about the project

“Anchor Points" is an album of collaboratively interpreted standards, arrangements, and original compositions. Since meeting through the New York City jazz scene a decade ago, pianist Russell Kranes, bassist Sam Weber, guitarist Alex Levine, and drummer Jay Sawyer have performed together for thousands of hours across a multitude of musical contexts. In doing so, they have developed deep chemistry and a collective musical identity, all of which is the centerpiece of "Anchor Points, "their debut recording. The album contains two iterations of the band: a quartet, and a stripped down trio with piano, guitar, and bass - a nod to the classic instrumentation utilized by the likes of Oscar Peterson and Nat King Cole, as well as the instrumentation in which Russell, Alex, and Sam initially played together. Individually, each member of the ensemble is both a seasoned performer (the list of venues on the group's collective resume includes every major jazz club in New York City and many abroad), and a devout student of the masters of this music; the band's mentors include Geri Allen, Rodney Jones, Miles Okazaki, Henry Grimes, Fred Hersch, Billy Hart, and many others. The intention of this recording, besides capturing and celebrating years of musical camaraderie and connection, is to pay homage to these masters and build upon their profound tradition. In this spirit, the selections on the album range from lesser-known American Songbook tunes, to Brazilian standards, to contrafacts, original compositions, and even a favorite Billy Joel song. Each musician strives to imbue spirit and honesty, with the hope that each listener can discover a deeper connection to their own concept of life's beauty.


Recorded at Wash ‘n Dry Studio February 18 and 19, 2022
Studio Engineering and Mixing by Bennett Paster
Mastering by Eivind Opsvik