8

Andrew Rathbun: Numbers & Letters

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
Andrew Rathbun: Numbers & Letters 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, Jay Anderson on bass and Bill Stewart in the drummer's chair.

Rathbun has always displayed a "Miles Davis Second Great Quintet" influence, but Numbers and Letters sounds much more his own voice, beginning with the stealthy "Bad Call," a high energy tune that sounds like musical subterfuge, a bit P.O.d, with a prickly piano solo and turbulent bass/drums backdrop, with tenor saxophonist Rathbun zeroing in on his target like an attack drone.

"Tears and Fears" features Rathbun on soprano, on a dreamy, Wayne Shorter-ish exploration of the ballad form, while "Playpen" has a playful mood, with the rhythm section adding some resonant majesty to the sound.

The set is, in large part, a celebration of parenthood. The inspiration of "Sleep Please" is obvious to any new parent. Markowitz opens it like a delicate piano note lullaby, with Rathbun entering blowing soothing soprano lines, a gentle and slightly weary plea.

Rathbun burns "Sculpy," with short choppy lines in front of Stewart, who's trying to build a fire on drums. Taylor Haskins joins the quartet on "Counterpoint" and "Again?" the former a wandering conversation with some beautiful unison work on the horns, the latter is the band at its noir-ish best that lightens in mood a few minutes in, until Markowitz gets his solo and roams the dark streets again.

Numbers & Letter is another forward sounding set—his best so far, perhaps—by the prolific saxophonist/composer Andrew Rathbun and an inspired, first rate ensemble.


Track Listing: Bad Call; Tears and Fears; Playpen; Pencil and Paper; Crawl Out; Sleep Please; Swing Set; Counterpoint; Sculpy; Again?; Etude.

Personnel: Andrew Rathbun: reeds, voice; Phil Markowitz: piano; Jay Anderson: bass; Bill Stewart: drums; Taylor Haskins: trumpet (8, 10).

Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: SteepleChase Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read The Invariant CD/LP/Track Review The Invariant
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "Invisible Man" CD/LP/Track Review Invisible Man
by Anthony Shaw
Published: June 2, 2016
Read "Clockwork" CD/LP/Track Review Clockwork
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 13, 2016
Read "Cosmic Adventure" CD/LP/Track Review Cosmic Adventure
by James Nadal
Published: August 16, 2016
Read "Hank Mobley" CD/LP/Track Review Hank Mobley
by Greg Simmons
Published: December 6, 2016
Read "Handel:  Complete Harpsichord Music" CD/LP/Track Review Handel: Complete Harpsichord Music
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 2, 2016
Read "Reliquia" CD/LP/Track Review Reliquia
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 30, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!