Mastery and stylistic breadth carry the night

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No matter which gems brothers Peter and Will Anderson choose to explore from the very wide and deep jazz canon, the pair always delight with their technique, clever arrangements and swinging musicality.

Such was the case on Monday, February 11, when the 31-year-old identical twins performed in the Charlotte County Jazz Society’s Artist Series in Port Charlotte FL. Paris-born guitarist Felix Lemerle, a Fullbright Scholar who has worked regularly with the Andersons for two years, completed the trio.

Stylistically the music was all over the map, but the Andersons embraced it and transformed the varied selections into something all their own. We’re talking vintage New Orleans, Claude Debussy’s classical masterpiece “Clair de Lune,” some movie soundtrack gems, and something from the pen of hard-bop composer Horace Silver. Not to mention early Ellington and Fats Waller. Peter Anderson (the elder brother, by one hour) played tenor and soprano saxophones, and clarinet. Will Anderson (the taller brother, by one inch) played alto sax, clarinet and flute. Lemerle soloed and played rhythm guitar as the situation demanded, also tapping his fret board to provide a drum-like rhythm on occasion.

The twins are Bethesda, MD natives who studied at Juilliard and are based in New York City. They shifted with ease between instruments, sometimes doubling on the melody or handing the melody off to each other in seamless fashion. They also supported each other’s solos with a more rhythmic role. Cole Porter’s “Begin the Beguine,” which became Artie Shaw’s biggest hit, was a prime example. As Will dug into the familiar melody on clarinet, Peter used his tenor sax to drop in accent notes that kept time much like a drummer.

Their version of “Clair de Lune” was unusual. The combined sound they created on tenor sax and clarinet melded into something that at times seemed like it was coming from an accordion. Other material presented in this program included “These are a Few of My Favorite Things,” “After You’ve Gone,” “Basin Street Blues,” a teasing arrangement of “Rhapsody in Blue,” Horace Silver’s funky “The Preacher,” “Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans,” “Sweet Georgia Brown,” “Mood Indigo,” “Honeysuckle Rose,” “Moon River,” “Darn That Dream” and a burning take on Ray Noble’s “Cherokee” before closing with Louis Armstrong’s “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love.”

This was the brothers’ second Port Charlotte visit. They first performed for CCJS four years ago. At that February 9, 2015 concert, they performed “Reed Reflections,” which a good friend, New York-based composer and multi-instrumentalist Kyle Athayde, wrote for them as a symphonic piece.

This time, they shared Athayde’s “Appalachian Mountain Song." Featuring the brothers on clarinets, the complex and vivid song’s textures and rhythms sounded like it was inspired by the Appalachian Round song form. It was composed for clarinets and a 31-piece string orchestra. Lamerle took on all of the string responsibilities with his artful guitar work.

The concert at the Cultural Center of Charlotte County’s William H. Wakeman III Theater drew a crowd of more than 300.

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This story appears courtesy of Ken Franckling's Jazz Notes.
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