Fred Anderson | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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It's the 25th anniversary of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, the musicians' cooperative organization that has carried the Chicago message (via the sounds of Abrams, Bowie, Braxton, Ewart, Freeman, Jarman, Lewis, Moye, et al.) throughout the globe. To celebrate the AACM's quarter-century mark, the far younger Southend Musicworks has made a wise choice in inviting tenor saxophonist Fred Anderson for the weekend. Not only is he a founder of the AACM; in the 70s, Anderson's bands also served as early proving grounds for such future movers and shakers as trombonist/composer George Lewis, reedmen Chico Freeman and Douglas Ewart, and drummer Hamid Drake. Ewart and Drake will be on hand tonight, with longtime Anderson collaborators Harrison Bankhead (bass) and the explosive Billy Brimfield (trumpet), for a reunion of the band that used to play at the Birdhouse, Anderson's short-lived Lincoln Avenue club; tomorrow, the burly saxist will hold forth with his current trio, featuring Michael Cristal (bass) and Ajaramu (drums). In both contexts, Anderson's dark, expressive tone balances his freewheeling improvisations, which are free but intensely lyrical: they retain a songlike accessibility that has escaped many better-known players of "the avant-garde." Tonight and Saturday, 8 PM, Southend Musicworks, 1313 S. Wabash; 939-2848.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Lauren Deutsch.

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