AMN Reviews: Anna Webber – Clockwise (2019; Pi Recordings)

I have to admit being hooked by the description of how Anna Webber developed her new album, Clockwise. She considered works for percussion by 20th-century composers, such as Xenakis, Feldman, Varése, Stockhausen, Babbitt, and Cage. Then, she “isolat[ed] particular moments that could be extracted and developed into new works” for a jazz ensemble. In particular, she had her collaborators produce unusual sounds from their instruments using extended techniques, and these snippets served as the raw elements for the pieces herein. Armed with these, Webber was able to produce a wide range of strucutres, moods, and timbres.

At a high level, this is a similar approach to that of Webber’s 2016 trio recording Binary. There, she used technology to translate various non-musical sources into musical patterns. But on this recording, the compositional process was more organic and larger in scope as she was writing for a seven-piece outfit. The result involves brain-bending complexity combined with a subtle playfulness.

Case in point, Kore II leads off the album with spiraling counterpoint that sounds like a roomful of robots ambulating about according to their own rhythms. In contrast, Kore I is the final track and involves a more steady pace with “vocalized” trombone and a number of overlapping jazz-inflected themes. Both pieces were derived from Xenakis’s Persephassa, but take that source material in different directions.

Credit goes to Webber for choosing a proper set of co-conspirators from the New York creative music scene. In addition to Webber on sax and flute, the album features Jeremy Viner on sax and clarinet, Jacob Garchik on trombone, Christopher Hoffman on cello, Matt Mitchell on piano, Chris Tordini on bass, and Ches Smith on drums and percussion. Mitchell also appeared on Binary and seems to have a knack of showing up on these densely-packed and unconventional jazz recordings.

As with many efforts of this ilk, it can be difficult (if not impossible) for the listener to determine the exact line between where Webber’s compositions end and the improvisation begins. While Clockwise clearly focuses on the former, the latter does exist (on King of Denmark I / Loper for example) but in a controlled fashion. Instead, Webber has gifted us with a mystery – a puzzle that will require our careful attention to begin to understand, but one that is not meant to be solved. Multiple listenings might be able to begin to peel the layers off of these compositions, but the subtleties and details are so well integrated into the whole that Webber’s conscientious logic might remain indeterminate.

A brilliant effort and an early candidate for album of the year.

Jazz Right Now Reviews

Source: Jazz Right Now.

James Brandon Lewis – An Unruly Manifesto

Anna Webber Solo at Spectrum, Jan 4, 2019

Kate Gentile, Brandon Seabrook, and Matt Mitchell, Live at Spectrum, Jan 4, 2019

Kassa Overall – Go Get Ice Cream and Listen to Jazz

Last Night at Cornelia: Tom Rainey Trio, Dec 30, 2018

Lotte Anker, Craig Taborn, and Gerald Cleaver at Rehearsal Studios, Dec 19, 2018

Anthony Pateras News

Source: Anthony Pateras.

1. NEW 5CD BOX SET

The deluxe 5CD box set Anthony Pateras: Collected Works (2005-2018) is releasing April 1st.

Comprising around 5 1/2 hours of material, it features a group of 10 solos for instrument and electronics, 4 large ensemble works for improvisers, a collection of weird trios and some work from the Twitch ensemble, who performed some insane gigs.

2. NEW PATERAS/BAXTER/BROWN 2CD

Also available April 1st, the prepared acoustic trio Pateras/Baxter/Brown will be releasing our first album in over a decade. We made some new recordings at Inland last year, which are combined with concert recordings from Bern and Milan.

3. GUEST APPEARANCE ON NEW SUNN O))) ALBUM

Very proud to feature on the new SUNN O))) album Life Metal, out on Southern Lord in April. I arranged and recorded some pipe organ at the Schlosskapelle Solitude in Stuttgart last year for the track Troubled Air (heard first in the album preview HERE).

4. COMMISSION FROM THE GRM AT RADIO FRANCE

Currently developing a work for Farfisa organ + acousmonium, commissioned by the GRM, to be performed at Festival Akousma, Radio France, Paris.

5. HOMETOWN SHOWS

Playing a collection of hometown shows to warm up for my upcoming European/US tour. First one is at INLAND this Monday!

25.2: AU – Electronics solo (QUAD), Inland, Melbourne
14.3: AU – Electronics solo (STEREO), Post Office Hotel, Melbourne
27.3: AU – 40th birthday DJ special, Lazer Pig, Melbourne
31.3: AU – Celeste/viola duo with Erkki Veltheim, Astra Chamber Music Society, Melbourne

Anthony Braxton’s Composition 222 Performance Reviewed

Source: San Francisco Classical Voice.

Composition 222 is one of Braxton’s ghost trance pieces — so called for having a “ghost phrase” that pervades and structures the entire work. Its organizing phrase is an irregular, pointillistic series of meandering notes daubed out with relentless, metronomic exactitude by Wubbels and Modney at the outset of the work. (At least in this performance. The structure of the piece is extremely fluid — even the instrumentation is only a suggestion from the composer — and Modney’s own recording of the work on his 2018 album Engage dispenses with the piano and begins with ominous whispers instead of a forceful declaration.) Despite having a tumultuous contour and no perceptible meter to hold onto, the theme’s sheer insistence lodged it firmly in the ear, and it was instantly recognizable whenever it returned in the 40-odd minutes of music that followed.

Fred Frith Interviewed about New Work for S.F. Girls Chorus

Source: San Francisco Classical Voice.

Commissioned to compose for the young teens of the San Francisco Girls Chorus, Fred Frith found himself looking toward his 70th birthday. The musical manifestation of his musings, titled Rags of Time, will receive its premiere on March 3, at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. In what may be a revelation to fans of Frith’s clamorous departures from tonality and other musical conventions, the new piece harkens back to the composer’s own youthful experience in Anglican choirs in his native England, and to the words of religious texts and poems, which led him on to a bachelor’s degree in English literature at Christ’s College, Cambridge in 1970.