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Articles | Popular | Future

ALBUM REVIEWS

Bill Anschell: Shifting Standards

Read "Shifting Standards" reviewed by Paul Rauch

Seattle based pianist Bill Anschell has created a tremendous body of work over the the past 30 years, as a composer, musical director, and pianist. He returned to Seattle in 2002 after 25 years abroad and formed a relationship with Origin Records, releasing more than a dozen records both as a leader and co-leader. Whether composing and performing original pieces, or interpreting standards ranging from Cole Porter to Lennon/McCartney, Anschell has consistently upheld a rare standard of excellence.

INTERVIEWS

Bill Anschell: Curiosity and Invention

Read "Bill Anschell: Curiosity and Invention" reviewed by Paul Rauch

Bill Anschell strikes me as a man with boundless curiosity. You perceive this in conversation, in his sense of humor, the patient manner in which he listens on and off the bandstand. You sense it in his inventive compositions, the rhythmic complexity, and the musical conception that lyrically imprints an authentic sense of melody. His work in his standards trio highlights his musical empathy in deep, spontaneous conversation with bassist Jeff Johnson and drummer D'Vonne Lewis, and paints a more ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Bill Anschell: Rumbler

Read "Rumbler" reviewed by Paul Rauch

Seattle's eclectic jazz scene has produced a long line of significant voices that have impacted the music on a national and international level. Bill Anschell, as a pianist and composer certainly falls into that category that has produced the likes of Ray Charles, Quincy Jones, Ernestine Anderson, and presently, trumpeter Thomas Marriott. His new Origin Records CD Rumbler, represents his ninth album as a leader, and his first featuring original compositions and arrangements since More to the Ear Than Meets ...

JUST FOR FUN

Top Five Funniest People in Jazz

Read "Top Five Funniest People in Jazz" reviewed by Michael Ricci

Despite that serious expression you often see on a jazz musician's face, the truth is that laughter gets him through the day. The late, great pianist Horace Silver knew it. If you didn't see it in his impish smile, you could hear it in his music. Especially in his last studio album, which knowingly proclaimed Jazz Has A Sense of Humor (GRP, 1999). We've gotten to know lots of musicians over the years, and though we ...

Jazz Jam Sessions: A First-Timer's Guide

Read "Jazz Jam Sessions:  A First-Timer's Guide" reviewed by Bill Anschell

Ready to check out your first jam session? There's much more to jazz music--and to the “session" in particular--than meets the eye. This primer will help you better appreciate the intense psychodrama being played out on stage. Special “Insider's Hints" ("IH“) highlighted throughout the text will help you make the most of your maiden voyage. IH: Although your food and drink dollars are the lifeblood of the jazz economy, remember that to the musicians, you're irrelevant. Don't make ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Bill Anschell: Figments

Read "Figments" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

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 ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Bill Anschell: Figments

Read "Figments" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Pianist Bill Anschell normally involves himself in projects that shine with a high polish, recordings like the Wellstone Conspiracy's collaborative Motives (Origin, 2010) and his own More to the Ear than Meets the Eye (Origin, 2006), or in the sideman slot on the marvelous Reunion, led by saxophonists Pete Christlieb and Hadley Caliman. In addition, Anschell served as Nnenna Freelon's pianist/arranger/musical director for a number of years, where a sheen on the vocalist's backdrop was the name of the game. ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Bill Anschell/Brett Jensen: We Couldn't Agree More

Read "We Couldn't Agree More" reviewed by John Barron

We Couldn't Agree More is a great example of what happens when two like-minded musicians gather for an impromptu session, playing through a list of well-worn standards. Pianist Bill Anschell and soprano saxophonist Brent Jensen deliver a relaxed, humorously inventive duo recording that happily swings from beginning to end. Recorded in Boise, Idaho, during a break from a tour of the state (Jensen is an Assistant Professor of Music at the College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls), ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Bill Anschell / Brent Jensen: We Couldn't Agree More

Read "We Couldn't Agree More" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

By definition, the classical or jazz duo is the most intimate performance format. Intimacy requires two parties sharing with a base empathy. An example is Eddie Daniels and Roger Kellaway's A Duet of One (2008, IPO), where the two principles shared a great love for the mainstream and its sensitive presentation.

Enter west coasters, pianist Bill Anschell and soprano saxophonist Brent Jensen, with We Couldn't Agree More. This instrument combination instantly recalls the Steve Lacy and Mal Waldron recordings of ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Bill Anschell: More to the Ear Than Meets the Eye

Read "More to the Ear Than Meets the Eye" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Pianist Bill Anschell has carved out a fairly high profile for himself as an accompanist and arranger, most recently on vocalist Jeff Baker's vibrant Monologue (OA2 Records, 2005), and previously with his stint touring and recording as musical director for Nnenna Freelon from 1992-96. With More to the Ear Than Meets the Eye, Anschell steps out as leader on a set that showcases his penchant for forthright lyrical beauty and spontaneous chance-taking that always hits the mark.The set, ...

Notes from the Lobby

Read "Notes from the Lobby" reviewed by Bill Anschell

The light is unsettling; too bright, by far, for the dark business at hand. My fingers work tirelessly. Visible beneath them, a workspace painful to the glance; brilliant, aching white. Should I look away, bury my gaze instead in the teeming masses before me? They transact ceaselessly, without apology. Harshly lit, the greedy faces are easily identified, yet there is mystery about them.Shouldn't it be nighttime? Shouldn't we be in a darkened restaurant, or a seamy, ill-lit bar? ...

Jazz Math

Read "Jazz Math" reviewed by Bill Anschell

If x is the number of chord changes in a tune, and y is the tempo at which it is played, then xy = factor by which a guitarist will turn down his amp. # (notes/measure played by a saxophonist on a ballad) is proportional to # (drinks he has consumed). 4 + 4.125 + 4 + 3.875 + 4 + (4 + or--.667) + 4 + (x, where x is unknown) = 1 chorus trading ...