John O’Gallagher – The Anton Webern Project

Free, abstract, different. Those are some of the terms that describe the music of Austrian composer Anton Webern – played as if he were a jazz musician. That’s the thinking by The Anton Webern Project (Whirlwind Recordings, 2013) by John O’Gallagher.

The lineup is O’Gallagher, alto saxophone; Matt Moran, vibraphone; Pete McCann, guitar; Russ Lossing, Hammond organ, Rhodes and piano; Johannes Weidenmuller, bass; Tyshawn Sorey, drums; and Margret Grebowicz, voice.

“Schnell (after Op. 27)” shows O’Gallagher’s skill as a straightforward, no-holds-barred saxophonist. He charges in and doesn’t let up until it’s time to give way to Lossing’s organ. Guitar, bass and drums are quite busy behind whoever’s in lead. For his part, it’s a wonder Lossing doesn’t start a fire with all the friction he creates on the keys. Moran doesn’t have much to do until near the end of the song, when he and O’Gallagher share the spotlight briefly, before the vibes take point on the fade.

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