Poetry has played a significant part in the oeuvre of Andrew Rathbun, and this recording is no exception. In his past work, the poetry has on more than one occasion been a spoken accompaniment to the music (& vice-versa).
Here (as is often the case on planet Earth these days) the poetry can be found in the cracks: in nearly all of Billy Hart’s embellishments, especially the stunning, stark, and utterly definitive last tones of the evocative “Son Suite”; in George Colligan’s exquisite touch on the opening notes of “A Stern” which truly set the song afloat, in Johannes Weidenmuller’s intense, determined solo on “Wheel”; in the Icarus-like moments during Nate Radley’s flight on “Film Under Glass”; in Andrew Rathbun’s haunting saxophone-choir of-himself during the last movement of the “Son Suite.” Moments like these are plentiful on this recording. Perhaps most importantly though, these musicians have been given superbly crafted frameworks within which to find these moments. Certainly this would not be possible without the deft touch of a skilled composer shaping and guiding the music in the least intrusive manner possible. It is here that we find the voice of Andrew Rathbun in this reading of where we are now.
Andrew’s last recording, “Affairs of State,” wordlessly wrestled with the increasingly complex issues facing the United States and the world today. “Where We Are Now” is a testament to exactly that: a perspective on where we stand a few years later, on the cusp of one of the most important decisions to ever be made by the American public, which will surely have far-reaching consequences no matter which way it ends up. This situation, as we all know, is unsettled; it’s tenuous at best, and has been for some time now. The public is anxious and people have many questions about the future. The music herein reflects this with an ever- present probing nature, and a firm resolution to remain unresolved. The essence of a true artist comes from a desire to bring conflicting ideas together in order to show that there is no separation between them: all is one. It is he who can see the beauty in an ugly situation, who feels hope even when there is no light, who can see the flow of poetry everywhere, even in something as rigidly mechanized as American politics.
Brooklyn, NY 2008
Andrew Rathbun – saxophones
Nate Radley – guitar
George Colligan – piano
Johannes Weidenmuller – bass
Billy Hart – drums