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Back Together Again

Fred Anderson & Hamid Drake

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Album Review

Fred Anderson and Hamid Drake have been performing together for more than 30 years and have known each other even longer, but Back Together Again marks their first recording of duets. Anderson can spin endlessly creative melodic improvisations on tenor, and Hamid Drake is every bit his equal on the traps and frame drums. It should be no surprise that this set is amazing. Both men are at the top of their game. Anderson's melodies sometimes go somewhere you're not expecting, doing some wild interval leaps, but he always tells a coherent story. Drake's drumming almost always has a strong melodic concept as well, but it is rhythm that drives this whole set and keeps the proceedings grounded throughout, where other improvisers may lose momentum. As is the case with Duets 2001, Anderson's album of duets with Robert Barry, the sound is full, and you never miss the lack of other players. Much to the contrary, this is absolutely riveting stuff. In addition to this rather lengthy recording, listeners are treated to a bonus video disc that features footage of three of the tunes, as well as interview footage of Anderson and Drake discussing both how this recording came about and some thoughts on improvising. Fred Anderson was 75 at the time of this recording, and the footage of these interviews and performances will become more important with time. Kudos to Thrill Jockey (as well as Delmark and Okka Disk) for making the effort to get this longtime Chicago jazz legend the recognition he deserves. Recommended.

Biography

Born: 22 March 1929 in Monroe, LA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '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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Back Together Again, Fred Anderson
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