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Andrew Rathbun: Character Study

Read "Character Study" reviewed by Jerome Wilson

The political and social landscape of the last couple of years has inspired music that expresses anger, sorrow, solidarity and other strong feelings. For saxophonist Andrew Rathbun, the times have brought up reflections on what “character" means and what is the place of integrity, honesty and conviction in the modern world. Some of this was addressed in his recent large ensemble recording, Atwood Suites, (Origin, 2018) and it's also the focus of this quintet disc. Without pointing fingers ...

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Andrew Rathbun Large Ensemble: Atwood Suites

Read "Atwood Suites" reviewed by Jerome Wilson

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 ...

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Andrew Rathbun: Atwood Suites

Read "Atwood Suites" reviewed by Paul Rauch

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. ...

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Andrew Rathbun: Atwood Suites

Read "Atwood Suites" reviewed by Friedrich Kunzmann

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. ...

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Andrew Rathbun Large Ensemble: Atwood Suites

Read "Atwood Suites" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

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 ...

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Andrew Rathbun: Numbers & Letters

Read "Numbers & Letters" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

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, ...

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Andrew Rathbun: The Idea of North

Read "The Idea of North" reviewed by Ian Patterson

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 ...


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