AAJ review: The Idea of North

AAJ review: The Idea of North

by Ian Patterson ★★★★ Excerpt: 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 musical voice and an exploration of the theme of solitude, a state which he needed creatively and craved personally. In his own way, New York-based Rathbun’s six compositions explore the vast expanses of his native Canada, translating the extremes of geography, climate, and the idea of solitude into musical narratives of contrasting mood. Full review @ All About...
New Release: The Idea of North

New Release: The Idea of North

Andrew Rathbun’s CD The Idea of North was inspired by the late classical pianist Glenn Gould’s radio documentary of the same name, though the latter debuted back in 1967 (after Gould had retired from public performing). Rathbun, a fellow Canadian, used the diversity of his homeland’s geography and climate, plus the solitude of much of the landscape, as stimulus for his compositions. The saxophonist penned six sketches to give his musical interpretation of Canada. “Harsh” unfolds into the avant-garde, with his hard-blowing tenor sax interacting with the tense rhythm section. As Rathbun switches to soprano sax for the tantalizing post-bop “December,” one can feel the sense of isolation and loneliness during a winter journey far from civilization. The interplay of trumpeter Taylor Haskins and pianist Frank Carlberg is a highlight of Rathbun’s demanding “Rockies.” Rathbun also incorporates music by others, with a haunting treatment of Wayne Shorter’s ballad “Teru” (playing tenor) and a majestic setting of 18th century German composer Christoph Gluck’s Minuet and Dance of the Blessed Spirits, where he again switches to soprano. Andrew Rathbun’s The Idea of North needs no film footage to convey the wonders of Canada. – Ken Dryden, ALL MUSIC GUIDE Andrew Rathbun – saxophones Taylor Haskins – trumpet Nate Radley – guitar Frank Carlberg – piano Jay Anderson – bass Michael Sarin –...
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