ALBUM REVIEW: "Numbers & Letters" 

Andrew Rathbun

"Numbers & Letters"


Listening to Andrew Rathbun's wonderful new album, "Numbers & Letters," you might wonder how the Toronto-born saxophonist comes up with the imaginative themes that run though every cut on the album. Turns out he doesn't have to venture too far outside his family for inspiration. In fact, most of the tracks are based on observations of his two young children.

The beautifully meandering melody of "Tears and Fears" is Rathbun's musical projection into the mind of a toddler and his attempt at capturing the uncertainty of discovering and dealing with the world. The playful tune "Crawl Out" is the result of watching his daughter trying to do just that when she was supposed to be staying in her crib. And any new parent can relate to the title and the not quite coherent feeling of "Sleep Please."

While Rathbun is responsible for the evocative compositions and arrangements, his superb band helps bring them to life. In addition to Rathbun's edgy sax solos, listeners will be rewarded with the excellent piano work of Phil Markowitz, the great rhythm section of drummer Bill Stewart and bassist Jay Anderson, and on "Again?" the fine work of trumpeter Taylor Haskins.

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