Thursday, January 30, 2014

Anderson Jazz - "Correspondence"

© -Steven Cerra, copyright protected; all rights reserved.

“Peter and Will Anderson are different - and, yes, they are wonderful. But I am fascinated and beguiled by an unprecedented facet of their wonder. You see, I've been teaching at the Jazz conservatories almost since Jazz reached the classroom and most students know precious little about pre-BeBop Jazz. When Peter and Will Anderson stepped into my classroom, I came face-to-face with two fully involved Jazz musicians.”
- Phil Schaap, Professor, “Origins of Jazz,” graduate level course, Juilliard School of Music

Recently a Jazz buddy in southern California, by way of a recommendation from a mutual friend in The Big Apple, gave me a recording by Pete Anderson and Will Anderson entitled Correspondence which was issued on Small’s Records [SRCD-0053] in 2012.

The Anderson Brothers are identical twins which means, I guess, that I was blown away twice at the same time while I was listening to it.

What an encounter - love at first hearing - absolutely brilliant music.

Pete, a tenor saxophonist and Will, an alto saxophonist, had the good sense to surround themselves with a rhythm section made up of Kenny Barron on piano, Ben Wolfe on bass and Kenny Washington on drums, leave everyone with enough room to stretch out and, in the process, create one of the most engrossing and captivating Jazz CDs in recent memory.

The disc is available via

Here’s what Robert Levin had to say about the recording on

“Peter and Will Anderson / Correspondence / SRCD-0053

“I've been making all the gigs I can by two reed players, Peter and Will Anderson. Identical twins, they're still in their early twenties and I can't say enough about them. They're Juilliard graduates, but there's nothing studied about the way that, as instrumentalists, arrangers and composers, they make music.

They're naturals and while essentially into bebop—which they play with a passion, unpredictability and sense of discovery that can make you feel like you're back at the beginning of it at Minton's or Monroe's Uptown House—they can claim an astonishing affinity for the full range of jazz forms and styles, at least up to the 'new thing.’

I've listened to them play all kinds of jazz now and have yet to hear an inauthentic note. They easily hold their own with the best of the Dixieland players. They interpret Thelonious Monk compositions in a way that I'm sure Monk would have appreciated. They have a solid grip not only on what Miles Davis and Gil Evans were after in the Birth of the Cool period but on the work of a John Kirby as well.

Along with the depth of knowledge they demonstrate about saxophone players as diverse as Johnny Hodges, Stan Getz, Hank Mobley and Gigi Gryce, to name just a few, they understand Ellington and—they play ballads with an emotional sophistication that's way beyond their years—they know what to do with a Billy Strayhorn song. Have I mentioned that they also command their principal instruments, the clarinet and alto and tenor saxophones, with a stunning authority?

I could go on and on about the Andersons. Right now the distinctions between them as musicians are as subtle as the differences in their appearances. It will be fascinating to see how they progress, if and to what degree they diverge from one another and what they make of their prodigious talents once they've become fully centered in their individual identities. But what they're presenting at this point in their development is already, I think, substantial and compelling enough to be worthy of preservation on a CD or two."

You can sample the Anderson Brothers in action along with Kenny B., Ben Wolfe, and Kenny W. on the following video which offers the Get Out of Town track from the Correspondence CD as its soundtrack.

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