Monday, May 31, 2021

Anna Webber - Idiom (Pi-Recordings, 2021)

The very talented Anna Webber wears many hats on this on this album, displaying her skill as a multi-reed instrument player as well as composer and arranger. The music is split between two discs, first is a very exciting trio recording with Matt Mitchell on piano and John Hollenbeck on drums. Without a bass to ground them, the music soars in a distinctive and kinetic manner, with Webber moving between flute and saxophones, and her colleagues interpreting and improvising her music with aplomb. The second disc is a collection of music for a thirteen piece ensemble, where she has developed her compositions around unique unexpected  improvisational approaches for saxophone called extended techniques which were then applied to the larger group as a whole, and for certain instrumentalists in solo features. She is able to use the crucible where written and improvised music meet to produce large swathes and movements for the large ensemble to explore. The results are continuously interesting, enveloping sweeps of classical like sounds and dynamic shifts from near silence to soaring and majestic full band outpouring. The two discs in this collection clearly demonstrate that Anna Webber is at the forefront of modern, forward thinking music. While the methods she uses may sound a little obtuse, the results are anything but, resolving into clarity regardless of the complexity, and her techniques allow for a surprising amount of color and texture which create appealing sounds. Idiom -

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