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MUSIC AND THE CREATIVE SPIRIT

Fred Anderson: In Loving Memory....

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I had the opportunity to interview with Fred Anderson on several occasions. In each instance I walked away with the feeling that I was a better person for the time I spent with him. It was his wisdom, his generosity of spirit, his knowingness that our time here on this planet was short at best, and his humble appreciation to have been able to play music during this lifetime.He had a gentle soul that was much larger than life, and his sound and spirit reached far beyond the realm of this universe. His passing digs deep and severed ...

ARTIST PROFILES

Fred Anderson: 1929-2010

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There aren't many artists with so singular a vision as that of late Fred Anderson, who died June 24 at the age of 81. There are fewer to be certain if the list is restricted to members of that exalted and nebulous class called “masters." It's a word that, in jazz, gets thrown around a little too casually. A master composer might excel at writing for string quartet as well as symphony. A master musician might be fluent in a variety of instruments. But a mastery like Anderson's is harder to quantify. For much of his career, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Fred Anderson: Black Horn Long Gone

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Fred Anderson is one of today's most powerful and singular saxophonists. Recorded in 1993, this trio (with bassist Malachi Favors 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, Lester Young and Charlie Parker. 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 ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Fred Anderson: Birthday Live 2000 and 21st Century Chase

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Fred Anderson Trio Birthday Live 2000 Asian Improv 2009 Fred Anderson 21st Century Chase Delmark 2009

Of all the players who have come through Fred Anderson's training ground in Chicago, none has been more closely identified with him than drummer Hamid Drake. But as demand for Drake's services has grown, so has his time away from Chicago and it's drummer Chad Taylor who has filled the void. Not coincidentally, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Fred Anderson: 21st Century Chase

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There are few more thrilling sounds in jazz than the twin tenors of Fred Anderson and Kidd Jordan in aerobatic flight. Though they play together in person on at least an annual basis, including headline appearances at the Vision Festival in 2005 and 2008, this is the first time they have appeared together on disc since the classic Two Days in April (Eremite, 1999). Anderson came up with the title in homage to a storied encounter between Dexter Gordon and Wardell Gray, and also as an allusion to how he and Jordan simultaneously complement and feed off of each other.

DVD/VIDEO/FILM REVIEWS

Fred Anderson: 21st Century Chase

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Fred Anderson 21st Century Chase Delmark Records 2009

Saxophonist Fred Anderson turned 80 on March 22, 2009 and celebrated the occasion with a concert at The Velvet Lounge in Chicago. He called in fellow tenor player Kidd Jordan, bassist/cellist Harrison Bankhead, guitarist Jeff Parker and drummer Chad Taylor to join him. What transpired was a hot, steamy barrage of music, ignited by two senior citizens of improvised music, which has been released on DVD and CD.

Jordan, who was 74 at the time, is the progenitor, playing with rapid fire intensity while ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Fred Anderson: 21st Century Chase

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To quote Roger Daltry of The Who, from 1965:

Why don't you all f-fade away (Talkin' 'bout my generation) And don't try to dig what we all s-s-say (Talkin' 'bout my generation) I'm not trying to cause a big s-s-sensation (Talkin' 'bout my generation) I'm just talkin' 'bout my g-g-g-generation (Talkin' 'bout my generation) This is my generation. This is my generation, baby.

It's not likely that anyone was thinking about the line, “I hope I die before I get old," at Fred Anderson's 80th birthday bash, a week-long celebration. Because, the seemingly eternal saxophonist continues to roll, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Fred Anderson: 21st Century Chase

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Fred Anderson celebrated his 80th birthday in March 2009, performing with long time friend and collaborator Kidd Jordan (tenor saxophone), Jeff Parker (guitar), Harrison Bankhead (bass) and Chad Taylor (drums) at his celebrated Chicago club, The Velvet Lounge.

Anderson has not recorded much in the past few years, and so every recording by him is an event. Here it becomes all the more vital, standing as a testament to the power that he and Jordan can still invest in their playing, which is quite unbelievable. Harking back to the good old days of the “chase," Anderson and Jordan ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Fred Anderson: Staying in the Game

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Tenor saxophonist Fred Anderson, one of the founding members of the Associateion for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) has a spotty recording output. This creative force in free jazz has made amends over the last five years with strong CDs including Timeless: Live at the Velvet Lounge (Delmark, 2006), Back Together Again (Thrill Jockey, 2004) and From the River to the Ocean (Thrill Jockey, 2007), on which he showed that he could still play with creative energy. He continues Staying in the Game with bassist Harrison Bankhead and drummer Tim Daisy.

Anderson plays with compact, yet understated ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Fred Anderson: Staying in the Game

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Bassist Harrison Bankhead and drummer Tim Daisy open with a rhythmic standard for tenor saxophonist Fred Anderson in Staying In The Game. An innate sense of melody springs from Anderson, a pure-tone player if there ever was one. But even more noteworthy is the ease with which Anderson improvises on one set of phrases.

“Sunday Afternoon" absorbs nearly half of the recording. Mastery of his musicianship over sixty years allows Anderson to manufacture unstoppable variations on his first back-and-forth, up-and-down musical picture that sets itself squarely in the musical hammock that Bankhead and Daisy keep rocking. Anderson draws lines that ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Fred Anderson: Staying in the Game

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Of all the tenor saxophonists still making music today, Fred Anderson--like Pharoah Sanders, Archie Shepp and, at times, Wayne Shorter--still has the ability to get under the skin. Anderson's tone is so warm and rich and sensuous that when he sounds a note, it echoes under the body's largest organ, and not necessarily inside the head. Programmatic music tends to be cerebral, but not Fred Anderson's; this is because there is something quite extraordinarily urgent and heartfelt about the music that comes out of his big horn. On the trio record, Staying in the Game, Anderson and his small group ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Fred Anderson: Staying in the Game

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Tenor saxophone veteran Fred Anderson has remained a fixture on the free jazz scene since his co-founding of the AACM. Seemingly never inactive, Anderson follows up the critically acclaimed quintet album From the River to the Ocean (Thrill Jockey, 2007) with a more intimate trio outing. Featuring the previous album's bassist, Harrison Bankhead, alongside drummer Tim Daisy, the album is a true showcase for Anderson and the supple rhythm section backing him.

Opening with the lengthy “Sunday Afternoon," things start with a jump as Daisy and Bankhead lie a solid backing to Anderson's snaking and relaxed ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Fred Anderson Quartet: Live at the Velvet Lounge Volume III

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Fred Anderson's sound on tenor can be heard in his stance. With his horn hung on a harness that looks like something a moving man would wear as he prepares to hoist a TV, Anderson bends his knees and hunches over as if muscle more than breath is needed to lift the notes into the air. He doesn't double on other instruments. His improvising vocabulary is drawn from a series of exercises he's developed over the decades and keeps in a notebook. At the age of 80, Anderson is old school by definition, but his workmanlike approach and artistic honesty ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Vision Festival 2008: Day 2

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Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6

Kidd Jordan, Dave Burrell, Hamiet Bluiett, Maynard Chatters, Billy Bang, William Parker, Hamid Drake, Joel Futterman, Clyde Kerr, Gerald Cleaver, Fred Anderson

13th Annual Vision Festival Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center, New York City June 11, 2008

It has become customary for the second night of the Vision Festival to be used to honor the lifetime achievement of one of the luminaries of the free jazz firmament and tonight, following in the footsteps of Bill Dixon, ...



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