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Canadian composer Eldon Rathburn (1916-2008) wrote more than 250 film scores, most of them during his thirty-year career as a staff composer for the National Film Board of Canada.  Arguably Canada’s most prolific composer of film music, Rathburn experimented with a wide range of styles and instrumental configurations throughout his career, with influences ranging from classical, bluegrass, country, blues, electronic, avant-garde, church and dance music genres, to popular music and jazz.  Always faithful to the dictates of his film’s themes and narratives, Rathburn frequently blended these styles into a delightful mélange, an approach he sometimes attributed to the influence of Charles Ives, a composer he idolized.  He had toured with Don Messer’s “New Brunswick Lumberjacks” during the 1930s, and this led to formative work as a pianist and arranger for CBC Radio in Saint John during the war years.  During this period Rathburn's deep appreciation for jazz took hold, and he began to incorporate the jazz idiom into his film scores shortly after he was hired by the NFB in 1947. The Romance of Improvisation in Canada brings arrangements of some of this music to jazz listeners for the first time. 

The core musical materials for this project are drawn from three timeless NFB short films: an Oscar-nominated animated romp through transportation history titled The Romance of Transportation in Canada (Colin Low, Wolf Koenig, Robert Verrall, 1952), Fish Spoilage Control (Wolf Koenig, Gerald Potterton, 1956), a deliciously zany animated film commissioned by Fisheries Canada, and Police (Terence Macartney-Filgate, 1958), a behind-the-scenes look at the daily challenges faced by the Toronto police force.  Working with themes from Rathburn's scores for these films, producers/arrangers Adrian Matte and Allyson Rogers created a series of brilliant arrangements that were designed as a springboard for the improvisatory skills and imagination of the five leading Canadian jazz artists who enthusiastically endorsed the project and accepted the challenge. 

Digital Download UPC: 0068944861354
CD UPC: 068944861323

The Romance of Improvisation in Canada - The Genius of Eldon Rathburn

The Romance of Improvisation

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Tracklist


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The Romance of Improvisation in Canada (from “The Romance of Transportation in Canada”) 3:03

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Fish Spoilage Control (from "Fish Spoilage Control”) 4:48

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Conveyance by Canoe (from “The Romance of Transportation in Canada”) 5:16

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Club Café Tango (from "Fish Spoilage Control”) 4:06

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The Industrial Revolution Comes to Canada (from “The Romance of Transportation in Canada”) 0:32

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Ox Driver's Blues I (from “The Romance of Transportation in Canada”) 1:52

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Ox Driver's Blues II (from “The Romance of Transportation in Canada”) 2:21

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Ox Drivers's Blues III (from “The Romance of Transportation in Canada”) 1:52

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Police (from “Police”) 5:40

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Fresh Fish Delish! Le Poisson se mange frais! (from "Fish Spoilage Control”) 4:26

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Rathburn Mambo (from "Fish Spoilage Control”) 3:49

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The Rockies (from “The Romance of Transportation in Canada”) 7:35

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Canadian composer Eldon Rathburn (1916-2008) wrote more than 250 film scores, most of them during his thirty-year career as a staff composer for the National Film Board of Canada.  Arguably Canada’s most prolific composer of film music, Rathburn experimented with a wide range of styles and instrumental configurations throughout his career, with influences ranging from classical, bluegrass, country, blues, electronic, avant-garde, church and dance music genres, to popular music and jazz.  Always faithful to the dictates of his film’s themes and narratives, Rathburn frequently blended these styles into a delightful mélange, an approach he sometimes attributed to the influence of Charles Ives, a composer he idolized.  He had toured with Don Messer’s “New Brunswick Lumberjacks” during the 1930s, and this led to formative work as a pianist and arranger for CBC Radio in Saint John during the war years.  During this period Rathburn's deep appreciation for jazz took hold, and he began to incorporate the jazz idiom into his film scores shortly after he was hired by the NFB in 1947. The Romance of Improvisation in Canada brings arrangements of some of this music to jazz listeners for the first time. 

The core musical materials for this project are drawn from three timeless NFB short films: an Oscar-nominated animated romp through transportation history titled The Romance of Transportation in Canada (Colin Low, Wolf Koenig, Robert Verrall, 1952), Fish Spoilage Control (Wolf Koenig, Gerald Potterton, 1956), a deliciously zany animated film commissioned by Fisheries Canada, and Police (Terence Macartney-Filgate, 1958), a behind-the-scenes look at the daily challenges faced by the Toronto police force.  Working with themes from Rathburn's scores for these films, producers/arrangers Adrian Matte and Allyson Rogers created a series of brilliant arrangements that were designed as a springboard for the improvisatory skills and imagination of the five leading Canadian jazz artists who enthusiastically endorsed the project and accepted the challenge.