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All About Jazz: The web's most comprehensive jazz resource

Jazz Articles


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 ...

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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, ...

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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, ...

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DVD/VIDEO/FILM REVIEWS November 29, 2009

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 ...

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LIVE REVIEWS December 23, 2007

Fred Anderson and Chad Taylor: Polishing the Sound at UMass

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Fred Anderson and Chad Taylor Solos and Duos Concert Series University of Massachusetts at Amherst December 5, 2007

The function of superlatives is to thrust what is being described into a zone of excellence considered untouchable. Such hyperbolic words can paradoxically lose power, especially when used so much they become meaningless. Simply choosing the precise words that will give meaning to a musical experience, verbalizing the non-verbal, is hard enough without getting overwhelmed by superlatives. But the question remains: how can words elevate a musical experience to a place of excellence and at the ...

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ARTIST PROFILES December 2, 2007

Fred Anderson: Customizing Conviction

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Carrying on tradition brings history through time without imitation. Not all musicians make it their job to ensure that the music of the past, while changeable as a result of the passage of cultural time, stays intact. It's all about new tunes and improvisation: the creation of music that upholds the tradition, with those to whom that tradition is handed down allowing it to continue. Saxophonist Fred Anderson has not relented in his intention to keep modern jazz alive. Anderson describes how the music, as he first began to listen to the Jay McShann band on record, captured him: “it ...

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Fred Anderson: The Great Vision Concert; Timeless; From the River to the Ocean; Live Willisau & Taktlos


Fred Anderson/Harrison Bankhead The Great Vision Concert Ayler 2007 Fred Anderson Timeless Delmark 2006 Fred Anderson/Hamid Drake From the River to the Ocean Thrill Jockey 2007 Irene Schweizer/Fred Anderson/Hamid Drake Live Willisau & Taktlos Intakt 2007

New Yorkers have been fortunate, with no small debt of gratitude to the Vision Festival, to have fairly regular ...

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Fred Anderson: Timeless/Live At The Velvet Lounge

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Fred Anderson Timeless/Live At The Velvet Lounge Delmark Records 2006

If there's a particularly effective way of documenting free jazz on DVD, this could be it. The fact that the old Velvet Lounge, the club saxophonist Fred Anderson owns, has now disappeared beneath the ravages of the bulldozers, ensures that the disc is about social history, and the changes it can bring, almost as much as it is about the music itself. That a new Velvet Lounge has already sprung up in place of the old is the happiest of events, and ...

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Fred Anderson: Timeless, Live At The Velvet Lounge

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Fred Anderson Timeless: Live At The Velvet Lounge Delmark 2006

Shot during the final days of the original Velvet Lounge, Timeless presents tenor saxophonist Fred Anderson's trio playing one of his last shows at the Southside Chicago bar he has run since the early 1980s. A victim of poor urban planning, the bar was located in a block recently demolished by the city, but Anderson has persevered, relocating the club to a new space nearby. This concert DVD captures the members of Anderson's trio at the top of their game in ...

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INTERVIEWS June 18, 2005

Fred Anderson: On the Run

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Tenor saxophonist Fred Anderson has seen it all in his 75-plus years. One of the founders of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) in the '60s, Anderson has been tireless in his mission to nurture young jazz talent in his hometown of Chicago, Ill.. With his first club in the '70s, The Birdhouse and since 1982 at the legendary Velvet Lounge, his directive has been simply to give the next generation, and the generation after that, a place to play live jazz in front of an audience. This year Anderson is being honored at the Vision Festival ...

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LIVE REVIEWS December 18, 2004

The Art Ensemble of Chicago with Fred Anderson at the Earshot Jazz Festival


The Art Ensemble Of Chicago With Fred Anderson November 6, 2002 Earshot Jazz Festival Seattle, WA

The first set started slowly with woodwinds player Roscoe Mitchell striking a large metal bowl with a mallet. He did this repeatedly while Malachi Favors, who was dressed in African garments and was wearing face paint, bowed the strings of his upright bass and Famadou Don Moye, who was also wearing African garments and face paint, played various percussion instruments as well as his drums and cymbals. This gradually developed into an outside musical movement as Mitchell switched ...

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AFRICAN JAZZ December 7, 2004

Fred Anderson's Legendary Velvet Lounge

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It was broad daylight the first time I drove down to Chicago's South Loop, just to see where Fred Anderson's legendary Velvet Lounge was. I went right passed it. In the middle of the afternoon, there isn't much going on in the area that surrounds the city's mammoth convention center, McCormick Place. Squeezed in between an intimidating private parking lot and a weathered storefront rib joint, 2128 ' South Indiana is easy to miss.At night, however, it's a slightly different story, with an assortment of seasoned jazzbos and college hipsters filing through the nondescript entry, marked only by ...

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LIVE REVIEWS March 8, 2004

Kidd Jordan/Fred Anderson Quartet at Killian Hall, MIT 4/2/99

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Improvised music always is at its most exciting in a live setting. Of course the orthodox purists of free improvisation would argue that there is no point in “fixing" a musical improvisation by recording it. They might say that the stamping of a CD takes the life out of a performance. I would argue that while live improvisation can be much more involving, it's also nice to be able to hear creative musicians jam in your living room at your own convenience.

Eremite Records was on hand to document the recording of the Kidd Jordan/Fred Anderson quartet performance Friday night ...

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ARTIST PROFILES January 13, 2003

Fred Anderson Finally Gets His Due: And His Records Back In Print

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Next door to the Velvet Lounge in Chicago's Near South Side neighborhood is Fitzee's Bar-B-Que, a chicken joint whose counter sports a bullet-proof window separating the kitchen and dining room. Across the street is a recently constructed LaSalle Bank branch, complete with ritzy landscaping. Walking down the street on a recent Saturday night, you might not even notice that the club, which in 2002 celebrates its 20th anniversary, is open.

But inside the Velvet, about 70 patrons pay rapt attention to Fred Anderson, 73, veteran jazz tenor saxophonist, co-founder of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians ...

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