325

Andrew Rathbun: Shadow Forms

Budd Kopman By

Sign in to view read count
Andrew Rathbun: Shadow Forms 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.

Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: SteepleChase Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 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 Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "In Movement" CD/LP/Track Review In Movement
by Karl Ackermann
Published: May 4, 2016
Read "Garden" CD/LP/Track Review Garden
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 21, 2016
Read "Live At Umbria Jazz" CD/LP/Track Review Live At Umbria Jazz
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: June 10, 2016
Read "Alive Out There" CD/LP/Track Review Alive Out There
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 2, 2016
Read "New World" CD/LP/Track Review New World
by Roger Farbey
Published: March 9, 2016
Read "Protean Reality" CD/LP/Track Review Protean Reality
by Karl Ackermann
Published: September 24, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

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!