I'll leave it to bandleader/saxophonist/composer Rathburn to describe his concept with this recording: "A setting of Margaret Atwood's poetry for jazz orchestra, sung by Luciana Souza, with special guests Bill Stewart (drummer) and Tim Hagans (trumpet)."
The 10 tracks over two albums are broken into the two three-part suites (Two Islands I, II, III and Power Politics I, II, III) and four other pieces and the playing is gorgeously understated — particularly Hagan's fluid work in Two Island I and pianist Gary Versace (I think) in Power Politics II.
The whole session stresses the orchestral over the swinging aspects of larger jazz ensemble configurations. As to the words, it Atwood has a really easy poetic flow which conjures up strong images which Souza interprets gorgeously.
I admit I would have loved to hear Atwood herself try to fit her words to this great music just because. Fave piece is actually the second disc's opener, Fractured.