All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

325

Andrew Rathbun: Shadow Forms

Budd Kopman By

Sign in to view read count
For some reason, I never associated Andrew Rathbun with the Canadian scene, especially as embodied in the ever-expanding circle of David Braid and Mike Murley. There is something in his playing and compositions, just like Kenny Wheeler, that I cannot place—and which renders him distinct from the others.

In any case, Shadow Forms is a wonderful album and, in typical Rathbun fashion, it could not be more different from his previous release, Renderings: The Art Of The Duo. In that effort with George Colligan, the duo explored its classical side in music of such extreme delicacy it practically floated. This release has more blowing, especially on the tunes shared with George Garzone, a famed teacher and presence in Boston (see The Fringe: Live at Zeitgeist for a powerhouse example of his freedom and inventiveness).

Besides Garzone, who joins in on five tracks to make a quartet, Rathbun's main trio partners are bassist Scott Lee, who also contributed five compositions, and drummer Jeff Hirshfield. Both Lee and Hirshfield are in-demand sidemen who have played on many recordings. However, it is their long association with alto/soprano saxophonist Loren Stillman (How Sweet It Is, Gin Bon and It Could Be Anything) that piqued my interest, especially when there were so many places in Shadow Forms in which echoes of Stillman's records could be heard.

Rathbun relates in the notes that the album's title is meant to denote the compositional methodology in relation to form, calling it "open moments within a codified form." This allows the players great freedom, but with a concomitant requirement of close attention and concentration to make music which needs close listening. Surely, Garzone is at ease playing with loosely coupled but attentive groups, and both Lee and Hirshfield breathe this attitude as a team. Stillman works this way, and Lee contributions to his recordings fit right in.

Rathbun's clarinet and soprano sax sounds are both extremely pure, as exemplified by "Drewsie" and "Herbie At Sixty" respectively, which, perhaps coincidentally, are Lee compositions, as is "To The Matt," the other soprano tune. The tenor sound is wide-ranging, swinging from the driving counterpunching of Joe Lovano's "Street Talk," taken at a fast clip, to the tenderness and pathos of "This Fall 9/11." Nevertheless, underlying all of Rathbun's playing and compositions is a sensitivity and intelligence that is audible even at times of seeming abandon.

Rathbun's next album will most likely not sound anything like Shadow Forms, which makes his journey all the more interesting to follow. The restless intelligence that informs this fine record only whets the appetite for the next.

Track Listing: Street Talk:To the Matt; Scatter Scott; Drewsie; Pass It In; Herbie at Sixty; Ripple; This Fall 9/11; Elmo; Look Again; Fifteen Minute Drill; Onmo.

Personnel: Andrew Rathbun: tenor and soprano saxophone, clarinet, keyboards; George Garzone: tenor saxophone; Scott Lee: bass; Jeff Hirshfield: drums.

Title: Shadow Forms | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: SteepleChase Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

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 Always Forward CD/LP/Track Review
Always Forward
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 15, 2018
Read The Music of Richard Whiting CD/LP/Track Review
The Music of Richard Whiting
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 15, 2018
Read Barefoot Dances and Other Visions CD/LP/Track Review
Barefoot Dances and Other Visions
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 15, 2018
Read Twinscapes Vol. 2: A Modern Approach To The Dancefloor CD/LP/Track Review
Twinscapes Vol. 2: A Modern Approach To The Dancefloor
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 15, 2018
Read Talking with Charlie - An Imaginary Talk with Charlie Parker CD/LP/Track Review
Talking with Charlie - An Imaginary Talk with Charlie Parker
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 15, 2018
Read The Gene Krupa Quartet: Live 1966! CD/LP/Track Review
The Gene Krupa Quartet: Live 1966!
by Richard J Salvucci
Published: November 15, 2018
Read "20" CD/LP/Track Review 20
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 30, 2018
Read "Terrestrial" CD/LP/Track Review Terrestrial
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 17, 2018
Read "8 Songs" CD/LP/Track Review 8 Songs
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 25, 2018
Read "Unreleased Art Pepper Vol. 10: Toronto" CD/LP/Track Review Unreleased Art Pepper Vol. 10: Toronto
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: November 9, 2018
Read "For Gyumri" CD/LP/Track Review For Gyumri
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: February 19, 2018
Read "After The Fall" CD/LP/Track Review After The Fall
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 13, 2018