NEC Jazz Orchestra: The Music of Anna Webber and Angela Morris

NEC: Jordan Hall | Directions

290 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA
United States

In 2015, Anna Webber and Angela Morris brought together their arsenal of skills as composers-performers-conductors to form the Webber/Morris Big Band, an ensemble of eighteen stellar New York improvisers who bring their combined artistic vision into reality. Their debut album, Both Are True, was named as one of the top 10 jazz albums of 2020 by the New York Times. Their music, though scored for traditional jazz big band, is rooted in minimalism, noise, pop, and the sounds of today. Integrating improvisation and composed material in unorthodox ways and using extra-musical sources - such as poetry or mathematics – here the traditional big band sound mutates into something unpredictable and exciting. In this concert at Jordan Hall, Webber and Morris will conduct the NEC Jazz Orchestra playing the repertoire of the Webber/Morris Big Band. Webber serves as Co-chair of NEC’s Jazz Studies Department along with Ken Schaphorst.

Angela Morris and Anna Webber will conduct their own works.

Angela Morris and Anna Webber

If Brooklyn’s music circles draw a venn diagram, Angela Morris thrives in the loop between avant-jazz, new music, and pop. As composer and multi-instrumentalist, (known mostly as saxophonist, she grew up playing violin) she has performed throughout North America and Europe everywhere from basements to arenas.
        The Webber|Morris Big Band, her 18-piece jazz big band, performs original compositions by Morris and co-leader Anna Webber. The New York Times praised their “ambitious original compositions” and “jagged-edged band that has begun to turn musicians’ heads.” Their debut recording Both Are True (Greenleaf Music) was released in 2020 and featured on several Best of 2020 lists including The New York Times, Bandcamp, and NPR Jazz Critics Poll.
        Morris’ vocal group Rallidae has released two albums: 2016’s Turned, and Was on the NYC-based label Gold Bolus Recordings and 2014’s Paper Birds, which AllAboutJazz called “a genuinely distinctive, and entertaining, combination of sounds and words… An exceptional debut by and exciting and innovative new band.”
        As a co-leader, Morris is a member of TMT, a trio with Cat Toren on piano and Anthony Taddeo on drums, who recently released Asleep in the Dust—an art book and double CD collaboration with visual artist Jerry Birchfield. Another collaborative trio, Motel released like you always do, I always did too (Prom Night Records) 2017. And the band Skellettes with Nathaniel Morgan (saxophone), Jason Ajemian (bass) and Booker Stardrum (drums) performed at Winter Jazzfest in 2020.
        Since 2016, Morris has organized the monthly, multi-disciplinary, experimental concert series Brackish—music & art in Brooklyn.
        Morris has performed with Jessica Pavone String Ensemble (appearing on her records Brick and Mortar and Lost and Found), Myra Melford, Jason Ajemian, and many others. She is a frequent collaborator and touring band member with Helado Negro, appearing on his records Far In, Private Energy (Expanded), This is How You Smile, and Helado Negro and the Smile Band – Live at KCRW.
        A 2019 Composer Fellow at Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy of Music, Morris has also been artist-in-residence at Willapa Bay AiR, the Atlantic Center for the Arts, and the Banff Centre. She holds an MA in Music Composition from the Aaron Copland School of Music at CUNY Queens College in New York and BA in Jazz Studies from Humber College in Toronto. She is an alumna of the BMI Jazz Composer’s Workshop lead by Jim McNeely and studied composition with Darcy James Argue.

Anna Webber is a flutist, saxophonist, and composer whose interests and work live in the aesthetic overlap between avant-garde jazz and new classical music. Her new album, Shimmer Wince, explores Just Intonation in a jazz setting, and is a follow-up to her critically-acclaimed release Idiom. That album earned Webber the accolade of being named the top composer of the year by JazzTimes in 2021. Her music has been called "visionary and captivating," (Wall Street Journal), and “heady music [that] appeals to the rest of the body” (NPR). Her album Clockwise was voted #6 Best Album of 2019 in the NPR Jazz Critics Poll, and her 2020 release, Both Are True (Greenleaf Music), co-led with saxophonist/composer Angela Morris, was named a top ten best
release of 2020 by The New York Times. She was recently named a 2021 Berlin Prize Fellow and was voted the top “Rising Star” flutist in the 2020 Downbeat Critic’s Poll.

         The band featured on Shimmer Wince is a new group, consisting of Adam O’Farrill on trumpet, Mariel Roberts on cello, Elias Stemeseder on synthesizer, and Lesley Mok on drums.  A prolific bandleader, Webber also has been working with her Simple Trio, featuring John Hollenbeck and Matt Mitchell, for over a decade, as well as leading many other groups, such as a large ensemble, a septet, and the afore-mentioned big band. She has performed and/or recorded with projects led by artists such as Dan Weiss, Roscoe Mitchell, Ranja Swaminathan, Jen Shyu, Dave Douglas, Matt Mitchell, Ches Smith, John Hollenbeck, and Trevor Dunn, among others.
        Webber is a 2018 Guggenheim Fellow. She has additionally been honored with the Margaret Whitton Award (administered by the Jazz Gallery); grants from the Copland Fund  (2021 and 2019), the Shifting Foundation (2015), the New York Foundation for the Arts (2017), the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, and the Canada Council for the Arts; and residencies from Exploring the Metropolis (2019), the MacDowell Colony (2017 and 2020), the Millay Colony for the Arts (2015), and the Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts (2014). Webber is originally from British Columbia.


This is an in-person event with a private stream available to the NEC community here:

  1. Angela Morris | Habitual

  2. Angela Morris | And it Rolled Right Down

  3. Anna Webber | EINS!

  4. Anna Webber | Just Intonation Etude for Big Band #3: Metaphor


  6. Angela Morris | Coral

  7. Anna Webber | Spur 7: Metamorphosis

  8. Angela Morris | Microchimera

  9. Anna Webber | Climbing on Mirrors


    NEC Jazz Orchestra

    Ken Schaphorst, director

    Anna Webber, flute (Microchimera)
    Zack Bacak, alto saxophone, flute

    Lenka Molcanyiova, alto saxophone, recorder
    Logan From, tenor saxophone, flute, clarinet
    Hunter McKay, tenor saxophone, clarinet
    Matt Wessner, baritone saxophone, bass clarinet

    Richard Stanmeyer
    Woody Pierre                               

    Koki Renwick
    Sammy Davies


    Aiden Coleman
    Cooper Malanowski  
    Yimin Ji
    Weza Jamson-Neto, bass trombone

    Longfei Li, piano
    Peikun Liu, guitar
    Nick Isherwood, bass
    Dominic Vance, drums

    Jeff Sagurton, vibraphone