Saturday, November 30, 2013

Fred Anderson

I have been neglecting both this blog and my Live365 station over the last couple of months.  Well, I’m back!  This holiday weekend I have been listening to tenor man Fred Anderson.  Anderson passedaway on June 24, 2010 at the age of 81.  Only in his last years, so far as I can tell, did he do much recording. 
Blessedly, he laid down quite a bit of signal from the 1990’s to his death.  This was largely because of his association with the Chicago avant garde culture, including especially Hamid Drake and Ken Vandermark.  I first became aware of Anderson because of his presence on a DKV Trio disc (Hamid Drake, Kent Kessler, and Ken Vandermark). 
Anderson was a consummate avant garde tenor player and improviser.  He did better than almost anyone what AG does best‑cut up human passion into its constituent elements and then reassemble them into new tapestries that leave you wondering whether you ever felt anything real before.  There is a pronounced spiritual dimension to most great avant garde jazz, which ought not to be surprising.  Anderson’s work is transcendent. 
I am playing ‘By Many Names’, from Timeless (2006), with Drake on drums and Harrison Bankhead on bass.  I confess a deep affection for this kind of number: a soft, heartfelt cry repeated over and over buoys up everything else in time and space. 
‘Dark Day’ goes back to 1979.  I got it from Dark Day + Live in Verona.  Drake is on drums, with Billy Brimfield on trumpet and Steven Palmore on bass.  It is structured set of solos riding on Drake’s marvelous thunder. 
Finally there is ‘Strut Time’, a twenty minute piece on Anderson and Drake’s splendid From the River to the Ocean (2007).  Joining are Bankhead on cello, Josh Abrams on bass, and Jeff Parker on guitar.  I have to say that the cello work with guitar reminds me of Jean Luc Ponty.  Anderson’s work here will appeal to any hard bop fan.  I could listen to this thing all day. 
Oh yeah…  I added a cut from Fred Anderson & DKV Trio (1996). 

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