by Mark Corroto
Excerpt: It is quite insouciant to categorize jazz musicians as either composers or players. But jazz devotees sometimes typecast artists as writers or interpreters of music. With a mature talent such as composer/saxophonist Andrew Rathbun, categorizing him in one camp or the other is unwarranted.
With Where We Are Now, his tenth disc as leader, he displays his growing maturity as a player and more of his acclaimed talents as composer/arranger.
Like his last few discs, he sets aside his taste for poetry and vocalists to center the session on the music. That’s not to say his writing isn’t chock-full of versification. His “Son Suite” in four parts, written (of course) for his child, is a cohesive 26-minutes of music, showcasing both the writing and soloing. The mysterious opening gives way to a joyous music, Rathbun switching between the soprano and tenor saxophones to alter the mood. By the fourth section, bassist Johannes Weidenmuller’s bowing is followed by a mallet solo from master percussionist Billy Hart’s that reads like a fine verse.