Clockwise by Anna Webber; Bandcamp Link: Clockwise
“Her new release, Clockwise, is an homage to some of her favorite 20th Century composers as seen through the lens of their works for percussion. For the project, Webber spent months researching and analyzing various percussion compositions by Iannis Xenakis, Morton Feldman, Edgard Varése, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Milton Babbitt, and John Cage, isolating particular moments that could be extracted and developed into new works.”Pi Records
Wow! After listening to it for several days, I felt that this album had a lot of influences from 20th Century composers, but I didn’t realize the extent of Webber’s ambition until I read the Pi Records press! Holy moley!
Uh, anyway, that press release could be a little scary to, well, most people.
However, let me assure you, that, while this isn’t “easy” music, it is also not as “difficult” as some of its inspirations.
One of the things that stands out for me is the thoroughly modern and very enjoyable harmony writing for the horns. Sure, there’s some dissonance, but overall it is the melodies of the pieces that stand out for me. There is also some pretty amazing 20th Century music meets Bebop playing from both Webber and Viner, particularly on the title track “Clockwise”.
“Array” is another track which is super interesting, (featuring outstanding contributions from Viner, Garchik, and Mitchell,) which seems almost like a single melodic line which is stretched nearly to the full length of the tune, but split between the different players. Also, it very nearly almost swings.
Endlessly rewarding, and endlessly interesting, Webber’s Clockwise is some of the most ambitious writing and rewarding listening I’ve encountered for a modern jazz-ish ensemble in recent memory.
Anna Webber – tenor saxophone, flute, bass flute, alto flute
Jeremy Viner – tenor saxophone, clarinet
Jacob Garchik – trombone
Christopher Hoffman – cello
Matt Mitchell – piano
Chris Tordini – bass
Ches Smith – drums, vibraphone, timpani