Reviews that mention Fred Anderson

June 1, 2016

Artist Feature

Mike Reed
By Ken Waxman

Chicago drummer Mike Reed, 42, is a realist – and a visionary. More than a dozen years ago he experienced his own epiphany about the (jazz) music business and his place in it while working part time as a bartender. “I was thinking about my future and how I didn’t want to still be a bartender when I was 39 … or 49,” he recalls. Reed who at that point had been involved with different bands in Chicago’s music ferment since his mid-‘90s return to the city after completing a degree in English and Psychology at the University of Dayton Ohio, was with cornetist Josh Berman, already co-curating a series of Sunday sessions at the Hungry Brain club. Earlier, while working for a marketing agency he had helped organize city concerts encouraging people to vote in the presidential election. Promotion seemed to be the appropriate career choice and within a year, he had partnered with Pitchfork, a Chicago-based online music magazine, to create the annual summer Pitchfork Music Festival which is still going strong. MORE

January 1, 2016

NPR’s 10th Annual

Jazz Critics Poll Ballot
2015

Ken Waxman (The New York City Jazz Record, Jazz Word)

NEW RELEASES

  1. Roscoe Mitchell, Celebrating Fred Anderson (Nessa)
  2. Daniel Carter-William Parker-Federico Ughi, Navajo Sunrise (Rudi)
  3. François Carrier-Michel Lambert-Rafal Mazur, Unknowable (Not Two)
  4. Anna Webber, Refraction (Pirouet)
  5. Tim Berne, You've Been Watching Me (ECM)
  6. Evan Parker, Seven (Victo)
  7. Samuel Blaser, Spring Rain (Whirlwind)
  8. Akira Sakata-Giovanni Di Domenico-John Edwards-Steve Noble, Live at Cafe Oto (Clamshell)
  9. James Falzone & the Renga Ensemble, The Room Is (Allos Documents)
  10. George Freeman & Chico Freeman, All in the Family (Southport)
MORE

May 9, 2014

Artist Feature

Greg Ward
By Ken Waxman

Back in the heyday of vaudeville, answering affirmatively the question “Will It Play in Peoria?” meant that if an act could impress the audience in that small Illinois town, it was good enough to work nationwide. Ironically enough alto saxophonist Greg Ward embodies that maxim. Before moving to NYC, after maturing his career in Chicago, Ward, 31, spent his teenage years playing every gig he could in his home town of Peoria.

“At that time between Peoria and Chicago there was lots of work for a young player, which was very important,” the saxophonist, explains. Today he’s still kept busy gigging in larger centres, but he doesn’t deny his roots or early associations. On May 16 and 17 at the Jazz Gallery, a septet will premiere his series of composition honoring the 70th birthday of one of his long-time mentors, Preston Jackson. Jackson who is professor emeritus of sculpture at the Art Institute of Chicago’s school, as well as a semi-professional guitarist, first played with Ward when the latter was 14. That was three years after Ward had made up his mind to become a musician, despite family pressure to become a doctor. That too was ironic, since both his father and uncle were professional gospel musicians and Ward had been singing gospel music as a three-year-old and studying violin from the age of nine. By the fifth grade he began playing alto saxophone using his father's old Conn. MORE

September 8, 2010

Fred Anderson

Black Horn Long Gone
Southport S-SSD 0128

Celebration rather than lamentation, Black Horn Long Gone’s apt but ungrammatical title was tenor saxophonist Fred Anderson’s response when asked what happened to the sleek ebony horn he played on this early 1993 session. Unfortunately his death at 80 in late June, gives the CD an added poignancy to the statement, not initially envisioned when this CD release was planned.

Metaphorically – and literally – “long gone” are also the two musicians who accompany Anderson (born 1929) on this high quality session. Both bassist Malachi Favors Maghostut (1927-2004) and drummer Ajaramu (1926-2006) were the saxophonist’s long time Chicago associates in the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians. Separately over the years, Favors, linchpin of the Art Ensemble of Chicago, and Ajaramu were stylistic chameleons, able to work with everyone from tenor saxophonist Gene Ammons to pianist Muhal Richard Abrams. Together, they were more than a rhythm section. Their individual inventiveness dovetails with Anderson distinctive horn cadences on the eight tunes here to produce almost ineffable results. MORE

March 8, 2010

Guelph Jazz Festival

Guelph, Ontario
September 9 - 13, 2009

Always populist, the annual Guelph Jazz Festival extended its support of outdoor improvisation plus interaction between Third and First World musicians in its 16th edition, without lessening its commitment to Free Music. Much of the outstanding music-making came from the later however, with American pianist Marilyn Crispell one standout.

Featured in American, European and Canadian group settings, Crispell’s playing was powerful and outer-directed at the River Run Centre concert hall, in a trio with two AACM stalwarts, seemingly ageless tenor saxophonist Fred Anderson and colorful percussionist Hamid Drake, whose rhythmic conception is comfortable in any context. Anderson often quivered or vibrated reflective lines that were paralleled with linear arpeggios or kinetic pedal-pushed frequencies by Crispell. Meantime Drake’s palm or stick movement conveyed all the rhythm. Climax was a version of Muñoz’s “Fatherhood”, built on ecclesiastical chording from the pianist, ruffs and rebounds from Drake and gospel-like preaching from Anderson. MORE

December 17, 2009

Fred Anderson Quartet

Live at the Velvet Lounge Volume III
Asian Improv AIR 0074

Fred Anderson

Staying in the Game

Engine e029

Fred Anderson Trio

Birthday Live 2000

Asian Improv AIR “Official Bootleg”

Fred Anderson

21st Century Chase

Delmark DE 589

Consistency of expression is what has characterized the playing of Chicago tenor saxophonist Fred Anderson over the years. Furthermore, unlike many other musicians, there hasn’t been a subsequent lessening of his powers as he ages. As a matter of fact, now that he’s reached the venerable age of 80, his improvisational skills are at an exalted peak. Listen to these CDs for proof. They were recorded not only at Anderson’s 80th Birthday Bash, but when he was a comparative youngster of 79, 78 and even 71. MORE

December 17, 2009

Fred Anderson Trio

Birthday Live 2000
Asian Improv AIR “Official Bootleg”

Fred Anderson Quartet

Live at the Velvet Lounge Volume III

Asian Improv AIR 0074

Fred Anderson

Staying in the Game

Engine e029

Fred Anderson

21st Century Chase

Delmark DE 589

Consistency of expression is what has characterized the playing of Chicago tenor saxophonist Fred Anderson over the years. Furthermore, unlike many other musicians, there hasn’t been a subsequent lessening of his powers as he ages. As a matter of fact, now that he’s reached the venerable age of 80, his improvisational skills are at an exalted peak. Listen to these CDs for proof. They were recorded not only at Anderson’s 80th Birthday Bash, but when he was a comparative youngster of 79, 78 and even 71. MORE

December 17, 2009

Fred Anderson

21st Century Chase
Delmark DE 589

Fred Anderson Quartet

Live at the Velvet Lounge Volume III

Asian Improv AIR 0074

Fred Anderson

Staying in the Game

Engine e029

Fred Anderson Trio

Birthday Live 2000

Asian Improv AIR “Official Bootleg”

Consistency of expression is what has characterized the playing of Chicago tenor saxophonist Fred Anderson over the years. Furthermore, unlike many other musicians, there hasn’t been a subsequent lessening of his powers as he ages. As a matter of fact, now that he’s reached the venerable age of 80, his improvisational skills are at an exalted peak. Listen to these CDs for proof. They were recorded not only at Anderson’s 80th Birthday Bash, but when he was a comparative youngster of 79, 78 and even 71. MORE

December 17, 2009

Fred Anderson

Staying in the Game
Engine e029

Fred Anderson Quartet

Live at the Velvet Lounge Volume III

Asian Improv AIR 0074

Fred Anderson Trio

Birthday Live 2000

Asian Improv AIR “Official Bootleg”

Fred Anderson

21st Century Chase

Delmark DE 589

Consistency of expression is what has characterized the playing of Chicago tenor saxophonist Fred Anderson over the years. Furthermore, unlike many other musicians, there hasn’t been a subsequent lessening of his powers as he ages. As a matter of fact, now that he’s reached the venerable age of 80, his improvisational skills are at an exalted peak. Listen to these CDs for proof. They were recorded not only at Anderson’s 80th Birthday Bash, but when he was a comparative youngster of 79, 78 and even 71. MORE

November 20, 2008

Kidd Jordan

The Vision Festival New York
June 11, 2008

Figuratively – and usually single-handedly – carrying the banner for experimental Jazz in New Orleans for many years, tenor saxophonist Edward “Kidd” Jordan, 73, must have felt metaphorically out-in-the-cold on many occasions. But heat was certainly in evidence – literally and emotionally – mid-June in New York as a turn-away crowd helped celebrate the reedman’s Lifetime Achievement with a series of concerts.

Highlight of the 13th Annual Vision Festival that took place at the Lower East Side’s Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center, the five sets honoring Jordan were hot – as was the venue. Despite a few strategically placed revolving fans, the temperature hovered around 35 degrees Celsius in the venerable space, with body heat from the packed audiences adding to the ventilation challenges. MORE

October 8, 2008

Variations on a Theme

Guelph Jazz Festival Musicians On Their Own
Extended Play

Barry Guy/Mats Gustafsson/Raymond Strid

Tarfala

Maya MCD0801

Junk Box

Cloudy Then Sunny

Libra Records 203-019

John Zorn

News For Lulu

hatOLOGY 650

Matana Roberts

The Chicago Project

Central Control CC1006PR

Wadada Leo Smith’s Golden Quartet

Tabligh

Cuneiform Rune 270

AMMÜ Quartet

AMMÜ Quartet
MORE

October 10, 2005

The Velvet Lounge: On Late Chicago Jazz

by Gerald Majer
Columbia University Press

By Ken Waxman
October 10, 2005

A non-faction memoir of tales that may or not have happened, this volume is, to overstate the case a bit, sort of an American À la recherche du temps perdu. Gerald Majer, an English professor at Villa Julie College in Baltimore, utilizes his listening experiences involving major Chicago jazz musicians, as an entrée to his ruminations and meditations on growing up in that Midwestern city.

Don’t be fooled by the photograph of tenor saxophonist Fred Anderson on the cover or the two-page discography at the end of the volume however. Although Majer deals, in greater or lesser degrees, with the sounds of, among others, tenor saxophonist Gene Ammons, Anderson, bandleader Sun Ra, multi-instrumentalist Rahsaan Roland Kirk and Art Ensemble of Chicago members Roscoe Mitchell and Malachi Favors, this is no music encyclopedia or a collection of album and CD reviews. MORE

December 20, 2004

FRED ANDERSON/HAMID DRAKE

Back Together Again
Thrill Jockey thrill 139

Thirty years after they first played together Chicago-based tenor saxophonist Fred Anderson and drummer Hamid Drake have finally got around to recording a duo session.

Fuelled by the flexible sophistication of the percussionist and the homebody maturity of Anderson, there are many fine passages throughout. But as good as it gets, the limitations of hearing only one saxophone and a drummer over more than 72½-minutes -- plus an additional CD that includes a QuickTime movie -- are apparent. MORE

March 1, 2004

FRED ANDERSON

Back At The Velvet Lounge
Delmark DG-549

He was a late starter when it came to a recording, but now in his early seventies, tenor saxophonist Fred Anderson turns out new CDs with regularity of a lunchtime chef at a down-home pancake house. Like that cook, Anderson’s stack of hotcakes are unpretentious, filling, and of uniformly high quality.

Anderson, who has owned, managed and played at his Velvet Lounge club in Chicago’s South Loop for more than 21 years, has dealings with the public on the par with any pancake spot manager. While the jazz he plays at the Lounge is consistently piping hot, he’s enough of as businessman to often vary the menu slightly. MORE

June 16, 2003

VARIOUS ARTISTS

Live from the Vision Festival
Thirsty Ear THI 57131.2

The next best thing to being there, this combination CD and DVD package offers a distillation of some of the outstanding performances from last year’s Vision Festival in New York’s Lower East Side. Lacking the name recognition of Newport, Montreux, or any other capitalist entity-associated international star festival, in its less than 10 year existence, Vision has still promulgated a unique artistic vision.

Built around the vision of bassist William Parker, it’s a place where pioneering avant gardists from the 1960s mix it up with younger players who are carrying on experimental ideals. It’s cross-cultural, national and international as well, with the musicians showcased on this session arriving from Germany, Korea, Philadelphia, Chicago, Boston, Minneapolis, Valencia, Calif., New Orleans… and Brooklyn, MORE

December 24, 2001

FRED ANDERSON

On The Run
Delmark DE-534

FRED ANDERSON
Dark Day
Atavistic Unheard Music UMS/ALP 218 CD

Good things come to those who wait is an expression that was never has more currency than when it’s applied to the career of brawny Chicago tenor sax stylist Fred Anderson. Anderson, was practically unknown and definitely under-documented for almost three decades after his recording debut on Joseph Jarman’s SONG FOR in 1966.

Today that’s all changed. He practically doesn’t have the time to play at and manage his bar, The Velvet Lounge, in Chicago’s near South Side, so busy is he travelling in North America and Europe and working with his own bands and other members of the improv community. He even has a personal manager. MORE

June 7, 2001

ROBERT BARRY/FRED ANDERSON

Duets 2001
Thrill Jockey Thrill 101

Refutation of the hoary cliché that jazz is a young man's art happened a generation ago when Swing and Bop era giants like Coleman Hawkins, Pee Wee Russell and Dizzy Gillespie routinely turned out masterpieces in their fifties and sixties.

When many of the initial Free Jazz players reached senior citizen's status recently, the foolishness -- not to mention the sexism -- of that statement was brought into bolder relief. Steve Lacy, a sprightly 67, has insisted that "free jazz keeps you young". And certainly pioneers like Cecil Taylor, Bill Dixon, Derek Bailey and the musicians featured here have shown that major musical statements can be made past some folks' 70th birthday. MORE

October 31, 2000

FRED ANDERSON

Live at the Velvet Lounge Volume Two
Asian Improv Records AIR 0054

If there's a prime example of the adage "good things come to those who wait", it's veteran Chicago tenor saxophonist Fred Anderson. One of the founders of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians in 1965, he spent most of the subsequent 25 years close to home, being fitfully recorded, but still training a gang of younger creative musicians, most prominently trombonist George Lewis and multi-instrumentalist Douglas Ewart.

Within the past decade, however, the man once dubbed the "lone prophet of the Prairies" has come into his own. Regularly touring North America and Europe, he's also been showcased on nearly a dozen CDs, including this exemplary two-CD set recorded live at his home base.

MORE

July 22, 2000

FRED ANDERSON

The Milwaukee Tapes Vol. 1
Atavistic/Unheard Music Series UMS/ALP 204 CD

If there's a trajectory that bisects the career of Chicago tenor saxophonist Fred Anderson it's the year 1993. Since that time there have been two or more CDs a year to trace the evolution of the 70-year-old AACM veteran as his fame spreads beyond the Windy City. Before that, there were only one or two scattered documents available of the playing of the brawny stylist once characterized as the "lone prophet of the Prairies" -- including his recording debut on Joseph Jarman's "Song For" in 1966.

MORE