Jazz Times Reviews

From Jazz Times:

Fred Anderson
21st Century Chase
Delmark Records
The prototype here is “The Chase,” the 1947 Dexter Gordon/Wardell Gray workout that virtually defined “tenor battle” for succeeding generations. But this set, recorded at Chicago’s Velvet Lounge during Fred Anderson’s 80th birthday celebration, recasts that…

Transatlantic Visions
Joëlle Léandre/George Lewis
According to poet Alexandre Pierrepont in the liner notes of Transatlantic…

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Performances Releases

Fred Anderson CD Release / Douglas Ewart & Inventions at the Velvet Lounge

Mwata Bowden
Image via Wikipedia

In related pieces of news, Fred Anderson has a CD / DVD set coming out and Douglas Ewart will play the Velvet Lounge in Chicago.

On Tuesday, October 14th the Velvet Lounge in Chicago will present Fred Anderson’s release party for 21st Century Chase DVD & CD on Delmark records, which was recorded live at the Velvet Lounge on on Fred’s 80th birthday, March 22, 2009. The ensemble features Fred Anderson on tenor sax, Harrison Bankhead on bass/cello, Avreeayl Ra on drums/mbira/percussion.

Then this weekend, Douglas Ewart & Inventions will be performing at the Velvet Lounge on Saturday, October 17th. Douglas Ewart & Inventions features Douglas Ewart on woodwinds and percussion, Mankwe Ndosi on vocals, Mwata Bowden on woodwinds, Ed Wilkerson on woodwinds, Darius Savage on bass, Dushun Mosley on drums, and Duriel Harris on vocals.

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Performances Reviews

Tribute builds on innovations of a jazz giant reviews the recent Fred Anderson celebration.

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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Chicago Jazz Shows This Weekend

From the Chicago Tribune:

Douglas Ewart‘s Nyahbingi Drum Choir,9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Velvet Lounge, 67 E. Cermak Rd.; $5-$15; 312-791-9050. Multi-instrumentalist Ewart leads a number of innovative ensembles, but the Nyahbingi Drum Choir stands out among them. Fusing aspects of Jamaica’s “mento” music (a forerunner of ska and reggae) with the improvisational techniques of Chicago’s South Side avant-garde, the Nyahbingi Drum Choir mines Afro-Caribbean rhythms unlike anything else in Ewart’s oeuvre. Unfortunately, Ewart has recorded just a couple of tracks with this ensemble since he established the group, in 1986. But he promises to release a full-fledged CD later this year. Until then, the live performance is the only place to encounter the original compositions and Jamaican folkloric tunes that are central to the Nyahbingi Drum Choir, which will include vocalist Dee Alexander, reedist Edward Wilkerson Jr., and a core of musicians playing hand-held percussion.

Nicole Mitchell,7:30 p.m. Saturday at Harper College Performing Arts Center, 1200 W. Algonquin Rd., Palatine; $15-$25; 847-925-6100. Though the protean Chicago flutist seems to thrive in all settings, she doesn’t perform as often in concert halls as her artistry merits. This event offers a welcome opportunity to hear her in a serious listening room, where she’ll lead her quartet.

Isaiah Spencer,6 p.m. Sunday at the Velvet Lounge, 67 E. Cermak Rd.; $5-$10; 312-791-9050. Freewheeling jam sessions aren’t as abundant as they were in an earlier era, yet several have been sprouting in Chicago clubs in recent years. Spencer, a propulsive young drummer, has been inviting all comers to this weekly session, in which he leads a core group staffed by fellow young lions, including saxophonist Kevin Nabors, multi-instrumentalist Christopher McBride, trumpeter Sayid Chrisberg, guitarist Scott Hesse and bassist Junius Paul (depending on who’s in town).

Ari Brown,9 p.m. Tuesday at Andy’s Jazz Club, 11 E. Hubbard St.; $10; 312-642-6805. Busier than ever, Chicago saxophonist Brown proves that the combination of bebop syntax and free-jazz experimentation can appeal to a mainstream audience.

Ab Baars Trio with Ken Vandermark,7 p.m. Wednesday at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St.; free; 312-744-6630. Launching their Chicago residency amid a brisk, North American tour, Dutch reedist Baars and his Chicago counterpart Vandermark should be in fighting form.

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Umbrella Music Through March 26

Nate Lepine at the Hideout, Chicago IL
Image via Wikipedia

From Chicago’s Umbrella Music:

Sunday, 15 March 2009
The Hungry Brain
10:00PM | Nick Mazzarella Trio
Nick Mazzarella – alto saxophone
Anton Hatwich – bass
Frank Rosaly – drums
11:00PM | Nate Lepine Trio
Lineup TBA

Wednesday, 18 March 2009
The Hideout
10:00PM | Gratkowski/Drake
Frank Gratkowski – reeds
Hamid Drake – drums
two sets
$10 cover
PLUS | DJ Sets: Jason Adasiewicz spins Mallets A-Plenty

Thursday, 19 March 2009
We suggest:
Fred Anderson‘s Birthday Celebration at the Velvet Lounge!

Sunday, 22 March 2009
The Hungry Brain
10:00PM | Caroline Davis/Patrick Breiner Group
Caroline Davis – alto saxophone
Patrick Breiner – tenor saxophone
Others TBA

Wednesday, 25 March 2009
The Hideout
10:00PM | Anderson/Bankhead/Daisy
Fred Anderson – tenor sax
Harrison Bankhead – bass
Tim Daisy – drums
In celebration of Fred Anderson’s 80th Birthday
two sets
$12 cover
PLUS | DJ Sets : Peter Margasak gets Brassy

Thursday, 26 March 2009
10:00PM | Frankenstein
Jason Stein – bass clarinet
Frank Rosaly – drums
11:00PM | Nick Mazzarella Trio
Nick Mazzarella – alto saxophone
Anton Hatwich – bass
Frank Rosaly – drums

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Fred Anderson Week in Chicago

Henry Grimes, Roy Campbell, Fred Anderson
Image by tictocman via Flickr

Umbrella Music hosts a bunch of shows in honor of Fred Anderson’s 80th birthday.


A.K.A. the Velvet Lounge “Bailout” Festival
(all proceeds to benefit the Velvet Lounge)

All events, except the March 25th bonus gig, at:
The Velvet Lounge
67 E Cermak
7:00PM | Great Black Music Ensemble

Featuring original compositions dedicated to Fred Anderson, with a special guest appearance by Fred Anderson
Wednesday, March 18 : MASTERS SERIES TRIBUTE

Richard Davis and Willie Pickens

Edwin Daugherty, Ari Brown, Dawi Williams, Dushun Mosley with special guests Douglas R. Ewart and Henry Grimes
8:30PM | Justin Dillard and the D-O-3-O Organ Trio

Justin Dillard, Dave Miller, Cliff Wallace, special guest Mike Moynihan
10:00PM | Kahil El’ Zabar Trio

Kahil El’ Zabar, Justin Dillard, Junius Paul with special guest Ernest Dawkins
9:00PM | Chicago Clarinet Quartet

Jeff Chan, Mwata Bowden, Ed Wilkerson, special guest Jimmy Ellis
10:30PM | Tatsu Aoki and Miyumi Project

“Big Band Edition” with special guests Jeff Chan, Jimmy Ellis, Ed Wilkerson, Jeff Parker, Avreeayl Ra

Fred Anderson, Jeff Parker, Tatsu Aoki and Chad Taylor
Record release for the limited edition “official bootleg” cd of the Fred Anderson Trio featuring Tatsu Aoki and Chad Taylor recorded Live at the Velvet Lounge, March 22, 2000, Fred’s 72nd birthday, on Asian Improv Records
8:00PM | Ernest Dawkins and the New Horizons Ensemble

Ernest Dawkins, Steve Berry, Darius Savage, Isaiah Spencer, special guest Corey Wilkes
9:30PM | Dee Alexander Quartet

Dee Alexander, Miguel de la Cerna, Harrison Bankhead, Frank Parker Jr, with special guest Nicole Mitchell
11:00PM | Ari Brown Quartet

Ari Brown, Kirk Brown, Yosef ben Israel, Avreeayl Ra, with special guest Pharez Whitted
12:30AM | “Jam for Fred”

Above artists plus special guests Hamiet Bluiett, Henry Grimes and more
Presenting the First Annual Chicago Creative Excellence in Music Awards. Nominations at

Fred Anderson, Jeff Parker, Harrison Bankhead, Hamid Drake, with special guest Kidd Jordan

Above, with special guests Billy Brimfield, Henry Grimes, Chad Taylor, Francis Wong
10:00PM | Free Jazz Jam

Above, with surprise special guests
11:30PM | Isaiah Spencer and the Velvet Jam All-Stars

Isaiah Spencer, Kevin Nabors, Chris McBride, Scott Hesse, Junius Paul, followed by the Velvet Lounge Jazz Jam

NOTE: At the Hideout, 1354 W Wabansia Ave, 773.227.4433

Two Sets by Fred Anderson, Harrison Bankhead, Tim Daisy

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Fred Anderson’s 80th Birthday

Henry Grimes, Roy Campbell, Fred Anderson
Image by tictocman via Flickr

Chicago’s Velvet Lounge will be the place for Anderson’s upcoming birthday celebrations.

There will be a series of gala celebration concerts for the great Chicago master tenor saxophonist Fred Anderson‘s 80th birthday (which is on March 22nd).

The dates for the festivities are Sunday, March 15th; Wednesday-Sunday, March 18th-22nd; and Wednesday, March 25th.

All the concerts will take place at Fred’s Velvet Lounge, 67 East Cermak Rd. betw. S. Michigan & S. Wabash Ave’s, Chicago, 312-791-9O5O

Except that the program on March 25th is at the Hideout, 1354 West Wabansia, 773-227-4433.

Musicians participating on the various nights will include: Fred Anderson / Harrison Bankhead / Hamiet Bluiett / Mwata Bowden / Billy Brimfield / Ari Brown / Richard Davis / Ernest Dawkins / Hamid Drake / Kahil el’Zabar / Douglas Ewart / Henry Grimes / Edward “Kidd” Jordan / Nicole Mitchell / Dushun Mosley / Jeff Parker / Avreeayl Ra / Chad Taylor / Ed Wilkerson, Jr. / Corey Wilkes / Francis Wong / the star-studded AACM Great Black Music Ensemble, and many more throughout the festivities.

Times and ticket prices vary; advance tickets are recommended and available from the Velvet Lounge; and all proceeds benefit the Velvet Lounge. A local map is available at,+Chicago,+IL+60616.

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AMN Picks General

AMN Picks of the Week

Here is where I post, at a frequency of about once a week, a list of the new music that has caught my attention that week. All of the releases listed below I’ve heard for the first time this week and come recommended.

Paul Bley – Hands On (1997, piano)
Fred Anderson – Live in Verona (1979, free jazz)
Fred Anderson – Dark Day (1979, free jazz)
Fred Anderson – Back at the Velvet Lounge (2003, free jazz)
Fred Anderson – The Milwaukee Tapes vol. 1 (1980, free jazz)
Robert Barry / Fred Anderson – Duets 2001 (2001, free jazz)
My Dying Bride – The Angel and the Dark River (1995, avant-metal)
My Dying Bride – Like Gods of the Sun (1996, avant-metal)
George Cartwright’s Gloryland Ponycat – Black Ants Crawling (2003, free jazz)
Henry Threadgill / Make a Move – Where’s Your Cup? (1997, free jazz)
John Zorn – Filmworks XXII: The Last Supper (2008, modern classical)
The Microscopic Septet – Lobster Leaps In (2008, avant-jazz)
What We Live – Never Was (1998, free jazz)
Roscoe Mitchell – Roscoe Mitchell and the Sound and Space Ensembles (1984, free jazz)

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Fred Anderson Quartet Volume 3

Fred Anderson has a new release.

At 79 years old, AACM founder Fred Anderson continues his creative output as he celebrates the release of The Fred Anderson Quartet Live at the Velvet Lounge Volume 3 on at the Velvet Lounge in Chicago on Friday, December 5th and Saturday, December 6th. This is the long awaited release in a series that began ten years ago with Volume 1. For this recording and this gig, Fred Anderson Quartet features Fred Anderson (tenor sax), Francis Wong (saxes/flutes from San FranciTatsu Aokiu Aoki shamisenamisen), Chad Taylor (drums/percussion from NYC).

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November at the Velvet Lounge

Mwata Bowden
Image by Seth Tisue via Flickr

A partial list rom Chicago’s Velvet Lounge. Check their site for dates.

Kahil El’ Zabar Quartet (drums/percussion/vocals) with Edwin Daugherty (sax), Justin Dillard (keys), Junius Paul (bass); this gig will both celebrate Kahil’s Birthday (at midnight), and also Kahil’s first ever performance at the Velvet Lounge closed

AACM Experimental Chamber Ensemble with Dee Alexander (vocals/percussion), Ann Ward (vocals/keys/percussion), Douglas Ewart (woodwinds/percussion), Mwata Bowden (woodwinds/percussion), Tomeka Reid (cello), Art “Turk” Burton (percussion), Dushun Mosley (drums/percussion)

New Horizons Reunion Ensemble with Jeff Parker (guitar), Steve Berry (trombone), Yosef Ben Israel (bass), Avreeayl Ra (drums/percussion)

Ernest Dawkins‘ New Horizons Ensemble “Old & New” with Jeff Parker (guitar), Steve Berry (trombone), Darius savage (bass), Isaiah Spencer (drums/percussion)

Ed Wilkerson (woodwinds/percussion); Jeff Parker (guitar); Dushun Mosley (drums); bassist Brian Smith

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