Anna Webber and Angela Morris – two composers/performers who strive overturn expectations in their music for the 18-piece big band – have co-led this ensemble of stellar New York-based improvisers since 2015. 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 or so. 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. It also happens that both women are also adept saxophonists who take turns filling the tenor chair while the other conducts her own works.
The Webber/Morris Big Band’s debut performance in August of 2015 was to a packed house at Threes Brewing in Brooklyn, and they have gone on to play several other venues in the NYC and Eastern Seaboard regions.