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Anna Webber: Clockwise (Pi)

A review of flutist/saxophonist's first album with a new, larger group

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Clockwise by Anna Webber
Cover of Clockwise by Anna Webber

Flutist and saxophonist Anna Webber has a penchant for the elastic and mangled. On 2014’s Simple and 2016’s Binary, both released via Chris Speed’s Skirl Records, she directed the rhythmic traffic of her not so “Simple Trio”—pianist Matt Mitchell and drummer John Hollenbeck—to head-spinning heights. For this album, her Pi debut, she’s upped the über-knotty ante even further with a progressive-minded, odd-time-signature-laden hybrid.

Webber goes big on Clockwise, introducing a new group with thicker dynamics and a continued command of structural complexities. Mitchell, Jeremy Viner (tenor saxophone, clarinet), Jacob Garchik (trombone), Christopher Hoffman (cello), Chris Tordini (bass), and Ches Smith (drums, vibraphone, timpani) help her realize the set’s ambitious goal: to pay tribute to various works for percussion by several of her 20th-century composer heroes. Passages from compositions by Xenakis, Feldman, Varèse, Stockhausen, Babbitt, and Cage become launch pads, as Webber and her deft unit probe for material to be reimagined.

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