Webber/Morris Big Band

Anna Webber and Angela Morris have co-led the Webber/Morris Big Band, an ensemble of stellar New York-based improvisers, since 2015. Webber and Morris compose vital, innovative repertoire that incorporates a jazz lineage with the extended techniques of modern improvisers and the compositional breadth of new music. The band’s instrumentation is a jazz staple, but the composers’ respective pieces are equally rooted in minimalism, pop, noise, and other music of the past century. There’s exciting interplay between Webber and Morris’ distinct yet complimentary compositional voices. Both composers are interested in the integration of improvisation and composed material in unpredictable and unorthodox ways, mutating the traditional sound of the big band into something undefinable and mysterious, and using extra-musical sources – such as poetry or mathematics – to form the foundation of new works. Webber and Morris are both saxophonists, and take turns filling the tenor saxophone chair while the other conducts her own works. As a female-directed ensemble, the Webber/Morris Big Band heralds the normalization of women as leaders and composers in jazz and experimental music. The Webber/Morris Big Band release its debut album Both Are True on Greenleaf Music on April 3, 2020.

Anna Webber:
Anna Webber is a New York-based flutist, saxophonist, and composer whose interests and work live in the overlap between avant-garde jazz and new classical music. Her most recent record as a leader, Clockwise, featured a septet comprised of several of the most creative musicians working in New York’s avant-garde, and was released on Pi Recordings (February 2019). Webber is also known for her critically-acclaimed Simple Trio, with John Hollenbeck and Matt Mitchell, with which she has released two albums on Skirl Records. She has performed and/or recorded with projects led by artists such as Dan Weiss, Jen Shyu, Dave Douglas, Matt Mitchell, Ches Smith, John Hollenbeck, and Geof Bradfield, among others. Webber is a 2018 Guggenheim Fellow. She has additionally been awarded grants from the Shifting Foundation (2015)and the New York Foundation for the Arts (2017), and residencies from Exploring the Metropolis (2019), MacDowell Colony (2017), the Millay Colony for the Arts (2015), and the Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts(2014). In 2014 she won the BMI Foundation Charlie Parker Composition Prize as a member of the BMI Jazz Composers’ Workshop.

Angela Morris:
If Brooklyn’s music circles draw a Venn diagram, Angela Morris thrives in the loop between avant-jazz, new music, and pop. As a composer and multi-instrumentalist (known mostly as saxophonist, she grew up playing violin) she has performed throughout North America and Europe. Her vocal group Rallidae has released two albums: Turned, and Was and Paper Birds. TMT, a collaborative trio with Cat Toren on piano and Anthony Taddeo on drums, recently released Asleep in the Dust, an art book/double CD collaboration with visual artist Jerry Birchfield. Skelletes, a quartet co-led with Nathaniel Morgan, Jason Ajemian, and Booker Stardrum will release its debut album later in 2020. She has received grants or fellowships from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Brooklyn Arts Council, Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy of Music, Willapa Bay AiR, the Atlantic Center for the Arts, and the Banff Centre. In addition to her own projects, Morris performs with Jessica Pavone, Myra Melford, and Helado Negro. Since 2016 Morris has organized Brackish – music & art, a monthly, multi-disciplinary, experimental concert series.