"Simple", Canadian sax player Anna Webber's new album is everything but simple. Differently from her previous bigger combo work, it contains seven perfectly engineered and executed compositions which combine pre-composed and improvised pieces,minimalist,complex and almost lyrical at the same time.
Anna for some time is a part of Brooklyn avant-garde jazz scene, here on "Simple" she leads supertrio with her former teacher and Claudia Quintet founder drummer John Hollenbeck and Tim Berne's Snakeoil pianist Matt Mitchell. No strange music on this album is fractured, percussive and seriously influenced by contemporary classical composition.
John Hollenbeck is main structural architect here building rhythmic pyramids and pushing all action ahead. All album is generally high energized but with enough space for each musician and for silent as part of composition as well. Songs all are composed by Webber, but each composition's construction combines some strictly pre-composed pieces and quite free improvisation as well. Still all music is well-framed and precisely controlled what only improves contemporary classics feel.
Webber sax (and occasionally flute) sounds sometimes as if you listen to loft jazz saxman from 70s, with open, dissonant and almost screaming sound, in other moments she sounds as Anthony Braxton-influenced modern creative player - complex, calculated and almost chamber.As a result, her sax solos,added very sparingly, are main attraction sounding over drums and occasional piano. Each sax soloing is original, right in place and has its own beauty and listener just waits impatiently when Anna's sax will join again.
Really complex music,it sounds surprisingly accessible and attractive, but requires repeated listening. When album was released last fall, it was one of my most beloved music for week or two, and now when I returned back to it, it shows a lot of new and different sides and I really like it as I did before.
One among best advanced NYC jazz scene albums released in 2014.