Peter and Will Anderson, 31 year old identical twins, are exceptionally talented jazz musicians (Peter on the tenor sax, soprano sax, and clarinet, and Will on the alto sax, clarinet and flute). Together they currently are presenting this year’s Songbook Summit, a homage to four of the greatest American songwriters of the last century: Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, Hoagy Carmichael, and Jimmy Van Heusen.
In Songbook Summit, the twins are devoting a week of performances to each of the four composers at Symphony Space’s Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theater on Broadway on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Each show runs 90 minutes without intermission and consists not only of musical performances by the twins but also video presentations, Al Hirschfeld drawings, and informative narration by Will regarding the subject of that week’s performances. In their musical performances, the twins are backed up by Tardo Hammer or Steve Ash on the piano, Clovis Nicolas on the acoustic bass, Phil Stewart on the drums, and Molly Ryan on vocals.
The first of the four programs (which ran from August 7 through August 12) was devoted to Irving Berlin, arguably the greatest American songwriter in history and it was really terrific. It began with a wonderful rendition of Alexander’s Ragtime Band and concluded with a very creative arrangement of Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better, in which call and response were between Molly Ryan (vocally) and the Anderson twins (instrumentally). Also included in the program were great performances of Puttin On the Ritz, There’s No Business Like Show Business, Blue Skies, Isn’t This a Lovely Day, White Christmas, Always, and I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm.
The Irving Berlin program has now drawn to a close so if you missed it, I’m afraid you’re out of luck. But you still can get tickets to the Jerome Kern program which will be running from August 14-19; the Hoagy Carmichael program which will be running from August 21-26; and the Jimmy Van Heusen program which will be running from August 28-September 2. And if those programs turn out to be anywhere near as good as the Irving Berlin program was, you won’t be disappointed.