and drummer Ajaramuaka AJ Sheltonwho have both since passed away) flies blissfully to new heights for piano-less sax trios. To call Anderson a member of the free jazz movement produces an incomplete picture. His technical facility and penchant for swinging is more influenced by Coleman Hawkins
. Even an unaccompanied solo homage, "Ode To Clifford Jordan," links to swing while also delving into motific development and the total range of the tenor sax: clear low notes at the bottom register to improbably high altissimo notes perfectly in tune.
"Malachi's Tune" starts, appropriately enough, with Favors laying down a swinging groove with a beautifully spirit-lifting tinge of New Orleans second-line march. Anderson soars and swoops through the bouncy rhythm section, sometimes riffing à la the Basie band, other times with the speed and accuracy of John Coltrane
but he is his own mana firestoker, sensitive accompanist and creative soloist. "Our Theme" begins with a drum solo that lures listeners in with its mysterious, spacious feel. When Favors enters the temperature increases and then Anderson's arrival turns the tune into a burning comet. Lest it be thought that this piece is out of control, Anderson leads the trio through a short, snappy coda that demonstrates the perfect musical chemistry and sympathy between the three musicians.
"Wandering," "Saxoon" and "Bernice" feature yearning, languid melodies and gorgeous writing where bass plays more of a second horn role. "Saxoon" might have the deepest solo from the leader, running the gamut from lyric to fierce, riffing to explosive, controlled swinging to super-fast flurries of notes. This trio produced a masterpiece over 15 years ago. For those interested in investigating Anderson's great playing and original compositions, Black Horn Long Gone is an outstanding place to start.
Track Listing: Wandering; Our Theme; Saxoon; Three on Two; Bernice; The Strut Time; Malachi's Tune; Ode to Clifford Jordan.
Personnel: Fred Anderson: tenor saxophone; Malachi Favors Maghoustut: acoustic bass; Ajaramu (AJ Shelton): drums.