All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

155

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

Budd Kopman By

Sign in to view read count
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.

Title: Renderings: The Art of the Duo | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Fresh Sound New Talent

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Atwood Suites

Atwood Suites

Origin Records
2018

buy
Numbers & Letters

Numbers & Letters

SteepleChase Records
2014

buy
The Idea of North

The Idea of North

SteepleChase Records
2011

buy
Where Are We Now

Where Are We Now

SteepleChase Records
2009

buy
Shadow Forms

Shadow Forms

SteepleChase Records
2007

buy
Affairs of State

Affairs of State

SteepleChase Records
2007

buy

Related Articles

Read Bright Force CD/LP/Track Review
Bright Force
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 19, 2018
Read Making Other Arrangements CD/LP/Track Review
Making Other Arrangements
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 19, 2018
Read Music in Motian CD/LP/Track Review
Music in Motian
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: April 19, 2018
Read Descansado - Songs For Films CD/LP/Track Review
Descansado - Songs For Films
by John Ephland
Published: April 19, 2018
Read Simbiose CD/LP/Track Review
Simbiose
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 18, 2018
Read For Lew CD/LP/Track Review
For Lew
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 18, 2018
Read "Mandala" CD/LP/Track Review Mandala
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 28, 2017
Read "Simiskina" CD/LP/Track Review Simiskina
by John Sharpe
Published: December 26, 2017
Read "Ten Billion Versions of Reality" CD/LP/Track Review Ten Billion Versions of Reality
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 30, 2017
Read "Celebrating William Parker at 65" CD/LP/Track Review Celebrating William Parker at 65
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: December 14, 2017
Read "Towards Language" CD/LP/Track Review Towards Language
by John Eyles
Published: June 23, 2017
Read "The Colours Suite" CD/LP/Track Review The Colours Suite
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 29, 2017