Affairs of State review: JazzTimes

Affairs of State review: JazzTimes

by David Adler Excerpt: Fiction could not create more colorful, ridiculous characters,” writes Andrew Rathbun in the liner notes to Affairs of State. He’s speaking of the Bush administration. A native of Canada based in Brooklyn, Rathbun is upset, like many, by political realities in the U.S. Since instrumental jazz, not fiction, is his expressive medium, he offers nine new compositions that speak to life under Bush, with such titles as “Fiasco,” “Break the Chains” and “We Have Nothing But Tears.” No major-key strolls in the park here. No heavy-handed rants, either. The program succeeds above all on musical grounds. Rathbun is an advanced tenor/soprano sax improviser whose previous efforts, including his 2002 Kenny Wheeler collaboration Sculptures, are well worth acquiring. Read entire review @... read more
Affairs of State review: All Music Guide

Affairs of State review: All Music Guide

by Ken Dryden Andrew Rathbun’s Affairs of State is a collection of compositions that the tenor saxophonist considers as his musical impressions of the failures of President George W. Bush’s administration. Joined by trumpeter Taylor Haskins, pianist Gary Versace, bassist John Hebert, and drummer Mike Sarin, Rathbun’s demanding post-bop pieces are full of tension, though his liner notes do little to help understand them, coming off as more of an angry diatribe. That’s not to say that his music rambles like a typical Bush press conference. “We Have Nothing But Tears” is a haunting melody, as is the elegant, sorrowful “5th Anniversary” (written on the fifth anniversary of September 11, 2001). Rathbun and Haskins enrich one another’s playing in the richly textured “Paint Peelings,” while “Break the Chains” is a driving number, with the band progressing through all 12 keys in eight bars. This is compelling music, regardless of whether or not a listener buys into Andrew Rathbun’s political views. Source: All Music... read more review: Affairs of State review: Affairs of State

by Peter Hum Excerpt: Rathbun’s CD is called Affairs of State, and his liner notes are explicit: The disc’s nine originals are “abstractions” based on Rathbun’s last six years living in the United States, during which he clearly came to disagree sharply with the people running the country. The songs range from Fiasco, inspired by the Iraq war, which Rathbun calls “the greatest failure in the history of U.S. foreign policy,” to 5th Anniversary, a slow, rumbling, plaintive song written five years to the day after Sept. 11, 2001, to a splashy waltz, Folly (of the Future Fallen), about which Rathbun writes: “History is not going to be kind to this bunch. These elected and selected folk will be remembered as misguided and wrong-headed.” Full review @ Ottawa... read more
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Andrew's latest release features Phil Markowitz (piano), Jay Anderson (bass), and Bill Stewart (drums) performing a set of 11 original compositions.

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