A while back, on the recommendation of a singer friend in New York, I dropped by the Royal Room in Columbia City to see Peter and Will Anderson, an unusual duo of exuberant reed players who also happen to be identical twins. I am happy to report they are coming back to town.
If you like an occasional dose of upbeat, insouciant swing-to-bop jazz — in the mode of, say, John Pizzarelli –you will love these guys as much as I did. They are sparkling virtuosos and their clever, tidy arrangements for various combinations of clarinet, alto and tenor saxophone are smart and refreshing.
Last time they were here, the twins got an able assist from Seattle guitarist Milo Petersen. For their return Seattle engagements — a shared triple bill Monday at the Royal Room and and their own show Tuesday at the Triple Door — they are bringing their regular guitarist, Alex Wintz.
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., the Peterson brothers toured the U.K. when they were only 15. After studying at Juilliard, in New York, they settled there. Their talents have been called upon by an impressive but not surprising roster of greats, from Wynton Marsalis to the Village Vanguard Orchestra.
Though they play in vintage styles — think Artie Shaw and Don Byas to Dexter Gordon and Buddy DeFranco — there is never anything thrift store-ish about what they do. On the contrary, everything they play sounds fresh, creative and in the moment. Like tenor saxophonist Scott Hamilton, they favor a smooth, elided, swinging approach on their instruments, which makes everything they do sound easy –which of course it isn’t.
On their most recent album, “Reed Reflections,” they do a bangup version of “Cherokee” based on the classic Bud Powell recording. When one brother is soloing, the other supports with spare staccato lines, trills or counterlines. The way they interact and toss in sudden surprises of harmonic color is reminiscent of vintage small groups led by Nat Cole Trio and Phil Moore. Wintz’s guitar fleshes out the sound, creating a lush, large sound.
But whether it’s the angular accents of Thelonious Monk’s “Bye Ya” or the impossibly fleet licks of “Cherokee,” these guys flood the room with joy.
Peter and Will Anderson, M.A.R.C., T’Monde
8 p.m. Monday at the Royal Room, 5000 Rainier Ave. S., Seattle; no cover (206-906-9920 or
Peter and Will Anderson
7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Triple Door, 216 Union St., Seattle; $15 (206-838-4333 or