155

Andrew Rathbun / George Colligan: Renderings: The Art of the Duo

Budd Kopman By

Sign in to view read count
Andrew Rathbun / George Colligan: Renderings: The Art of the Duo Renderings could be the perfect album for the jazz lover who thinks he doesn't like classical music, or vice versa. The recording is extremely beautiful for many reasons, in no small part because of the classical music chosen on which to improvise, as well as the leaders' own classically inspired compositions.

From the point of view of sheer sound, Andrew Rathbun's soprano saxophone timbre is almost flute-like in its lack of reedy coloration. Being extremely pure, it literally floats. George Colligan has an very fine touch, paying attention to dynamics and gradations of attack, clearly having spent much time with the classical repertoire and its performance requirements.

During the improvisations on classical themes, there's a strong feeling that the players have a working method and a point to make. The music resolutely does not swing at all. The harmonies also feel classical, yet are of the impressionistic kind that jazz has subsumed. The music has the feel of a recital, and no one could argue with the label of "chamber jazz, yet it's nothing like the Modern Jazz Quartet playing a Bach fugue, even though there is a fugal-like movement in Part 4 of Rathbun's suite.

So where does the jazz come from? Rathbun talks briefly about his desire to improvise on the composed theme without losing the spirit of the music. This they do; Ravel still feels like Ravel, and Mompou like Mompou. Even in the suite composed by Rathbun, the improvised sections stay within compositional boundaries. And yet, the vast majority of the time, the improvised sections are extremely clear, more so with the sax than the piano. Even a line that has been written to sound free or improvised does not necessary sound that way when juxtaposed against the real thing.

The key to hearing this difference is to focus on the relationship of the notes to the underlying pulse and subdivisions of that pulse. What becomes very clear is that in the composed music, the notes end up directly on the beat or its subdivision. However, during improvisation, the notes detach from the pulse and are free. Notating it would be impossible, and this is (part of) the freedom of jazz. Rathbun has the extra option of sliding into or out of notes. He doesn't do it much, and it's almost shocking when it occurs. Colligan's improvisations are a bit subtler, and sometimes the line between through-composed and improvised accompaniment can be blurry. But most of the time you know, despite the larger gestures that he uses.

This music is very deeply felt, and somehow the Third Stream label does not fit very well. Yes, Renderings communicates a feeling of working something out. However, the main feeling is a desire to communicate the emotions that these two wonderful players felt with and through this music.

Put Renderings on and chances are that you will find much to enjoy from the "other side.

Visit Andrew Rathbun and George Colligan on the web.


Track Listing: Menuet Sur Le Nom Du Hayden; Suite for Soprano Saxophone and Piano; The Last Waltz; Musica Calada; Silkscreen.

Personnel: Andrew Rathbun: soprano and tenor saxophones; George Colligan: piano.

Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Fresh Sound New Talent | Style: Beyond Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 26, 2017
Read This Is Nate Najar CD/LP/Track Review This Is Nate Najar
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Joy Comes Back CD/LP/Track Review Joy Comes Back
by James Nadal
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Apocalypse CD/LP/Track Review Apocalypse
by Julian Derry
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read "Canto América" CD/LP/Track Review Canto América
by James Nadal
Published: March 7, 2016
Read "Porgy and Bess Live" CD/LP/Track Review Porgy and Bess Live
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 8, 2016
Read "Post Cool: Vol 1 The Night Shift" CD/LP/Track Review Post Cool: Vol 1 The Night Shift
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: February 15, 2017
Read "Slight Freedom" CD/LP/Track Review Slight Freedom
by Dave Wayne
Published: December 10, 2016
Read "Joy Comes Back" CD/LP/Track Review Joy Comes Back
by James Nadal
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "Kirkastus" CD/LP/Track Review Kirkastus
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: February 28, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

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!