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Using internet sources to fuel compositions, including YouTube test channels, memes, and her own IP adress, saxophonist Anna Webber wrote these compositions for her trio with drummer John Hollenbeck and pianist Matt Mitchell to blur the line between composition and improvisation.

Webber's, Anna Simple Trio (Matt Mitchell / John Hollenbeck)

Webber's, Anna Simple Trio (Matt Mitchell / John Hollenbeck): Binary (Skirl)

Label: Skirl    
Released in: USA    

"For Binary, Webber looked to the internet for inspiration. Using websites that turn words into drumbeats, YouTube test channels, and even her own IP address, she found a constant stream of inspiration for her compositions. The album's title track was composed using numbers and letters produced by a random binary digit generator.

When writing the music for Binary, Webber began each piece from a small conceptual starting point. The five "Rectangles" tracks on the album come from the YouTube test channel "WebDriver Torso," which features ten-second videos of red and blue rectangles set to high-pitched, microtonal sounds. With a number of the pieces, she created musical plays-on-words that exude a sense of tension and release, including "Impulse Purchase," which was written using Webber's IP address, and "Tug o' War," a transliteration of the game tug of war into music.

Interested in both the complex as well as the playful aspects of the internet, Webber investigated how the concept of a meme could manifest in a musical context in the aptly titled "Meme." Though the internet provided innumerable opportunities for compositional experimentation, the greatest excitement came from knowing that she was composing for her SIMPLE Trio bandmates Hollenbeck and Mitchell.

"Because we've been playing and touring together as a band as well as in various projects for several years now, our musical interaction has evolved considerably since the last album," said Webber. "John and Matt are incredibly fun to compose for and improvise with because they have the ability to play challenging music in a way that feels relaxed and natural."

Webber's intention in her work is to blur the line between composed and improvised material, creating frameworks for improvisation that will challenge the musicians to expand outside the realm of what they normally play. She is committed to experimenting with the jazz form, pushing her to challenge conventions as well as her own impulses as an artist.

Although Webber situates herself in the jazz world, her compositional approach is as greatly influenced by jazz music as it is by new music composers such as Giacinto Scelsi, Gyorgi Ligeti, and Gerard Grisey. Binary finds the SIMPLE Trio expanding and building on what The New York Times called the "range of the group members: fulminous, intense collective improvisation" in songs that feel like living things and lead the audience in different directions on each listen.

Binary is yet another example of the trio's ability to combine "a huge sound, big ideas and disarming humor into an engagingly avant-garde approach that promises to continue to gain wider recognition," (Style Weekly, 2016)."-Skirl

"Reedist Anna Webber, a Brooklynite by way of British Columbia, is one of the most exciting new arrivals on the New York avant-garde jazz scene in the past couple years. Her second album, SIMPLE, demonstrates the inextricable link between her improvising and her compositions; her detail-rich writing recalls the work of elders as disparate as Tim Berne and Henry Threadgill, and her busy motion evokes a fizzy sort of exhilaration.-Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader

Anna Webber is an integral part of a new wave of the Brooklyn avant-garde jazz scene. A saxophonist and flutist who strives for the unexpected, she has furthermore consistently proven herself to be a unique and forward-thinking composer with releases such as 2014's SIMPLE (Skirl Records) and 2013's Percussive Mechanics. Binary, the follow-up to SIMPLE which features bandmates John Hollenbeck and Matt Mitchell, further establishes Webber as a compelling improvisor and composer."

-Anna Webber Website (

"John Hollenbeck is a composer of music uncategorizable beyond the fact of being always identifiably his. A conceptualist able to translate the traditions of jazz and new music into a fresh, eclectic, forward-looking language of his own invention, intellectually rewarding yet ever accessibly vibrant. A drummer and percussionist possessed of a playful versatility and a virtuosic wit. Most of all, a musical thinker - whether putting pen to paper or conjuring spontaneous sound - allergic to repetition, forever seeking to surprise himself and his audiences. [...]

Hollenbeck received degrees in percussion and jazz composition from the Eastman School of Music before moving to New York City in the early 1990s. He was profoundly shaped by the mentorship of two hugely influential artists: trombonist/arranger/composer Bob Brookmeyer and composer/choreographer Meredith Monk. His relationship with Brookmeyer reached back to the age of 14, when he attended the SUNY Binghamton Summer Jazz Workshop, and continued at Eastman, through NEA-funded composition study, and finally on the bandstand with Brookmeyer's New Art Orchestra and in the studio with Brookmeyer and trumpet great Kenny Wheeler. For Monk, Hollenbeck composed and performed the percussion scores for five of her works: "Magic Frequencies," "Mercy," "The Impermanence Project," "Songs of Ascension" and "On Behalf of Nature."

Hollenbeck's awards and honors include four Grammy nominations; the 2012 Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, the 2010 ASCAP Jazz Vanguard Award and a 2007 Guggenheim Fellowship; winning the Jazz Composers Alliance Composition Contest in 1995 and 2002; Meet the Composer's Grants in 1995 and 2001; and a Rising Star Arranger win in the 2012 and 2013 DownBeat Critics' Polls as well as in 2011 for the JHLE as Rising Star Big Band. John was a professor of Jazz Drums and Improvisation at the Jazz Institute Berlin from 2005-2016 and in 2015 joined the faculty of McGill University's Schulich School of Music."

-John Hollenbeck Website (

"Matt Mitchell is a pianist and composer interested in the intersections of various strains of acoustic, electric, composed, and improvised new music. He currently composes for and leads several ensembles featuring many of the current foremost musicians and improvisers, including Tim Berne, Kim Cass, Caroline Davis, Kate Gentile, Ben Gerstein, Sylvaine Hélary, Jon Irabagon, Travis Laplante, Ava Mendoza, Miles Okazaki, Ches Smith, Chris Speed, Tyshawn Sorey, Chris Tordini, Anna Webber, Dan Weiss, and Katie Young.

He is an anchor member of several significant creative music ensembles which integrate composed and improvised music, including Tim Berne's Snakeoil, the Dave Douglas Quintet, John Hollenbeck's Large Ensemble, Rudresh Mahanthappa's Bird Calls, Jonathan Finlayson's Sicilian Defense, Dan Weiss's Large Ensemble, Steve Coleman's Natal Eclipse, the Darius Jones Quartet, Kate Gentile's Mannequins, Mario Pavone's Blue Dialect Trio, Anna Webber's Simple Trio, Ches Smith's We All Break, Michael Attias' Spun Tree, Ohad Talmor's Grand Ensemble, and Quinsin Nachoff's Flux. He is also among the core performers of John Zorn's Bagatelles.

Musicians with whom he performs and has performed include Jon Irabagon, Chris Lightcap's Bigmouth, John Hollenbeck's Claudia Quintet + 1, JD Allen, Rudresh Mahanthappa and Bunky Green's Apex, Rez Abbasi's Invocation, Lee Konitz, Kenny Wheeler, Ralph Alessi's Baida Quartet, Dave King's Indelicate duo, Amir ElSaffar, Marc Ducret, David Torn, Vernon Reid, Clarence Penn and Penn Station, Linda Oh, Rudy Royston, Allison Miller, Donny McCaslin, Brad Shepik, and Darcy James Argue's Secret Society.

He has taught extensively with the Brooklyn-based School for Improvisational Music, as well as at the New School, NYU, and the Siena Jazz Workshop. He is also a 2015 receipient of a Doris Duke Impact Award and a 2012 recipient of a Pew Fellowship from the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage."

-Matt Mitchell Website (

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Price: $14.95
In Stock


Shipping Weight: 3.00 units

Quantity in Basket: None

Product Information:

UPC: 888295496117

Label: Skirl
Catalog ID: 033
Squidco Product Code: 23088

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2016
Country: USA
Packaging: Skirl Digipack
Recorded at Studio P4 in Berlin, Germany on May 30th and 31st, 2016 by Jean Szyczak and Christian Bader.


Anna Webber-tenor saxophonist, flute

John Hollenbeck-drums

Matt Mitchell-piano

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Track Listing:

1. Rectangles 2 1:10

2. Impulse Purchase 14:30

3. Rectangles 3a 1:37

4. Rectangles 1b 2:49

5. Underhelmed 5:43

6. Tug O' War 9:50

7. Rectangles 3b 1:40

8. Binary 9:24

9. Meme 2:47

10. Disintegratiate 5:53

11. Rectangles 3c 1:10

12. Rectangles 1a 3:35