Eightieth birthday parties don’t get much better — or more artistically inspired — than this concert, presented as part of the “Made in Chicago: World Class Jazz” series. And though Chicago celebrated saxophonist Fred Anderson’s milestone earlier this year in his landmark South Side club, the Velvet Lounge, Thursday night’s concert in Millennium Park more closely resembled a civic event.
Jazz listeners around the world know Anderson as a visionary improviser who can create galvanic solos that bridge the bebop era and the free-jazz epoch that eventually followed.
But Anderson’s singular compositions are less well known, a situation this evening was designed to remedy — and did. One by one, musicians young and not-so-young conducted their own orchestrations of Anderson’s tunes. Each piece pointed to a different facet of Anderson’s muse and showed how subsequent generations are building on his achievements.
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