Q. Is there a lot of competition for Jazz musicians today?
Will: Yeah, there’s a lot of competition, but I don’t always necessarily view it as competing against other artists. We’re lucky to be involved in an art form where everyone really loves what they’re doing. So when you have a scenario like that, it’s naturally going to be competitive environment, where there are a lot of artists who love what they do and are trying to get out there.
I like to Jazz together with classical music because both of those art forms are similar and are not popular forms of music these days—there was a time when popular music and jazz overlapped, primarily in the '30s and '40s, but we’re not really in that time right now.
We’re always looking to spread great jazz music to people who wouldn’t otherwise hear it, because that’s a passion of ours and when we give performances, we want to stay true to what inspires us specifically, but we also want to make it accessible to other people and we want them to enjoy it. I think the music usually speaks for itself and it’s kind of a wholesome art form.
You recently performed on the hit TV show, Boardwalk Empire, as part of Vince Giordano's big band. How did that experience influence your careers?
Pete: Vince is one of our good friends. He’s a really hard worker and very passionate about classic jazz. So I definitely think we’ve learned a lot from him. He’s very charismatic on stage, he’s very positive, he’s not one of these people who’s casting a negative image over the music. And it’s been great to see him work—he’s been running his band for 40 years and he’s been in major movies and held major performances at places like jazz at Lincoln center and so he’s definitely a positive force for jazz.
Is it frustrating that young people today don't seem to be very interested in Jazz?
Will: It’s always a big goal of ours to introduce jazz to people who wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to it and that especially applies to the younger generations. In my opinion, I think that one of the difficult parts is that a lot of young talented minds aren’t exposed to this music as much as they should be.
Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City has done with a lot to address this in their educational programs, but this music is so intellectually stimulating and demands a lot of skills - if you’re not exposed to it, it’s not necessarily going to be a focus for young people, which is unfortunate. But if they’re just exposed to it a little bit, it makes a huge difference. Yeah so I am frustrated, but it also just means that there’s kind of like a huge possibility for us to make a difference.
As twins, do you have different tastes and view points on music?
Will: Well we have definitely been playing together a long time which makes a huge difference. I could make the analogy of tennis players playing doubles tennis - the players have to be really in tune with how the other person is going to react.
But it’s funny - a lot of people can tell us apart by our playing and not by our faces. If they close their eyes and hear us play they can immediately tell the difference. Now maybe to the uneducated listener we would sounds similar, but we’re both influenced by a lot of the same artists, but yeah, I mean there’s no way that we’re going to sound the same no matter how hard we try, we’ve transcribed different recordings, practiced different things, played in different gigs
Tell us about your new album and the influences for creating it.
Will: The record we recorded yesterday is a quintet album called Déjà Vu and the majority of the album is all original music.
Pete: We have four original pieces each on the album and then we have three standards.
Will: Our musical influences, are largely musicians like Charlie Parker, Dexter Gordon, Art Blakey and others from the 1950s and 60s. We’ve been writing music for a long time now and it’s definitely a passion of ours and we definitely wrote the music with the guys in the band in mind.
Pete and Will's new album Déjà Vu can be found here.
Peter and Will Anderson
"Virtuosos on clarinet and saxophone,” (New York Times) Bethesda, Maryland natives Peter and Will Anderson at a very young age were drawn to the music of Charlie Parker, Lester Young, and John Coltrane. They toured the United Kingdom at age 15, and after several years of study with saxophonist Paul Carr, Peter and Will attended Juilliard in New York City, where they currently reside. They’ve performed with jazz greats Jimmy Heath, James Moody, Hank Jones, Clark Terry, Frank Wess and Benny Golson.
Peter and Will have headlined at Jazz at Lincoln Center, D.C.’s Blues Alley, the New Orleans Jazz Festival, Sarasota, Florida Jazz Festival, South Carolina’s Jazz Corner, Seattle’s Triple Door, Iowa’s Bix Beiderbecke Festival, Miami’s SMDCAC Arts Center, and Phoenix’s The Nash. Their ensemble has performed in twenty-six U.S. States, toured Japan, and featured four times in the famed “Highlights in Jazz” series, alongside legends Lou Donaldson, the Heath Brothers, and Wycliffe Gordon.