Happy Birthday Fred

November 15, 2009 at 6:11 pm Leave a comment

Fred Anderson Trio — Birthday Live 2000 (Asian Improv, 2009)

anderson-trioPart of the spoils from the Chicago trip.  This is a limited-edition disk that was being sold as a fundraiser for the Velvet Lounge, Anderson’s South Side joint, so it was a tad more expensive than usual.  That’s fine.

There’s not much to the packaging aside from the attractive black-background cover, a photo with enhanced borders for a line-drawing look. The music is the attraction: three fairly long (22-, 13-, and 14-minute) pieces.

The 22-minute opening track is table stakes, the kind of high-energy jazz you’d expect from Anderson’s bands: a straight-up sound with plenty of free attitudes in the soloing. Nice stuff that shows Anderson still has the creative fire burning.

Track 2 starts with a clever, poking bassline from Tatsu Aoki, a minimalist funk patter accompanied by a light tapping beat from Chad Taylor on drums.  It all hints at an exotic African rhythms, particularly once the saxophone starts into a slow, jamming mode and Aoki’s bass lays the foundation in very low, swampy notes and a catchy beat. It’s a wonderful piece, the best of the bunch.

Track 3 sandersonpostertarts with Anderson unaccompanied, first in an upbeat blues mood but later wandering into other jazz territories, of course. He covers a lot of ground in five minutes before the rhythm section kicks in, Taylor with breezy fast drumming and Aoki opting for a bouncy, descending-note bassline. Anderson comes in with sax that’s plenty fast but not abrasive; coupled with the busy drums, it’s a piece with a lot of movement and a warm glow about it.

Great stuff.  But for a real birthday bash, check out the lineups for Anderson’s 2009 celebration, his 80th. You can see a list on Tatsu Aoki’s site, if you scroll down: Six days of artists like Ernest Dawkins, Ari Brown, Kidd Jordan, Henry Grimes, Dee Alexander and Jeff Chan. The Velvet Lounge is still selling promo posters from the event.

Entry filed under: CD/music reviews. Tags: , , , .

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