Andrew Rathbun

True Stories

Fresh Sound New Talent

Andrew Rathbun (reeds), Luciana Souza (vcl), Taylor Haskins (tp), George Colligan (p, Fender Rhodes), John Herbert (b), Jeff Hirsfield (d)

Reference: FSNT-099

Bar code: 84 27328 42099 0

1. Vignette I (Andrew Rathbun)
2. True Stories (Margaret Atwood)
3. Vignette II (Andrew Rathbun)
4. Another Aspect (Andrew Rathbun)
5. Blue Jays (Margaret Atwood)
6. Cards (Andrew Rathbun)
7. Majority (Andrew Rathbun)
8. She Who Chose (Andrew Rathbun)
9. Vignette III (Andrew Rathbun)

Album details

Recorded in New York City, August 2000

Executive producer: Jordi Pujol

Press reviews

"Jazz defies structure, poetry can harness it. Putting the two together requires an adept mind, an articulate skill and the vision to encapsulate the body of one within the free form of the other. When Andrew Rathbun takes on the poetry of Margaret Atwood, he gives it a new, and deserving, testament.

Rathbun studied the work of the celebrated Canadian writer in school. Here he uses two of her lesser-known works, "True Stories" and "Bluejays", bringing in Luciana Souza to give voice to the words. She articulates with distinct feeling, dipping into the nuances of the poems and bringing the words to life. While she is generally a straight-ahead singer she does delve, all too briefly, into scatting an intro.

Rathbun's compositions are multi-dimensional. He uses style easily, moving from hard bop tones to freer time signatures, the gamut defined by the cohesive playing of the quintet.

In the musical dye of his compositions, the three part "True Stories" takes the narrative from an open-ended freedom into bright flowing piano excursions that set the flow for the hard bop permutations of the tenor sax. The third segment has the trumpet add a warm glow, a perfect foil for the harder groove the tenor sax dips into. When the structure gets looser as it does on "She Who Chose", where Haskins and Colligan tread paths that twist and intersect, Rathbun comes in to peg the lines with a melodic stamp before it is taken out again and goes into free-for-all abstraction. At the end, it all comes together quite nicely indeed!"

- Jerry D'Souza, All About Jazz



"On True Stories, saxophonist Andrew Rathbun sets poetry to music, specifically two poems by Margaret Atwood: True Stories and Bluejays. Vocalist Luciana Souza comes on board to sing Rathbun's angular, challenging melodies, attempting to give Atwood's opaque verse the natural quality of song.

"True Stories" is divided into three parts, one for each stanza of poetry, whereas "Blue Jays" is one self-contained piece. That's not all, however; the program also consists of seven strong instrumental tracks, including three brief vignettes that appear at various intervals. Rathbun, playing tenor and soprano, is joined by Taylor Haskins on trumpet, George Colligan on piano and Fender Rhodes (mostly Rhodes), John Hebert on bass, and Jeff Hirshfield on drums.

Despite its complexity and rhythmic drive, the music has a subdued quality, a kind of cool yet impassioned fire. Highlights include the hip, serpentine funk of "Another Aspect," the ethereal intensity of "Cards," and the propulsive, loosely flowing 7/8 of "She Who Chose (The Lies That Daylight Told Us)."

Jazz treatments of poetry aren't terribly common, although Rathbun's colleagues, Luciana Souza and Frank Carlberg, have done relevant work in the field. The poetry-based compositions on True Stories contain moments that are forced and others that are magical, although a listener's assessment may well be different every time. A great poem has many layers of meaning, and Rathbun's musical evocations add even further depth to the interpretive puzzle.

David R. Adler, All Music Guide


"While growing up in Canada, Andrew Rathbun came to know the work of Canadian poet, novelist, and essayist Margret Atwood. Recently, he became reaquainted with her work, and was inspired to put music to a couple of her lesser-known poems, "True Stories" and "Bluejays". The result is a very enjoyable melding of jazz with poetry. Vocalist Luciana Souza brings Atwood's words alive, and Rathbun's playing on various reeds, along with piano, bass, and drums, provides a soli and very listenable groove".

- Kenneth Strong, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


"True Stories is unusual in its solo work and performances. This is the latest solo project by Andrew Rathbun. He composes the music, set to the lyrics of Margret Atwood. The lovely, clear voice of Luciana Souza accompanies some selections. The band is topnotch with the very talented stylings of jazz pianist George Colligan, Taylor Haskins on trumpet, John Herbert on bass and Jeff Hirshfield on drums. Always in the groove of contemporary jazz blessed with imaginative infusion fron straight-ahead & classic, and a touch of avant-garde, this collection will capture any jazz listener's attention".

- Lee Prosser, Jazz Review


"Andrew Rahbun's a young saxophonist with Maine connections whose latest disc, True Stories, frames the sung poetry of fellow Canadian Margret Atwood with some very exciting post-bop jazz":

- Face Magazine, June 2001


10,95 €  (tax incl.)

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