“What would Webern’s music sound like if he were a jazz musician living in New York City today?" It’s a question alto saxophonist John O’Gallagher poses in regards to the questing spirit behind The Anton Webern Project a new album featuring adaptations of the music of 12-tone composer Anton Webern performed by O’Gallagher’s seven-piece band. The saxophonist, who hails from California and is best known in the UK for his work with Hans Koller and Jeff Williams, first heard Webern’s music when he studied at Berklee college of music in Boston in the late-1980s. “His music seemed other worldly and shrouded in a mysterious process that no explanation by the teacher could unravel. This seed, planted early on in my musical development, grew into a love and fascination for twentieth century classical music,” O’Gallagher says in the notes that accompany The Anton Webern Project to be released on Whirlwind records in mid-June. “Each of the eight Webern pieces I selected to arrange for this recording,” he adds, “spoke to my imagination as having an unusual kinship and translatable essence to modern jazz and this ensemble in particular.” O’Gallagher is joined by vibraphone player Matt Moran, guitarist Pete McCann, Hammond organist Russ Lossing, double bassist Johannes Weidenmuller, drummer Tyshawn Sorey and singer Margret Grebowicz on the album.
John O’Gallagher above