Rathbun: Affairs of State

By

Sign in to view read count
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 (Challenge, 1998). Returning the favor, Rathbun has also appeared on Haskins' two Fresh Sound CDs. As one might expect, there's a close-knit feeling that extends from hand-in-glove ensemble playing to some understated contrapuntal improvising.

Rathbun likes extra-musical themes (two of his previous CDs have been poetry settings), and the pieces here reference the decline of America in the Bush years, from the Iraq war to collapsing infrastructure and luxury condos; however, the album's dominant moods are melancholy and resilience rather than rage, an introspective lyricism that wouldn't otherwise suggest the political theme. Rathbun's compositions use contrasting elements to create tension and develop texture, as in the antiphonal voicings of "Fragmented," the dissonant elegy of "We Have Nothing But Tears" and the effective use of sparkling electric piano on "Folly." His tenor sound possesses significant flexibility, from warm calm to gritty resistance; it's a fine match with Haskins, whose pitch inflections can add a sudden illumination.

The rhythm section—Herbert joined by pianist Gary Versace and drummer Mike Sarin—is a model of support, a loose and engaged presence balancing empathy and aggression with an almost orchestral breadth. The result is consistently thoughtful, well-crafted music in a mature idiom.


Track Listing: Fragmented; We Have Nothing But Tears; Around the Same Circles, Again and Again; Break the Chains; 5th Anniversary; Fiasco; Ongoing; Folly (of the Future Fallen); Paint Peelings.

Personnel: Andrew Rathbun: tenor saxophone; Taylor Haskins: trumpet; Gary Versace: piano; John Hebert: bass; Mike Sarin: drums.

Title: Affairs of State | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: SteepleChase Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Atwood Suites

Atwood Suites

Origin Records
2018

buy
Numbers & Letters

Numbers & Letters

SteepleChase Records
2014

buy
The Idea of North

The Idea of North

SteepleChase Records
2011

buy
Where Are We Now

Where Are We Now

SteepleChase Records
2009

buy
Shadow Forms

Shadow Forms

SteepleChase Records
2007

buy
Affairs of State

Affairs of State

SteepleChase Records
2007

buy

Related Articles

Read Alive In The East? CD/LP/Track Review
Alive In The East?
by Chris May
Published: June 22, 2018
Read Love Stone CD/LP/Track Review
Love Stone
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 22, 2018
Read Empty Castles CD/LP/Track Review
Empty Castles
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 22, 2018
Read Myths and Morals CD/LP/Track Review
Myths and Morals
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: June 22, 2018
Read The Sum Of My Pardon CD/LP/Track Review
The Sum Of My Pardon
by Jim Olin
Published: June 22, 2018
Read Postcard Collection CD/LP/Track Review
Postcard Collection
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 21, 2018
Read "Discussions" CD/LP/Track Review Discussions
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 20, 2017
Read "Again" CD/LP/Track Review Again
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 9, 2018
Read "Baby It's Cold Outside" CD/LP/Track Review Baby It's Cold Outside
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 13, 2017
Read "Ockeghem Octets" CD/LP/Track Review Ockeghem Octets
by John Eyles
Published: July 14, 2017
Read "First Things First" CD/LP/Track Review First Things First
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: May 8, 2018
Read "Baby Talk" CD/LP/Track Review Baby Talk
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 14, 2017