Andrew Rathbun – The Speed Of Time

Steeplechase records – Street Date September 15th 2023
Andrew Rathbun

Andrew is described by The New York Times as follows: “Industrious saxophonist and imaginative composer-arranger”. Elected as a “Rising Star” in the DownBeat critics’ polls in 2018 and 2022, his new album, “The Speed of Time,” follows this trend. It features a nice urban groove on compositions that may not necessarily be easy to access but are truly exciting, allowing him to make use of all the available sounds on his tenor saxophone. Reflecting on his latest recording, Rathbun stated, “I have always been fascinated by how my perception of time can change, sometimes crawling at the speed of a snail, while other times, it rushes forward with abandon.
Although the complexity of the compositions might surprise newcomers, Andrew Rathbun maintains a central melodic line that allows navigation between the tracks and their appreciation. At times, the silences provide a breath, like a moment of grace, and the saxophone parts sometimes act like a breath. Upon reflection, this saxophonist brings me the same joy as when I, as an adolescent, discovered the universe of Sonny Rollins. Indeed, we are in that kind of saxophonist, quite radical, uncompromising, on compositions of a very high level.
In “The Speed Of Time,” we find some of the feelings we had during the pandemic—moments of contemplation and reflection that ultimately led us to intense self-work and creation. This album is made in that way, between reflection and exaltation. In this sense, the architecture of Andrew Rathbun’s compositions is intellectual, leaving room for a poetic form, one that challenges us. It’s noticeable that Andrew disregards radio formats; the tracks are quite long because he develops a narrative form on each of them, immersing us in a setting. Strangely, his music is equally enjoyable to listen to on CD as it is live on stage. Often, albums of this kind are better appreciated live, but here, you’ll find pleasure in both forms.
The New Yorker wrote in its columns, “A cunning saxophonist and composer whose ambitious work over the past decade has escaped the broader recognition it deserves.” I had written almost the same thing before reading this article, for which the editorial teams of Bayou Blue Radio and Paris-Move have nothing but admiration for this album, which is one of our ‘Essentials’.

Thierry De Clemensat
USA correspondent – Paris-Move
Editor in chief Bayou Blue Radio, Bayou Blue News

PARIS-MOVE, August 30th 2023


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