Reviews that mention Anna Webber

November 13, 2021

David Sanford Big Band

A Prayer for Lester Bowie
Greenleaf Music GRE-CD-1086

Almost 75 years after the demise of the so-called Big Band era, cultivated musicians still seek out the configuration to expand the number of sound colors they can utilize. So it is with this session, coming out of left field by David Sanford, long-time music professor at Massachusetts’ Mount Holyoke College, who composes both Jazz and notated music. A Prayer for Lester Bowie is strictly Jazz however. Built around the composer’s protracted homage to the late trumpeter (1941-1999), an AACM member and co-founder of the Art Ensemble of Chicago, the disc also includes a half dozen other Sanford originals and a speedy reading of “Dizzy Atmosphere”. MORE

September 27, 2021

Anna Webber

Pi Recordings 89

Designed to show off tenor saxophonist/flutist Anna Webber’s skills as composer and player are the idioms developed on each disc of this two-CD set. Without knowing their genesis in extended woodwind techniques, the five idioms expressed can be appreciated as appropriately moving Jazz and improvised music. That’s partially a testament to what the British Colombia-born Brooklyn-based musician’s conceptions and also because the interpretations involve some of the east coast’s most accomplished players. MORE

February 26, 2021

Raf Vertessen


Shining example of modern mainstream improv except for those who figure Jazz evolution ceased around 1960, this maiden voyage by Belgium-born, Brooklyn-based drummer Raf Vertessen showcases his compositional skills as much as his drumming. That’s serendipitous since the drummer, who has also worked with the likes of Ches Smith and Ingrid Laubrock is a colorist rather than a basher.

His choice of associates shows his good taste as well. Trumpeter Adam O' Farrill and bassist Nick Dunston are busy with many New York ensembles, as is tenor saxophonist Anna Webber, who additionally leads her bands. Actually a suite rather than a collection of random tunes, each of the performances blends into and sets up the subsequent tracks. Rambling and harmonized the group moves at various tempi exposing flashes of capillary high pitches and reed slurs, string clumps and woody drum splats, rumbles, rim shots and cymbal claps. Attaining more unity as the program evolves, mid-range bass string rubs and drum bounces help amplify more exploratory impulses from the horn players encompassing contrapuntal variants from top-of-range whistles and renal scoops from Weber that explode into glossolalia met by O’Farrill’s packed flutter tonguing. The place-marking stop-time march that is “FAKE” accents the dramatic elation that characterizes the second half of the suite. MORE

February 16, 2021

Jacob Garchik

Clear Line
Yestereve Records 06

Drawing on jazz big band section work, European village marching bands and notated music for winds, composer/conductor Jacob Garchik has composed nine POMO interludes for four trumpets, four trombones and three saxophones. Eschewing a rhythm section and string sweetening, he endows the compositions with coordinated horn work for rhythmic impetus and savory harmonies, while leaving space for creative soloing.

At the same time with blustery brass and popping reeds often emphasized to create contrapuntal backing, individual’s features are short but to-the-point. Besides brief mood setting sequences, extended tracks highlight different strategies from Fusion-referencing brassy horn expositions to enough key percussion that suggest bagpipe-blowing tremolos. “Moebius and Mucha” is the most overt swinger with bugle-bright trumpet work cutting across sliding connections from the other horns. Meanwhile “Sixth” is a quasi-rondo that subverts its mellow form with colorful upwards movements that encompasses brass and reed call-and-response before textures meld into a stop-time climax. MORE

January 21, 2021

NPR 15th Annual Jazz Critics Poll: 2020

American Website
Ken Waxman’s Ballot

Ken Waxman (Jazz Word)


1. Virtual Company, Virtual Company (Confront)

2. Edward "Kidd" Jordan-Joel Futterman-William Parker-Hamid Drake, A Tribute to Alvin Fielder: Live at Vision Festival XXIV (Mahakala Music)

3. Urs Blöchlinger Revisited, Harry Doesn't Mind (Leo)

4. Jason Kao Hwang, Human Rites Trio (True Sound)

5. Liquid Quintet, Bouquet (Sirulita -19)

6. ROPE [Frank Paul Schubert-Uwe Oberg-Paul Rogers-Mark Sanders], Open Ends (Trouble in the East) MORE

July 11, 2020

Webber/Morris Big Band

Both Are True
Greenleaf Music GRE CD 1075

Vladimir Tarasov & Krugly Band Orchestra

Sound Tapestries

SoLyd Records SLR 0440

Martin Archer

Anthropology Band

Discus 90 CD

Fire! Orchestra

Krysztof Penderecki Actions

Rune Grammofon RCD 2212

Gard Nilssen Supersonic Orchestra

If You Listen Carefully the Music Is Yours

ODIN CD 9572

Something in the air Novel Large Ensemble Strategies are expressed by Bands All over the World

March 14, 2020

Dave Douglas

Greenleaf Music GRE-CD-1074

Ig Hennenan/Jaimie Branch/Anne LaBerge

Dropping Stuff and other Folk Songs

Relative Pitch RPR 1094



Clean Feed CF 539 CD

Birgit Ulner & Benoit Cancoin

Electric Green

Blumlein No #


Possible Worlds

SOFA 575

Something in the Air: Expanding the Trumpet’s Role and Range Outwards

By Ken Waxman

With the trumpet’s traditional heraldic and heroic roles in most music, and construction which depends on only three valves, tubing and a bell, it would seem that distinctive brass innovation would be at a premium. Yet as the following discs demonstrate those who mix innovative concepts and technical sophistication can create notable exploratory sessions. MORE

February 8, 2020

14th Annual Francis Davis

7th Annual NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll 2019
Ken Waxman’s ballot

•Your name and primary affiliation(s)

Ken Waxman,, The Whole Note, MusicWorks

•Your choices for this year’s 10 best New Releases (albums released between last Thanksgiving and this, give or take) listed in descending order one-through-ten

1. Uri Caine The Passion of Octavius Catto (816 Music)

2. Mark Dresser Seven Ain’t Nothing But a Cyber Coup & You (Clean Feed)

3. Robert Dick/Joëlle Léandre/Miya Masaoka Solar Wind (NotTwo) MW 986-2

February 8, 2020

El Intruso’s

12th Annual International Critics Poll
Ken Waxman’s 2019 ballot

Musician of the year: Joe McPhee

Newcomer Musician: Timothée Quost, Gaspard Beck

Group of the year: Roots Magic, Tonus, Joe McPhee Trio

Newcomer group: MétamOrphée

Album of the year: Quatuor de Jazz Libre Du Québec, Musique Politique Anthologie 1971-1974 (Tour de Bras) Uri Caine, The Passion of Octavius Catto (816 Music)

Composer: Roscoe Mitchell, Uri Caine, Harris Eisenstad

Drums; Gerald Cleaver, Steve Noble, Tim Daisy

Acoustic Bass Joëlle Léandre, Barry Guy, Barre Phillips MORE

June 17, 2019

Anna Webber

Pi Recordings P179

By Ken Waxman

Reaching an elevated trajectory following her last CD, B.C.-born, New York-based tenor saxophone/flutist Anna Webber aided by a seasoned septet, re-conceptualizes into new compositions impressions of 20th Century composers’ percussion works.

Percussiveness not percussion is the major focus, even though her studio reassembling of Ches Smith’s echoing tympani on the Felmanesque “King of Denmark II” are suitably staggering. Mostly though Smith sticks to drums and vibraphone to provide the precise clamor and ringing clatter that swing alongside Jacob Garchik’s emotional trombone flow; place-marking stops or sweeping glissandi from Christopher Hoffman’s cello and Chris Tordini’ bass; pulsing chromatics from pianist Matt Mitchell; and stylistic chirps or snarls from Webber and tenor saxophonist/clarinetist Jeremy Viner. MORE

March 18, 2018

Matt Mitchell

A Pouting Grimace
Pi Recordings 71

Onze Heures Onze Orchestra

Vol 1

Onzeheurs Onze ONZ020

Having a singular, original vision is often cited as the best way to create outstanding music, more so when, as on these sessions here, concepts can be communicated to a large ensemble. Yet individualism doesn’t necessarily edge out a collegial approach. New York-based keyboardist Matt Mitchell for instance obviously aimed to create an original take on contemporary sounds that mixed notated, improvisational and electronic tropes, and he rounded up a dozen of the city’s most accomplished players to interpret his 10 compositions. Yet all too often on A Pouting Grimace, the composer and his associates appear to be leaping from one idea to another, exposing a variety of concepts, but with no logical continuum that draws together the detonating themes. MORE

November 1, 2017

Erik Hove Chamber Ensemble

Inner Circle Music No #

The Revoid Ensemble

The Revoid Ensemble

Found You Recordings FYR 034

Like sartorial choices which are deemed completely passé, but turn up more popular than ever years later, Third Stream Music which was declared dead and buried in the mid-1960s continues to be an accoutrement in use by many modern musicians. Although they would likely avoid the phrase itself, the composer/band leaders of these notable sessions are uniquely mixing improvised and notated tropes. The measure of their achievements is how they prevent the shibboleths of either to swamp the concepts of the other. MORE

August 19, 2017

Harris Eisenstadt

Recent Developments
Songlines SGL 1620-2

Harris Eisenstadt Canada Day

On Parade in Parede

Clean Feed CF 413 CD

By Ken Waxman

Having reached a comfortable maturity in his playing and composing, Toronto-born, Brooklyn-based percussionist Harris Eisenstadt isn’t averse to showcasing both his talents in varied settings. Like an athlete who excels at more than one sport, the drummer has with On Parade in Parede created a spirited FreeBop session with his Canada Day quartet. Meanwhile Recent Developments is a spiky recasting of composed chamber jazz played by a nonet. MORE

February 18, 2017

NPR’s 11th Annual

Jazz Critics Poll Ballot

•Your name and primary affiliation(s)

Ken Waxman: The New York City Jazz Record; Whole Note

•Your choices for this year’s 10 best New Releases listed in descending order

1. Alexander Hawkins Trio Alexander Hawkins Music AH 1001

2. Anna Webber’s Simple Trio Binary Skirl Records 033

3. Michael Formanek Ensemble Kolossus The Distance ECM 2484

4. Artifacts Reed-Reid-Mitchell 482 Music 482-1093

5. Umlaut Big Band Euro Swing Vol. 2 Umlaut UMFR-CD18 MORE

December 11, 2016

Anna Weber’s Simple Trio

Skirl Records 033


Advances and Delays


Franklin Kiermyer

Closer to the Sun

Mobility Music MMII016


Shipwreck 4

NoBusiness Records NBCD 67

Michael Vlatkovich

Myrnofant’s Kiss

pfMentum CD 095

Something In The Air: Catching up with Canadian Expats

By Ken Waxman

Q: What’s the best way to become famous in Canada? A: Leave the country. Unfortunately that hoary jape still has currency in 2016, especially if you want to be a renowned actor. Music is less aggressive and plenty of first-class musicians make their home in the dominion; some foreigners even relocate here. Still for many improvisers concerns, both personal and professional, cause them to abandon their native land. Expatriation often means interaction with a wider crew of players than if they had stayed put and these recent discs capture the results of these challenges. MORE

January 1, 2016

NPR’s 10th Annual

Jazz Critics Poll Ballot

Ken Waxman (The New York City Jazz Record, Jazz Word)


  1. Roscoe Mitchell, Celebrating Fred Anderson (Nessa)
  2. Daniel Carter-William Parker-Federico Ughi, Navajo Sunrise (Rudi)
  3. François Carrier-Michel Lambert-Rafal Mazur, Unknowable (Not Two)
  4. Anna Webber, Refraction (Pirouet)
  5. Tim Berne, You've Been Watching Me (ECM)
  6. Evan Parker, Seven (Victo)
  7. Samuel Blaser, Spring Rain (Whirlwind)
  8. Akira Sakata-Giovanni Di Domenico-John Edwards-Steve Noble, Live at Cafe Oto (Clamshell)
  9. James Falzone & the Renga Ensemble, The Room Is (Allos Documents)
  10. George Freeman & Chico Freeman, All in the Family (Southport)

November 6, 2015

Anna Webber’s Percussive Mechanics

Pirouet Records PIT 3079

By Ken Waxman

Audaciously extending her conceptual chops, composer Anna Webber has created a suite of sorts with Refraction, bookending the program with a prelude and postlude sonically coordinated but not copied, while those tracks and the other five subtly reflect motifs which swirl throughout. A British Columbian turned Brooklynite, Webber, who plays tenor saxophone and flute here, is joined on this journey by other musicians whose playing is neither overly percussive nor mechanical. MORE

December 6, 2014


Jagged Spheres
No label No #

Anna Webber


Skirl Records 027

By Ken Waxman

A Brooklyn resident since 2008, Kelowna B.C.-native Anna Webber’s work has followed two trajectories aptly defined on these releases. A tenor saxophonist/flutist who studied music in Montreal, NYC and Berlin, she has an urban side – reflected in the cooperative Jagged Spheres trio’s emphasis on seamlessly combining composition and improvisation in its work – plus a rustic one which permeates her compositions on Simple. That CD’s pieces were all written during a Webber sojourn on Bowen Island, near Vancouver. MORE

December 6, 2014

Anna Webber

Skirl Records 027


Jagged Spheres

No label No #

By Ken Waxman

A Brooklyn resident since 2008, Kelowna B.C.-native Anna Webber’s work has followed two trajectories aptly defined on these releases. A tenor saxophonist/flutist who studied music in Montreal, NYC and Berlin, she has an urban side – reflected in the cooperative Jagged Spheres trio’s emphasis on seamlessly combining composition and improvisation in its work – plus a rustic one which permeates her compositions on Simple. That CD’s pieces were all written during a Webber sojourn on Bowen Island, near Vancouver. MORE