Peter and Will Anderson - Correspondence
srcd-0053 (UPC 823511005322 jazz cd)
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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 Julliard 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 principle 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.
-- Robert Levin, interviewed in All About Jazz
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. They knew and loved the Jazz that developed during the first decades of the Twentieth Century, and they knew and loved BeBop and its descendant styles. Unprecedented? How about miraculous! Peter and Will Anderson are different. Of course, the most obvious reason to Peter and Will being so different is that they're the same. They are the Anderson Twins, identical twins. I got tripped up by that myself - more than once. Early on, Will Anderson told me that he was subbing frequently in Vince Giordano's Nighthawks. I was impressed 'cause Vince don't take no stuff. Sure enough, the next time I heard the Nighthawks, there was young Anderson wailing away in Mark Lopeman's tenor sax chair. I offered my compliments during an intermission. The next time I saw Will, he didn't seem to remember the event. Then it clicked: I had heard brother Peter Anderson playing in Vince Giordano's Nighthawks. Soon thereafter, Peter (tenor sax) and Will (alto sax) Anderson were my students in the Origins of Jazz, a graduate level course that I teach at Juilliard. I was always thankful when an alto sax or tenor sax case sat at the feet of my prized and different pupils. Peter and Will Anderson were surely different students: they both received 'A's.
-- Phil Schaap