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Atwood Suites::::Critical Roundup

Here are some selected Press Quotes that have come in since the release of Atwood Suites:

Toronto’s Andrew Rathbun is not only a fine saxophonist, but a notable arranger-composer whose picturesque works sometimes recall Maria Schneider’s. His two-CD set Atwood Suites (Origin) spotlights his 17-piece ensemble performing four of his extended works… On the basis of this CD alone, Rathbun deserves to be ranked among today’s top arranger- composers. – Scott Yanow, JAZZIZ

“By honoring Margaret Atwood’s poetry and playing to his own musical visions, Rathbun has created music that’s elevated by its intelligence and vibrancy.”– Dan Bilawsky, AllAboutJazz

“As impressive as the solos are though, it is the ensemble’s ability to maintain a light touch throughout that really makes this special. The players never once resort to a jazz orchestra cliché. That gives the whole thing room to breathe. And Atwood’s powerful writing – sung with real flare by Luciana Souza and Aubrey Johnson – stands tall and strong . . . a fitting tribute to a Canadian giant.”– Kevin Press, BaddPress Blog

“One of the finest jazz albums we’ve heard in years. Atwood Suites contains original compositions inspired by the poetry of Margaret Atwood arranged in a large ensemble . . .”– Canadian Music Blog

“Andrew Rathbun has a clear and unified vision of key poems and has set them in a musical trajectory on these Atwood Suitesthat grabs you by the scruff of the neck and compels you to follow their relentless path from the opening bars of ‘Two Islands’ onwards. Moreover, in choosing Luciana Souza to voice the lyrics, he has also executed the music with a master-stroke that has a rippling effect throughout the recording . . . the effect of Mr Rathbun’s music on the poetry of Miss Atwood is simply breathtaking. Even in the most challenging passages the ensemble is well-nigh perfect with not a glissandoor an arpeggioout of joint, and the reeds and brass’ articulation in some of Mr Rathbun’s characteristically elaborate writing is tremendously vibrant. Overall, this performance is so devastatingly powerful that one needs a break soon after listening to it, in order to proceed forward to listening to anything else.”– Raul Da Gama, Jazz Da Gama

“Rathbun extracts the most from the cast to fulfill the arrangements. Even giving his tenor a rest, his individual stamp is noticeable through a compositional taste that portents many thrilling successes to come.”– Filipe Freitas, JazzTrail.net

“Modern, rich and accessible. A mix of music and poetry by Margaret Atwood make for a delightful and ambitious listen . . . an impressionistic delight.”– George Harris, JazzWeekly.com

“The music builds with multiple horns, subsiding for Souza’s lovely rendering of Atwood images. Then trombones and other deep horns tell new stories, alternating melody and layered polyphony, before the flügelhorn assumes the central role. A delightful cacophony  . . .”– Paul Weideman, Sante Fe New Mexican

Atwood Suites” is serious music yet such a joy to sit and listen . . . he’s made music that will stick to your mind even as it takes you out of the everyday.”– Richard Kamins, Step Tempest

“The challenges of writing for a big band have been met with a great sense of grounding and flourish. Not only does the music sweep and soar in many passages, but the inclusion of top soloists like trumpet player Tim Hagans, guitarist Nate Radley and drummer Bill Stewart guarantees that the feeling of jazz is never glossed over.”– Jeffrey Siegel, Straight No Chaser

Character Study CD Release Event at Cornelia Street Cafe

Hope you will come join us for the CD release event for Character Study.

It’s a bittersweet weekend, as Cornelia Street Cafe is closing in the New Year. I’ve loved working here and listening here and eating here for many many years. I am really sad to see it fall prey to the unfortunate “disappearing New York” trend.