Recent Updates

Jazz Trail Review

New review of Character Study from Filipe Freitas and the fine folks at JazzTrail!

Click on the image to read the review:

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,

“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,

“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.

NEW RECORDING – Character Study

My latest project is released today, Character Study. The inspiration for this new book of compositions is a reflection on the idea of “character” of both public and personal figures. And yes there is something for Trump….

Andrew Rathbun Large Ensemble – Atwood Suites

It’s always been a long-term dream of mine to release a jazz orchestra record. And its almost here! My new recording, Atwood Suites, will be released on April 20th. Check out the video above. The record features settings of author Margaret Atwood’s poetry, with guests Tim Hagans, Bill Stewart, and vocalist Luciana Souza. 

ARLE Project Update

Some photos from the soon to be released Andrew Rathbun Large Ensemble release. Been busy mixing and editing with Michael Marciano at Systems II over the summer. Almost there!Board Music Conduct Carl Tim

Colombia Tour

Jeremy Siskind and I went to Colombia last week for concerts in Bogata and Medellin, with a final gig at “Matik Matik” in Bogata. We played a program of adapted preludes by Debussy that we are performing at the Gilmore International Piano Festival in May.

Med. Concert

Andrew Rathbun Large Ensemble Sunday January 17th


Please join this dynamic ensemble as we prepare to record our debut following this rare performance. Featuring trumpet soloist Tim Hagans and guest drummer Bill Stewart.

Sunday Jan 17th, 8:15 pm Shapeshifter Lab.

18 Whitwell Pl, Brooklyn, NY 11215
(646) 820-9452


New Book of Compositions

A new book of 20 of my toons has just been released by SteepleChase. Contact me if you would like a copy.


Metrics: WMU Jazz & Dance Collaboration

Metrics PosterWednesday February 11 – 7:30 pm

Dalton Wed@7:30: Live and Interactive!

METRICS – WMU Jazz & Dance Collaboration

Featuring the Advanced Jazz Ensemble, directed by Andrew Rathbun, and choreography by Prof. Kirsten Harvey

Dalton Center Recital Hall

Tickets $12 (Seniors $10, Students $5) available from Miller Auditorium at (269) 387-2300 or (800) 228-9858 & at the door (free for WMU Music students with BPI pass)

Andrew on Kenny Wheeler

Andrew Rathbun explains why he’s paying tribute to Kenny Wheeler in New York (Ottowa Citizen)

Excerpt: What is your personal connection to Kenny and his music?

AR: Like many musicians, I met Kenny at the Banff Centre for the Arts. He was one of the main reasons I wanted to go there. Someone had given me a copy of Gnu High, and it was such a revelation. The compositions, the sound that Ken achieves, the fact that his improvisational language is totally his own, had a major impact on me. So going to Banff and hearing that sound in person, was totally incredible. Standing beside him and playing a unison line made you feel like your sound was engulfed by his. People have said that when he solos with a large ensemble, it sounds like the entire big band is coming out of his horn.

Read the full article here

Kenny Wheeler Memorial Concert: Andrew Rathbun Speaks

Excerpt: As a Canadian-born jazz musician, can you speak a bit about how Kenny Wheeler was regarded on the Canadian jazz scene?

AR: He was a titan. Everyone was super aware of him and really revered and respected him. He’d come to Toronto every year and do a week at one of the clubs like the Montreal Bistro with Toronto guys like Don Thompson, and he knew those guys really well from Banff [Jazz Workshop].

I think that Banff is the biggest connection that people have to Ken. Through Banff he’d just give his music away, and people would take his tunes and play them at sessions. People were playing his music a lot and it became a word of mouth thing because he was the most self-effacing, humble guy; he was humble almost to a fault. He never did anything to promote himself, so whatever fell into his lap was what happened.

Read the full article here

Memorial Concert for Kenny Wheeler

Wheeler Poster

Performing some of Ken’s iconic large ensemble works, including the Sweet Time Suite from Music for Large and Small Ensembles. Featuring soloist Tim Hagans.

NEW YORK, NY 10001
(646) 494-3625