Fred Anderson Quartet, Live at Velvet Lounge Volume III



  1. Andersonville 14:17
  2. Acceleration 9:48
  3. Beyond the Bridge 14:46
  4. Positive Changes 10:09
  5. Best Time of Life 10:21
  6. Discreet Identifier 15:29

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Asian Improv Records AIR00074

Fred Anderson Quartet Live at Velvet Lounge Vol 3

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Album Description, Editorial Review

Chicago Reader-Critic's Choice
At 79, tenor saxophonist Fred Anderson is a treasured elder in Chicago's creative community and could easily rest on his laurels. But not only did he fight the heavy hand of urban renewal to keep his Velvet Lounge a going concern, he also continues to test himself as a player, varying his accompanists rather than settling into a rut. This weekend's concerts celebrate the release of Live at Velvet Lounge Volume III (Asian Improv), recorded at last year’s Asian American Jazz Festival, by reuniting him with the band from the album: bassist Tatsu Aoki, drummer Chad Taylor, and tenorist Francis Wong, a San Franciscan who's worked sporadically with Anderson over the past five years. Taylor and Aoki first recorded with Anderson nine years ago, in a quartet with trumpeter Bill Brimfield, but since Taylor moved to New York his appearances with Anderson have been annual at best. Their transparent matrix of beefy grooves and crisp beats provides sturdy support for the tangled extrapolations of Anderson and Wong, who have similar tones but contrasting styles: Anderson is more rhythmic and gives each note in his dancing figures an individual emphasis, while Wong works slurs and eerie vocalizations in his horn's upper register. -- Bill Meyer

**CD release show: Dec 5 and 6, 2008 at Velvet Lounge
67 E. Cermak Road,Chicago, Illinois 60616
phone: 312-791-9050

Jeff Stockton,
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 have made him a vital and creative force on the free jazz scene.

Anderson's recording career began to flourish in the late '90s, most of it resulting from gigs at the club he owns in Chicago, the Velvet Lounge. The Velvet is Anderson's home turf and sanctuary for free jazz veterans and up-and-comers alike. Live at the Velvet Lounge Volume III is a collaboration with another organization with a do-it-yourself ethos, the Asian Improv Arts Group, and documents a performance from the Chicago Asian American Jazz Festival in 2007. Playing with Anderson are the Arts Group's cofounder and tenor saxophonist Francis Wong and the longtime Anderson sidemen Tatsu Aoki (bass) and Chad Taylor (drums).

On second saxophone, Wong sounds like an Anderson student, his lines just a little bit less weighty than the mentor's but equally well-thought-out and coherent, seamlessly complementing Anderson's lead. Aoki's tone on the upright bass is fat and resonant while Taylor is controlled and authoritative behind the drum kit. The band supports Anderson, but his unadorned and deliberate style allows the rhythm section to supply the flourishes as they change tempos and timbres. It's as if the horns take the musical cues, rather than supply them. When this band locks into one of its beefy grooves, the effect of the give-and-take among the four parts can be dizzying.

Fred Anderson Quartet Live at Velvet Lounge Vol 3

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