Fred Anderson Quartet: Recorded Live at the Velvet Lounge
Mr. Anderson possesses a deep, rugged tone while portraying a starkly lyrical yet altogether vigorous approach to his craft while often performing in a workmanlike, no-nonsense manner. Throughout these extended pieces, the saxophonist enjoys fine support from drummer Hamid Drake, bassist Tatsu Aoki and guitarist Jeff Parker for a series of works that includes the full-steam-ahead opener, “Look Out”, and the well-rounded, multidimensional 37-minute improv tour de force, “Road Trip”. From the onset, the band hits you with the impact of a freight train, that can’t slow down yet the musicians have much more up their sleeve, which is evident on “Exotic Dreams”. Here, the great drummer and proponent of multi-layered rhythmic structures, Hamid Drake performs rolling African style fills on his toms as Aoki mangles his bass strings with artful passion while Parker strums steely edged chords and displays a keen penchant for harmonics. With “Jeffs Turnaround” the band engages some solid rock-funk grooves as Anderson blows fervent lines in the classic R&B tradition yet injects odd-metered nuance and clever phraseology into this mixed bag of vibrant soul/jazz drenched themes.
All in all an extremely supercharged set, yet it did take me awhile to acquire a comfort zone with guitarist Jeff Parker’s choppy and somewhat fragmented lead soloing although the guitarist does exhibit a seemingly encyclopedic knowledge of jazz chords as he expertly comps and articulates unorthodox lines. Hence, Live at the Velvet Lounge Volume 2 represents gritty, hard driving jazz complete with all of the niceties and forceful impact most would expect from Mr. Anderson and his associates. - A strong and thoroughly – happening – event documented for our listening pleasure!
* * * 1/2 (out of * * * * *)
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Record Label: Asian Improv Records
Style: Modern Jazz