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Staying In the Game

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Fred Anderson's reputation as one of the premier creative improvising saxophonists is well deserved, but he is also a formidable and able player within the modern mainstream of jazz. This trio recording is easily accessible to both camps, a studio session done in his native Chicago, and where the music is completely original and mostly made up on the spot, its straight-ahead nature makes compelling comparisons to another peer and icon that made this type of recording 50 years prior — Sonny Rollins. The fluid nature of Anderson's elongated solos and inexhaustible ideas fare well alongside those of Rollins, and at his advanced age are as fresh as any in the business. Bassist Harrison Bankhead and drummer Tim Daisy are very supportive, never get in the way, and use their own good common sense in swinging these pieces along with forcing a single measure or phrase. "The Elephant and the Bee" is as evocative as the title, a behemoth deep tone from Anderson's observant tenor meandering about as Bankhead's buzzing bowed bass zig-zags around. The hard to free bopping "Sixty Degrees in November" musically depicts the nicer days in Chi-Town via Anderson's tuneful, non-threatening tones, while "Springing Winter" is a loose, free, not-so-chilled association between melody and Daisy's flexible drumming. The 25-minute magnum opus "Sunday Afternoon" starts with a simplified, child-like stairstep scale, then settles inside on a blues groove, and ramps up to some faster expressionistic, extended improvisations where the ultimate comparison to the Zen-like Rollins is unmistakable. "Wandering," in its shorter form, starts with a mbira and sax in opposing squirrely keys, pretty and Afro-centric, while "Changes and Bodies and Tones" has Daisy's tom-tom drum rolls and Bankhead's arco or pizzicato harmonic overtones setting of Anderson's Coltrane-like spirituality. The remarkable, pliant flexibility Anderson employs during this program might surprise those who may prefer his harder-edged works. Fact is he's always been able to play it both ways with class and taste. Fred Anderson is not merely staying in the game, but dictating how the points are played, and winning every game, set and match, with virtue, the savvy of a veteran, and the heart of a jazz champion. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi


Nacido(a): 22 de marzo de 1929 en Monroe, LA

Género: Jazz

Años de actividad: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Despite being an "old school" musician in terms of grounding and early influences, Fred Anderson was a founding member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) and headed several AACM groups in the '60s. Anderson had formally studied music theory and was strongly influenced by Lester Young, Coleman Hawkins, and Gene Ammons. He reflected that training throughout his career, always having a full, huge tone and being a capable blues and ballad stylist. But he also absorbed...
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Staying In the Game, Fred Anderson
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