Fred Anderson Quartet | Jazz | Chicago Reader

Fred Anderson Quartet Soundboard Recommended Critics' Picks

When: Fri., Dec. 5 and Sat., Dec. 6, 9:30 p.m. 2008

At 79, tenor saxophonist Fred Anderson is a treasured elder in Chicago’s creative community and could easily rest on his laurels. But not only did he fight the heavy hand of urban renewal to keep his Velvet Lounge a going concern, he also continues to test himself as a player, varying his accompanists rather than settling into a rut. This weekend’s concerts celebrate the release of Live at Velvet Lounge Volume III (Asian Improv), recorded at last year’s Asian American Jazz Festival, by reuniting him with the band from the album: bassist Tatsu Aoki, drummer Chad Taylor, and tenorist Francis Wong, a San Franciscan who’s worked sporadically with Anderson over the past five years. Taylor and Aoki first recorded with Anderson nine years ago, in a quartet with trumpeter Bill Brimfield, but since Taylor moved to New York his appearances with Anderson have been annual at best. Their transparent matrix of beefy grooves and crisp beats provides sturdy support for the tangled extrapolations of Anderson and Wong, who have similar tones but contrasting styles: Anderson is more rhythmic and gives each note in his dancing figures an individual emphasis, while Wong works slurs and eerie vocalizations in his horn’s upper register. —Bill Meyer

Price: $15

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