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The '90s have been a time of Renaissance for tenor saxophonist Fred Anderson. Anderson originally earned his reputation over thirty years ago as an early member of Chicago's AACM movement. Now in his late 60s, Anderson has resumed recording with today's biggest giants in Chicago jazz. This record documents a June 1998 performance at his nightclub, the Velvet Lounge, with longstanding collaborator Hamid Drake on drums and Peter Kowald on bass.
The music dwells in the huge space opened up by the free/energy scene in the '60s: based in improvisation, informed by swing, but fundamentally committed to exploring new combinations of rhythm, melody and harmony. Kowald is just as comfortable playing an ostinato bass drone as he is scratching away in the higher register; Drake moves fluidly between colorful free drumming and propulsive time-keeping. But Anderson shines bright as the star of the show, developing detailed ideas from small building blocks and running head-on into conventions of jazz harmony. Anderson's music is incredibly vibrant and rich with ideas; let's hope he keeps making records for another 30 years.
Track Listing: Straight, But Not Straight; To Those Who Know; Multidimensional Reality.
Personnel: Fred Anderson, tenor saxophone; Peter Kowald, bass; Hamid Drake, percussion.