Saxophonist Andrew Rathbun has continuously grown as a composer and player since his debut release as a leader in 2000. This is his ninth CD and third for Steeplechase, with rising young pianist George Colligan (a formidable composer and bandleader himself), guitarist Nate Radley, bassist Johannes Weidenmüller, and veteran drummer Billy Hart skillfully interpreting Rathbun's pieces. Starting off with his impressive four-part "Son Suite" (dedicated to his young son Drew), Rathbun utilizes his tenor and soprano instruments both individually and together, while he "tells a story," as Lester Young liked to say, of a talented musician. Also of note are "A Stern," which initially suggests an avant-garde mood before transforming into exotic post-bop as the full quintet joins Colligan and Weidenmüller, with Rathbun's searing soprano prominent, and the robust cooker "Lament," which belies its title. Hart's powerful and insightful drumming is an asset throughout the date.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden