Anna Webber Credit: Evan Shay

Invoking the clock in a musical context raises certain expectations about timekeeping, but composer and woodwind player Anna Webber subverts them on her new Clockwise (Pi). She rarely has percussionist Ches Smith play a steady groove for long—instead he rushes the tempo, changes cadences, drops in brief silences, and switches constantly among vibes, timpani, and drum kit. The rest of the six-piece ensemble negotiates similarly unpredictable terrain. But the album remains true to its title in this respect: its pieces could not unfold in any other sequence. Inspired by the percussion music of contemporary classical composers, including Edgard Varèse, John Cage, and Karlheinz Stockhausen, Webber’s intricate compositions are full of movement and color. But since she is equally indebted to jazz, even the most irregular constructions imply a sense of swing. Webber displays a similar commitment to structural integrity and timbral complexity through her flute and tenor saxophone playing, so even though she won’t be bringing her sextet out to Chicago, you can expect music that’s just as rigorous and complete as if presented by the whole group. For this concert, part of Experimental Sound Studio’s Option series, Webber will perform solo, then improvise with bassoonist Katherine Young; to close the evening, she’ll participate in a salon-style discussion of her work.   v