Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fred Anderson

A long time ago, I heard Fred Anderson play at the Velvet Lounge in Chicago. It might better have been called the linoleum lounge, for there were no frills. The music was disturbing. It loosened up my certainties. I left there with a double CD of his work, which I play often. Free Jazz, contemplative improvisation over time that flattened out into timelessness, squeaked and puffed and blared and whispered by a man doubled up over his tenor sax, comped by a Japanese bass player of prodigious talent, and a drummer who left no real memory in my limited brain. I left the Velvet Lounge a different and better, because more complicated person.

CHICAGO (AP) -- A saxophonist whose Chicago club is known as one of the cradles of contemporary jazz has died. Fred Anderson was 81.

His sons, Eugene and Michael Anderson, said their father died Thursday but declined to offer additional details.

The Louisiana-born Anderson performed in relative obscurity until the tenor saxophonist's rise to prominence came in the 1990s. Music companies began to release recordings of his work to favorable reviews and he became a regular on the jazz-festival circuit in the United States and Europe.

Anderson opened the Velvet Lounge in Chicago in 1982. At times, he did everything from collecting the $10 cover charge to jamming on stage to taking out the garbage.

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