Friday, February 10, 2017

Jazz saxophonists dig the Great American Songbook - and much more

Saxophonists Peter and Will Anderson are steeped in the jazz and Great American Songbook classics, but their material is never fenced in by that repertoire.

Peter and Will Anderson
Such was the case on Friday, February 10 when they performed at a South County Jazz Club matinee concert with guitarist Felix Lemerle.

The twin brothers brought an arsenal of instruments, with Peter (the older by 10 minutes) playing tenor sax and clarinet, and Will (the taller by 1 1/2 inches), playing alto sax, clarinet and flute. Lemerle's masterful guitar work included melodic solos, rhythm guitar as needed, and a bit of percussion by tapping his fingers on the guitar neck. Lemerle performed as guitar, bass and drums all rolled into one.

Peter Anderson, Felix Lemerle, Will Anderson
The 29-year-old Andersons, Washington DC natives now based in New York City, shifted between instruments with ease as the tunes required. At times, they played clarinets together, blended the saxes, performed tenor/flute or tenor/clarinet, alto/clarinet combinations. They'd only been working steadily with Paris native Lemerle for less than a month, but you'd never know it listening to this fine trio.

The Andersons opened the show with a twin-clarinet version of Artie Shaw's "Begin the Beguine," which quickly revealed their uncanny ability to perform on their instruments as one, to offer some counterpoint, or to quickly shift roles between soloist and accompanist.

Their standard fare was supplemented by Duke Ellington's little-heard "Purple Gazelle," Blue Mitchell's "Fungii Mama" (given a Caribbean lilt with tenor sax, flute and guitar), and Horace Silver's "Sister Sadie," with the Anderson brothers going head to head on tenor and alto saxes. 

Their two-set concert also featured one original from each brother: Peter's ballad "Rachel," written for his wife, and Will's more uptempo "Fresque Vu."

Peter and Felix's tenor sax-and-guitar take on Hoagy Carmichael's "Stardust" was beautiful.
Will Anderson

Their first-set closer, "Appalachian Mountain Song," written by their good friend Kyle Athayde, was a gem. Featuring the brothers on clarinets,  its textures and rhythms made it sound like it was inspired by the Appalachian Round song form, and perhaps a bit of shape-note singing.

Peter Anderson
Felix Lemerle

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