Learn How

Help improve All About Jazz

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. For $20, we'll hide those pesky Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

353

Bill Anschell: Figments

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
Bill Anschell: Figments Bill Anschell is a lot of things. He is house pianist and mainstay at Origin Arts, showing up on a wide range of projects. He also contributes to this publication, writing with grace on craft of jazz. But, late at night, he is a musical James Joyce, spinning musical thread off the top of his head. And so he does on Figments.

Recorded over a series of late nights, after practicing his chosen craft, Anschell clears his mind and...begins to fool around, but Anschell's "fooling around" amounts to a postmodern study of American music. When recording "What's Going On," Marvin Gaye recorded saxophonist Eli Fontaine while he was warming up. Gaye used some of this "warming up" to introduce the now famous social anthem. When Fontaine heard it, he tried telling Gaye that he was "just goofing." Gaye told him "you goofed off exquisitely." Bill Anschell, too, goofs off exquisitely.

His subjects or "Figments" range from his deconstructed "My Heart Belongs to Daddy" to a rollicking stride-piano rendering of Arlo Guthrie's "Alice's Restaurant." Anschell sits down, stream-of-conscious, and plays what first comes into his head, modulating his message in real time, allowing whim and fancy to inform his direction. And those directions are many from the heroin-loaded Bill Evans' introspection of "All My Tomorrows" to a celestial brush with the Eagles' "Desparado."

Anschell goes all John Cage with a delightful prepared piano reading of Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi," easily the most inventive of his ruminations. Blood, Sweat and Tears' "Spinning Wheel" recalls a Dave Frank left hand, while the standard "Willow Weep for Me" is a fragmented Monkian dream given leave to the muses of the wind.

Anschell hits a walk off grand-slam with Figments. After his collaboration with saxophonist Brent Jensen on We Couldn't Agree More (Origin Records, 2009), we should have expected it.


Track Listing: My Heart Belongs to Daddy; All My Tomorrows; Alice's Restaurant; Big Yellow Taxi; It Never Entered My Mind; Willow Weep for Me; Spinning Wheel; Across the Universe; Honeysuckle Rose; Desperado; I'm Getting Sentimental Over You; Ask Me Why.

Personnel: Bill Anschell: piano.

Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Origin Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Related Video

Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
Jazz Humor
Bill Anschell's Notes from the Lobby
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Bill Evans Bill Evans
piano
Dave Brubeck Dave Brubeck
piano
Chick Corea Chick Corea
piano
Charlie Haden Charlie Haden
bass, acoustic
McCoy Tyner McCoy Tyner
piano
Steve Kuhn Steve Kuhn
piano
Ray Brown Ray Brown
bass, acoustic
Branford Marsalis Branford Marsalis
saxophone
Clark Terry Clark Terry
trumpet
Woody Shaw Woody Shaw
trumpet
Fred Hersch Fred Hersch
piano
Jason Moran Jason Moran
piano

More Articles

Read Hear & Now CD/LP/Track Review Hear & Now
Read Known-Unknown CD/LP/Track Review Known-Unknown
Read Live At Vilnius Jazz Festival CD/LP/Track Review Live At Vilnius Jazz Festival
Read Stinger CD/LP/Track Review Stinger
Read Binary CD/LP/Track Review Binary
Read Piano Song CD/LP/Track Review Piano Song
Read "Migration" CD/LP/Track Review Migration
Read "Crystal Moth" CD/LP/Track Review Crystal Moth
Read "Mingus, Mingus, Mingus" CD/LP/Track Review Mingus, Mingus, Mingus
Read "Rise Of Orion" CD/LP/Track Review Rise Of Orion
Read "Happy Madness" CD/LP/Track Review Happy Madness
Read "King of the Blues" CD/LP/Track Review King of the Blues

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Get Jazz Near You via email!

Enjoy the convenience of receiving a comprehensive listing of jazz events in your area every Thursday. It's free!