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).

Title: Numbers & Letters | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: SteepleChase Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Company I Keep CD/LP/Track Review The Company I Keep
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Ma De Re Sha CD/LP/Track Review Ma De Re Sha
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Ask Seek Knock CD/LP/Track Review Ask Seek Knock
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Air and Light and Time and Space CD/LP/Track Review Air and Light and Time and Space
by John Eyles
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Eleven Cages CD/LP/Track Review Eleven Cages
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Afro-Caribbean Mixtape CD/LP/Track Review Afro-Caribbean Mixtape
by Mark F. Turner
Published: June 27, 2017
Read "The Complete Syllables Music" CD/LP/Track Review The Complete Syllables Music
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 4, 2017
Read "Antenna" CD/LP/Track Review Antenna
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 22, 2016
Read "ScratchBop" CD/LP/Track Review ScratchBop
by Mark F. Turner
Published: January 28, 2017
Read "Nigerian Spirit" CD/LP/Track Review Nigerian Spirit
by James Nadal
Published: May 29, 2017
Read "Of Sound Mind" CD/LP/Track Review Of Sound Mind
by Budd Kopman
Published: September 30, 2016
Read "Days Are Not Days" CD/LP/Track Review Days Are Not Days
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 20, 2016

Smart Advertising!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.