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Recent Reviews: Affairs of State

Recent Reviews: Affairs of State

A few notices about the new CD: Downbeat “With impressive tone and phrasing, Rathbun knows his way around the horn, as he shapes personable and expressive solos.” Coda Rathbun’s attractive sound and smart writing are ever present on nine originals composed for his own personal state of the union musical message. Lots to enjoy here, including sinuous interplay, the clever unraveling of the leader’s complex notions, harmonic prowess, attractive melodies and sophisticated outlook that slips and slides to exhilarating, yet never overstated effect.” Globe and Mail Who says political music has to have lyrics? For his eighth album, tenor saxophonist Andrew Rathbun – a Toronto native settled in Brooklyn – looks at life under George W. Bush, and comes away bemused, appalled, angry and upset. This isn’t protest music in the sixties ’60s vein, all shrieking horns and improvisational chaos; instead, Rathbun and his quintet rely on wit and understatement to make their points. Like fellow saxophonist Mark Turner, Rathbun combines a cool, dry tone with a fondness for melodic-yet-cerebral improvisation, and has a perfect foil in trumpeter Taylor Haskins, whose playing manages to be both warmly expressive and nimbly aggressive. In all, an engaging, thought-provoking album. All About Jazz Andrew Rathbun is a Canadian-born tenor saxophonist resident in New York, a Brooklyn regular who has garnered support from fellow tenorists Joe Lovano and Dave Liebman as well as trumpeter Kenny Wheeler. That should give some sense of Rathbun’s lineage. He’s a thoughtful player and—true to the influence of Wheeler (and Booker Little) and the mid-’60s Miles Davis quintet—a skillful composer, honing a refined lyricism that explores challenging harmonic... read more
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
jazzblog.ca review: Affairs of State

jazzblog.ca 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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