Anna Webber

Anna Webber

Profile photograph at home page by Evan Shay

AKAMU representation: Europe
For info and costs please contact Alberto Lofoco

• projects as a leader •

Anna Webber's Septet: "Clockwise"
Anna Webber - tenor sax, flute, bass flute, alto flute and composition
Jeremy Viner - tenor sax and clarinet
Jacob Garchik - trombone
Christopher Hoffman - cello
Matt Mitchell or Eric Wubbels - piano
Christopher Tordini - double bass
Ches Smith - drums, vibraphone and tympani

• links •

Discography at Discogs

Click for download Press-Kit, Bio and Photo

• videos •

Anna Webber's Percussive Mechanics - Climbing on Mirrors - live in Hamburg (13-11-2014)

• audios •

Soundcloud page by Anna Webber

Clockwise at Bandcamp

Clockwise at PI Recordings

• short biography •

Anna Webber is originally from British Columbia, Canada.

New York-based composer, saxophonist, and flutist Anna Webber, called "one of the most exciting new arrivals on the New York avant-garde jazz scene" by Peter Margasak (Chicago Reader), presents a compelling new septet which released its premiere album, entitled "Clockwise", on Pi Recordings in early 2019.
The ensemble features many of the most interesting improvisors currently working in Brooklyn's creative avant-garde jazz scene.

The music of "Clockwise" is conceived of as a loose homage to various works for percussion from the 20th century.
Webber analyzed and examined the percussion music of composers such as Varèse, Xenakis, Babbitt, Cage, and Feldman, and through that found the seeds which would bring the music for this septet to life.
Referred to as "action-packed" and "exhilarating" (Kevin Sun, Do the Gig), this ensemble integrates complexly notated music with improvisation in a way which feels natural despite its underlying rigor, creating music that connects with listeners on both an intellectual and visceral level.

Anna Webber is a flutist, saxophonist, and composer whose interests and work live the overlap between avant-garde jazz and new classical music.
Outside of the Simple Trio, Webber's other projects include her septet Percussive Mechanics, Jagged Spheres with Devin Gray and Elias Stemeseder, and The Hero of Warchester with Nathaniel Morgan and Liz Kosack.
Webber is a 2018 Guggenheim Fellow. She has additionally been awarded grants from the Shifting Foundation (2015) and residencies from the MacDowell Colony (2017), the Millay Colony for the Arts (2015), and the Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts (2014).
In 2014 she won the BMI Foundation Charlie Parker Composition Prize as a member of the BMI Jazz Composers' Workshop.

• press review •

The Free Jazz Collective by Nick Ostrum

Interview by Will Mason

Anna Webber speaks by Jazz Gallery

review of "Simple" by All About Jazz

• clockwise •

Her new release, Clockwise, is an homage to some of her favorite 20th Century composers as seen through the lens of their works for percussion. For the project, Webber spent months researching and analyzing various percussion compositions by Iannis Xenakis, Morton Feldman, Edgard Varése, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Milton Babbitt, and John Cage, isolating particular moments that could be extracted and developed into new works.
According to Webber, "The goal was not to re-contextualize the composers' original intents or ideas, rather it was to find hidden sympathetic points of resonance within the primary compositions that I could abstractly develop into new works".
The music explores notions of density and indeterminacy, using timbre as an organizing principal, continuing Webber's ongoing exploration of the interstice between creative improvisation and tightly-prescribed compositions. By foregrounding timbre — including the use of extended techniques to create novel sounds — Webber explored questions she had unearthed while researching percussion music: How can timbre be the main driving force of a piece of music? What is left when one subtracts pitch and harmony, or rather, how can a piece be built without those things and what makes such a piece coherent?

"Kore I" and "Kore II" inspired by the Xenakis masterpiece Persephassa, feels like the mechanical movements of an off-kiltered watch, with each gear rotation triggering another unexpected series of sounds.
"King of Denmark I, II and III" take their title from Morton Feldman's graphic composition of the same name, and all stem from short, directed improvisations, with II and III assembled by Webber using recordings of improvisations from Ches Smith and Chris Tordini.
"Loper" is a distillation of certain formal elements of Edgard Varèse's Ionisation, mixed in with explorations of highly-theoretical trombone split tones and saxophone multiphonics.
"Clockwise" informed by Stockhausen's Zyklus, moves episodically through sections of varied density. Like its inspiration, the piece could hypothetically be performed in circular form, using any point in the piece as its starting and/or ending point. Milton Babbitt's solo snare drum piece Homilyserved as the organizational stimulus behind "Array," while "Hologram Best" takes its cue from Third Construction in Metal by John Cage.
"Idiom II" is the one conceptual outlier on this album in that it is the one composition which Webber used codified and notated elements of her own improvisational language, rather than a specific percussion work, as the driving force. Despite the highly composed nature of the music, Webber leaves each musician plenty of room for solos as well as secondary opportunities for improvisation.

With its idiosyncratic and specific focus on timbre, Clockwise is a highly disciplined work that still breathes with powerhouse improvisation, losing none of its emotion intensity and groove in its unpredictable twists and turns. Matt Mitchell sums it up best: "With her music, Anna manages to exhibit many distinctive recurring traits with an unmistakable consistency of purpose while still allowing for a wide variety of characteristics and moods. Obsessive repetition, inexorable unfolding, comprehensive timbral considerations, rhythmic vitality, a sense of the uncanny and the previously unheard. They present the chance for musicians to stretch themselves and to feel free within new environments. Sonic treasures abound."

• press quotes •

“… attention to Webber, both in the moment and in the future.”
- Bill Meyer, Downbeat

“Anna Webber is one of the most exciting new arrivals on the New York avant-garde jazz scene in the past couple years. ...her detail-rich writing recalls the work of elders as disparate as Tim Berne and Henry Threadgill, and her busy motion evokes a fizzy sort of exhilaration.”
- Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader

“Her music is smartly crafted and complex without feeling stilted or stodgy. It manages to be both visceral and cerebral; it's surprising without sacrificing compositional unity. You can hear a wide range of influences in her writing and playing, and yet you can't say that there's anyone else out there right now making music that sounds like this.”
- Will Mason,

“Ms. Webber is evidently quite blessed with a wry sense of humor. Webber's music, like Anthony Braxton's, is also informed by humor and a sense of the absurd, which makes it all the more inviting despite its cerebral character.”
- Dave Wayne,

• quotes by Anna Webber •

“When I'm putting improvisation into my pieces, which is usually always, I tend to give people pretty strict directions about where and how I want it to go. And then I trust the people I hire to do my music to do whatever they want and fuck around with it, but I generally feel that improvisation should serve the composition. Or that's what I want for my music, at least.”

“When I'm writing a specific piece, I make lists of all the different combinatorial possibilities of orchestration-solos, trios, duos-and then try to use all of those. So I think just being hyperaware of orchestration is something that drives me.”

“Stemming from the [philosophy that] I don't want to have instruments in their traditional roles-or if I do, it's not like that's the role they're in for the whole piece-the thing that I've come to a little bit more recently is trying to use sound and timbre as organizing forces that are as important as harmony, rhythm, melody in my music.”

AKAMU - Anna Webber