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Eminent Chicago tenor saxophonist Fred Anderson is relocating his famed Velvet Lounge to another space in town. On these performances recorded shortly before the original venue's demolition, Anderson steers his trio through a propulsive and climactic sequence of movements. He blows the walls down with blossoming exuberance and a monstrous tone. And it all clicks in rather seamless fashion. Whether the trio's music entails fiery swing vamps or a free-form schema, the music is imbued with intuition and clarity of execution.
Hamid Drake, who seems to be everyone's favorite drummer these days, peppers and pushes with snappy rim shots and polyrhythmic fills, also revealing his penchant for attacking the kit from a percussionist's angle. On these extended workouts, the trio exposes its force with hypnotically engineered Latin grooves, African rhythms and expansive ostinatos. In addition, Anderson sets himself apart from many of his peers, navigating the avant-garde with melodic phrasings which serve as improvisational forays.
Complete with shifting modalities and Herculean deliberations, this album easily looms as a top pick for 2006. Here, Anderson's musical persona intimates a soulful edge, complementing a mode of attack that could only have been directed towards a higher entity! Zealously recommended.
Track Listing: Flashback; Ode To Tip; By Many Names; Timeless.
Personnel: Fred Anderson: tenor sax; Harrison Bankhead: bass; Hamid Drake: drums, percussion.