Fred Anderson: Black Horn Long Gone (2010)

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Fred Anderson: Black Horn Long Gone
Fred Anderson is one of today's most powerful and singular saxophonists. Recorded in 1993, this trio (with bassist Malachi Favors
Malachi Favors
Malachi Favors
1937 - 2004
bass, acoustic
and drummer Ajaramu—aka AJ Shelton—who 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
Coleman Hawkins
Coleman Hawkins
1904 - 1969
sax, tenor
, Lester Young
Lester Young
Lester Young
1909 - 1959
saxophone
and Charlie Parker
Charlie Parker
Charlie Parker
1920 - 1955
sax, alto
. 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
John Coltrane
John Coltrane
1926 - 1967
saxophone
or Johnny Griffin
Johnny Griffin
Johnny Griffin
1928 - 2008
sax, tenor
. Ajaramu's drumming is interesting, unique, perhaps closer to Ed Blackwell
Ed Blackwell
Ed Blackwell
1929 - 1992
drums
than Jimmy Cobb
Jimmy Cobb
Jimmy Cobb
b.1929
drums
but he is his own man—a 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.

Record Label: Southport Records

Style: Modern Jazz


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