Well, add another CD to your stack of favorites for the year. This one is by Peter and Will Anderson—identical saxophone-playing twins in their mid-20s who sound as though they were weaned on vinyl and raised by Woody Herman's sax section. They hail from Washington, D.C., where they were mentored by Paul Carr—a solid local saxophonist and educator with a tough tenor sound.
Then the boys went on to the Juilliard School in New York, playing everywhere and with everyone after graduation. Last year, they performed tributes in New York to Artie Shaw and the Dorsey Brothers—the latter of which sold out for 30 consecutive shows. Peter plays tenor and Will is on alto.
The Andersons' new album, Correspondence (Smalls), is their first as leaders, and what a debut. Their blowing taste and skills are impeccable and frighteningly beyond their years. Their warm tones and levelheadedness on both barn-burners and ballads truly is remarkable.
On the album, there are three originals by Peter and three by Will—with the balance of the CD comprised of tunes by Bud Powell (I'll Keep Loving You), Cole Porter (Get Out of Town), Dizzy Gillespie (Shaw Nuff) and Thad Jones (Slipped Again). To top it off, they're riding with an A-team rhythm section: Kenny Barron on piano, Ben Wolfe on bass and Kenny Washington on drums.
If there's one track that says it all about the dashing quality of these two, it's Go Ahead!—Will's tune. The Cherokee-esque track showcases each saxophonist's leather-smooth technique, warm tone, dexterity and high-speed thinking. But these guys aren't jam session wheel-spinners by any means. Their solos are carefully crafted on the fly—with velvety tones and fleet lines.
This album is so good that songs by the old-timers are actually flat compared to the fizzy melodies and harmonies of their originals. They're two young men who seem to have been implanted with a lifetime of experience at birth. Or at least one large record collection. Now they have the jazz world by the tail. It will be interesting to see how they swing it.
JazzWax tracks: You'll find Peter and Will Anderson's Correspondence (Smalls) here.