From the sonorous reeds and the lacerating horns, smoothed over by the voices and the rippling grooves of the piano, the effect of Mr Rathbun's music on the poetry of Miss Atwood is simply breathtaking.
An ambitious, multi-faceted composer, saxophonist and bandleader, Andrew Rathbun had used poetry as an inspirational catalyst for several recordings over the last 20 years. Particularly enamored by the works of famed novelist Margaret Atwood, Rathbun composed three suites for large ensemble featuring her poems and the unique voices of trumpeter Tim Hagans, drummer Bill Stewart and vocalists Luciana Souza and Aubrey Johnson, who vividly capture the imagery and emotions of Atwood's poetry. Rathbun's rich, multi-textured compositions and his use of the large ensemble as his musical voice was largely influenced by collaborations with the late, and legendary, trumpeter/composer Kenny Wheeler in the early 2000s. Wheeler's supple, dark tones floating over the group and Luciano Souza's voice bringing to life Atwood's poetry inspired Rathbun to more deeply explore these concepts.
1. Two Islands I 12:31
2. Two Islands II 5:50
3. Two Islands III 9:57
4. Power Politics I 6:30
5. Power Politics II 13:38
6. Power Politics III 9:41
1. Fractured 10:14
2. V 6:12
3. I 7:43
4. II 11:31
COMPOSED & ARRANGED BY ANDREW RATHBUN
POETRY BY MARGARET ATWOOD
Andrew Rathbun - composer, director
John O'Gallagher - Soprano, Alto Saxophones
Ben Kono - Alto Saxophone, Flute, Clarinet
Quinsin Nachoff - Tenor Saxophone, Clarinet
Dan Pratt - Tenor Saxophone, Flute, Clarinet
Carl Maraghi - Baritone Saxophone, Bass Clarinet
Seneca Black - Trumpet
Matt Holman - Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Dave Smith - Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Russ Johnson - Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Tim Hagans - Flugelhorn (1-6, soloist)
Alan Ferber - Trombone
Mike Fahie- Trombone
JC Sanford - Trombone
Chris Olness - Bass Trombone
Luciana Souza - Voice (Disc 1)
Aubrey Johnson - Voice (Disc 2)
Nate Radley - Guitar
Jeremy Siskind - Piano, Rhodes
David Ambrosio - Bass
Bill Stewart - Drums
Owen Howard - Drums (1,2 Disc 2)
Produced by George Schuller and Andrew Rathbun
Recorded by Michael Marciano, Systems II Recording, Brooklyn, NY
Mixed and Mastered by Michael Marciano, Aug./Sept./Nov. 2017
Additional editing by Garrett Gagnon Aug. 2017
Photos by David Korchin, photos of Andrew Rathbun, Daniel Gladstone
Cover design and layout by John Bishop
Step Tempest (Richard B. Kamins)
Canadian-born poet, essayist, and novelist Margaret Atwood (born Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) 1939) is currently enjoying renewed popularity these days thanks to HULU's production of "The Handmaid's Tale" and NETFLIX's production of "Alias Grace." Her depictions of dystopian societies hits home in this time of Boko Haram and ISIS. Before her novels be ...
The Jazz Trail (Felipe Freitas)
The new album from Canadian saxophonist Andrew Rathbun comprises three suites. The 2-CD set Atwood Suites, co-produced by Rathbun and drummer George Schuller, features a contagious 18-piece jazz orchestra of respectful instrumentalists and renowned soloists, including saxophonists Quintin Nachoff and John O'Gallagher, trumpeters Tim Hagans (as a fe ...
JazzdaGama (Raul da Gama)
There have been a few recordings of poetry and music over the years. However, there are none featuring the poetry of Margaret Atwood and certainly none that capture its angst-ridden power also encapsulating its imagery in the overarching passion of a musical argument. Andrew Rathbun has a clear and unified vision of key poems and has set them in a ...
Pasatiempo (The New Mexican, Santa Fe) (Paul Weideman)
Soprano and baritone saxophones open "Two Islands I" in a sprightly mien, like an awakening. Luciana Souza sings lines from a Margaret Atwood poem: "I could say it without looking, the animals; the blackened trees, the arrivals; the bodies, words, it goes and goes; I could recite it backwards." Tim Hagans begins a lovely solo on flügelhorn, kineti ...
Jazz Weekly (George W. Harris)
This two-disc set has George Schuller and Andrew Rathbun producing a rich collection of the leader's material, which is modern, rich and accessible. A mix of music and poetry by Margaret Atwood make for a delightful and ambitious listen. There is a 3-Part "Two Islands," Souza's lovely voice over the pulsating reeds, while Tim Hagans sighs on "Tw ...
Badd Press (Kevin Press)
Canadian author Margaret Atwood is arguably more relevant, and her work more consequential, than ever. And that's saying something for a world-famous writer with a long shelf of celebrated publications. The Hulu television treatment of her insightful The Handmaid's Tale has helped win her a new generation of readers. It is a deeply unsettling th ...
All About Jazz (Dan Bilawsky)
4-STARS The marriage between jazz and poetry is having a true moment in the present artistic sphere. The two have long mixed and mingled, oft proving sympathetic and symbiotic in their multidirectional moves, unique cadences, and improvisational capacities. But never before has the connection been so strong and centralized. With drummer Matt Wilso ...