Toronto native Andrew Rathbun is widely esteemed as one of the most creative and accomplished saxophonists, composers and bandleaders of his generation. On tenor and soprano saxophones he has achieved a rare depth of lyricism, authoritative swing and compositional intelligence. Recording steadily as a leader since the late 1990s, he has documented his stirring original music with an array of extraordinary lineups, featuring the talents of such greats as Kenny Wheeler, Billy Hart, George Garzone, Phil Markowitz and Bill Stewart. “Rathbun’s lines dance and glide,” writes David Whiteis of JazzTimes, “reflecting both childlike wonder and well-honed artistry.”
Rooted in the fiery improvisatory legacy of post-bop jazz, Rathbun’s music is also deeply informed by classical composition. His works include song cycles, suites, and chamber and orchestral pieces for a wide range of ensembles. His 2005 duo release with pianist George Colligan, Renderings, features adaptations of Maurice Ravel and Federico Mompou, as well as an original seven-movement “Suite for Soprano Saxophone and Piano” inspired by the great Wayne Shorter. His 2010 release The Idea of North, inspired by the radio documentaries of Glenn Gould, includes a sextet arrangement of Christoph Glück’s “Minuet and Dance of the Blessed Spirits.” Rathbun has also written big band commissions for the Danish Radio Jazz Orchestra, the Brussels Jazz Orchestra, the Metropole Orkest and other ensembles, and performed and composed commercial music for roughly 10 years as well.