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The Idea of North

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Album Review

Andrew Rathbun's CD The Idea of North was inspired by the late classical pianist Glenn Gould's radio documentary of the same name, though the latter debuted back in 1967 (after Gould had retired from public performing). Rathbun, a fellow Canadian, used the diversity of his homeland's geography and climate, plus the solitude of much of the landscape, as stimulus for his compositions. The saxophonist penned six sketches to give his musical interpretation of Canada. "Harsh" unfolds into the avant-garde, with his hard-blowing tenor sax interacting with the tense rhythm section. As Rathbun switches to soprano sax for the tantalizing post-bop "December," one can feel the sense of isolation and loneliness during a winter journey far from civilization. The interplay of trumpeter Taylor Haskins and pianist Frank Carlberg is a highlight of Rathbun's demanding "Rockies." Rathbun also incorporates music by others, with a haunting treatment of Wayne Shorter's ballad "Teru" (playing tenor) and a majestic setting of 18th century German composer Christoph Gluck's Minuet and Dance of the Blessed Spirits, where he again switches to soprano. Andrew Rathbun's The Idea of North needs no film footage to convey the wonders of Canada.


Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Jazz saxophonist Andrew Rathbun was born and raised in Toronto, in 1991 earning a Canada Council for the Arts grant to study in Boston, where he attended the New England Conservatory under the tutelege of Jimmy Guiffre and George Russell. Playing and recording with artists including Jeff Hirshfield, Kenny Wheeler, John Abercrombie and Ingrid Jensen, from 1994 to 1997 Rathbun also taught at the University of Maine before moving on to the Amadeus Conservatory in Westchester, NY; his solo debut Scatter...
Full Bio
The Idea of North, Andrew Rathbun
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  • $10.32
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: May 10, 2010

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