Jazz virtuosos Peter and Will Anderson return to play Gershwin hits at the Harwood
Peter and Will Anderson are back in Taos for their fourth year in a row. At the Harwood Museum of Art, Friday (May 4), the concert title is “Jazz: The Anderson Brothers Play Gershwin.” The show begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Arthur Bell Auditorium at the Harwood, 238 Ledoux Street.
AmyRankin is the coordinator of public programs at the Harwood. She said the Anderson brothers inquired about a booking four years ago because they were doing a tour that would put them in the vicinity.
“When I looked into their music and experience,” she said, “I found that they are very accomplished and highly regarded in the jazz world. They put on a very high-quality concert. They are charming, engaging, gracious and just generally really nice guys.”
The sibling musicians actually comprise a trio. The Anderson twins will play reed instruments, such as the clarinet and flute, as well as alto, tenor, and soprano saxophone. Parisian Felix Lemerle will accompany them on an acoustic, hollow body guitar, and he’ll be using an amplifier.
“That’s kind of the way jazz musicians have played,” Will Anderson said in a phone interview. “Charlie Christian, who playedwith Benny Goodman, was one of the first to introduce an acoustic-electric guitar. It has a really beautiful sound.”
The press announcement states that TheNew York Times called the Anderson brothers “virtuosos on clarinet and saxophone.” Known for their unique renditions of classic jazz songs and innovative original music, they live in
Friday (May 4) 7:30 p.m. Harwood Museum of Art, 238 Ledoux Street Tickets $15, $12 members (575) 758-9826 with Parisian guitarist Felix Lemerle in center. NewYork where they graduated from the Juilliard School. They have headlined at preeminent venues, such as The Blue Note, Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center in Washington,D.C., and the New Orleans Jazz Festival, to name a few.
Their appearance in Taos is made possible, in part, by a lodging sponsorship from The Taos Inn and a grant from The Richard B. Siegel Foundation.
Will Anderson reflected on the trio’s past performances in Taos, “We always get a great audience, very passionate fans of music and jazz. We love Taos.”
He noted that before, the jazz trio didn’t have a particular concert theme. They naturally play a lot of the Great American Songbook, such as Cole Porter and Richard Rodgers. “So this particular time we wanted to focus on George Gershwin. He has so many gems: ‘Rhapsody inBlue’ and ‘Summertime.’ We haveawhole program planned. He’s probably one of our favorite composers.”
As guest clinicians, the Anderson brothers have visited Temple University, Xavier University, and University of South
Florida, among many other colleges. They feel very comfortable sharing their knowledge of jazz in an affable way.
“When we perform, we interject with fun facts about the music: also, what we love about it and how it evolved from New Orleans starting with Louis Armstrong. We take an intermission and talk to the audience afterward. We love educating new, interested parties who don’t knowa lot about jazz. But in Taos, they are very knowledgeable about jazz,” Anderson said.
The Andersons may be identical twins, but their co-career path was a natural evolution rather than a deliberate choice. Their parents, who are teachers, would take the young brothers from their home in Washington, D.C. to NewYork City for the holidays.
There they would attend jazz performances at hallowed grounds, such as the Village Vanguard. They even got to meet some professionals.
“We reallywanted to be in NewYork City after high school. It just worked out. We feel very lucky. Being inNew York was the catalyst for what a life engulfed in jazz music feels like,” Will Anderson said.
People confuse the twin brothers all the time. Even friends who are close with them in the music community can’t tell them apart visually, but can tell the brothers apart musically. “There’s something about jazz music that allows for somuch freedom,” he said. “We’ve developed different styles of playing.”
The clarinet was instrumental (no pun intended) in the formation of jazz music. It has a low-to-high range andawoody sound that can vibrate. “It’s a free sound,” Anderson said. “It can go in a lot of different directions; it is very easy to bend the sound up or down.”
On the flip side, the saxophone was created as an attempt to be louder than the clarinet. “Sonny Rollins played the tensor sax, and he had a huge sax,” he said. “His playing is going to be a lot louder than clarinet players Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw. We embrace both.”
In 2014, the Anderson brothers staged an Off-Broadwaymusic review that was nominated for a Drama Desk Award. This summer, for the entirety of August, they will stage their next Off-Broadway production at the acoustically revered Symphony Space in Manhattan. The show will celebrate four American composers: Irving Berlin, Hoagy Carmichael, Jerome Kern and JimmyVan Heusen.
“There is a growing wave of younger jazz musicians who are playing more of the classics. In jazzmusic, there are a lot of different types of jazz, and recently, there is a renaissance to rediscover the Great American Songbook. One goal is to keep younger people engaged. We’ve been on tour for a month and have been visiting a dozen high schools. We love talking to younger students who are into jazz and educate them about these composers,” Anderson said.
Tickets to the Anderson’s jazz showare $15, $12 formuseum members. Formore information, call (575) 758-9826 or visit harwoodmuseum.org.
THE ANDERSON BROTHERS,