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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Andrew Rathbun Large Ensemble: Atwood Suites

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Andrew Rathbun is a Canadian saxophonist who has made a major musical statement here with this collection of suites, two of which are based on the poetry of author Margaret Atwood. Rathbun's writing shows the influence of another Canadian, Kenny Wheeler, in its lush sonority, the frequent gorgeous flugelhorn solos by Tim Hagans and the role of Luciana Souza, who both sings Atwood's poetry with gentle forcefulness and moans wordlessly within the orchestral ensembles, the same way Wheeler often utilized ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Andrew Rathbun: Atwood Suites

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The mingling of jazz music and poetry is not a new concept. It has always been an amiable, yet at times, uncomfortable fit. From a verse standpoint, it is in many ways liberating. While most vocalized lyrics and spoken word forms rely on rhyme to speak to cadence and rhythm, free verse poetry liberates the narrative from the confinements of structure, and much like an improvising instrumentalist, takes spoken language into a intertwining duality with the melody within harmonic dimension. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Andrew Rathbun: Atwood Suites

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In a way, the Atwood Suites have been in the works for almost two decades. When Kenny Wheeler approached Toronto native Andrew Rathbun in search for a band in 2001, the former furthermore inquired if the latter would like a composition of his own penning to be performed beside Wheeler's “Suite Time Suite." Consequently, the “Power Politics Suite," which makes for the second half of the first CD, was born, with Wheeler's and vocalist Luciana Souza's sound specifically in mind. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Andrew Rathbun Large Ensemble: Atwood Suites

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The marriage between jazz and poetry is having a true moment in the present artistic sphere. The two have long mixed and mingled, oft proving sympathetic and symbiotic in their multidirectional moves, unique cadences, and improvisational capacities. But never before has the connection been so strong and centralized. With drummer Matt Wilson's triumphant encounter with the work of Carl Sandburg, soprano saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom's exploration of Emily Dickinson's writing, saxophonist Benjamin Boone's collaboration with Philip Levine, and a handful ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Andrew Rathbun: Numbers & Letters

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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, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Andrew Rathbun: The Idea of North

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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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Andrew Rathbun: Where Are We Now

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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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Andrew Rathbun: Affairs of State

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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 ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Andrew Rathbun at the Manhattan School of Music, NYC

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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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Andrew Rathbun: Shadow Forms

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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, ...