Fred Anderson, Edward Wilkerson & Joseph Jarman | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Fred Anderson, Edward Wilkerson & Joseph Jarman




Few cities can boast a tenor sax tradition as rich as Chicago's, whose golden age produced (among others) Gene Ammons, Johnny Griffin, Clifford Jordan, John Gilmore, Sonny Stitt, and Von Freeman. This smartly organized concert focuses on later, more daring generations: Fred Anderson's remarkable early groups with Joseph Jarman--check out the latter's 1966 Song For (Delmark)--were integral to the formation of the AACM, but the two men's playing couldn't be more different. Anderson (whose tone is beautifully thick but remarkably clear) adapted the early ideas of Ornette Coleman to his tireless Sonny Rollins-like motific improvisations; Jarman, a founding member of the Art Ensemble of Chicago, took a path considerably less traveled, rejecting not only technical constraints but stylistic categories as well. With the Art Ensemble Jarman helped split jazz and improvised music wide open without ever surrendering his tender lyricism or uprooting himself from his swing foundations. Edward Wilkerson is part of the AACM's second generation, and his own ties to the swing tradition are palpable in his work with 8 Bold Souls, the scrappy and inventive ensemble he's led since the early 80s. But the emphasis on Wilkerson's writing and arranging often obscures his brilliance as a saxophonist with a total understanding of jazz's development. If the sheer potential for pyrotechnics among these three isn't reason enough to attend, the rarity of the event should be: while Anderson is currently enjoying his greatest popularity, both on his own and in collaboration with adventurous youngsters like Ken Vandermark (the Fred Anderson/DKV Trio album on Okka Disk will make anyone a believer), Jarman appears infrequently in Chicago, and Wilkerson hardly ever performs outside of his octet. The superb rhythm section consists of bassist Fred Hopkins and drummer Hamid Drake. Sunday, 1 PM, DuSable Museum of African American History, 740 E. 56th Pl.; 773-947-0600, 312-427-1676, or 312-559-1212. PETER MARGASAK

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Fred Anderson photo by Lauren Deutsch; Edward Wilkerson photo by Lauren Deutsch; Joseph Jarman photo uncredited.

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