Fred Anderson

Fred Anderson

born on 22/3/1929 in Monroe, LA, United States

died on 24/6/2010 in Chicago, IL, United States

Fred Anderson (musician)

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Fred Anderson (musician)

Fred Anderson (March 22, 1929 – June 24, 2010) was an American jazz tenor saxophonist who was based in Chicago, Illinois. With a distinctive forward-bent playing posture, Anderson's playing was rooted in the swing music and hard bop idioms, but also incorporated innovations from free jazz, rendering him, as critics Ron Wynn and Joslyn Layne[1] have written, "a seminal figure among Chicago musicians in the '60s."


Anderson was born Monroe, Louisiana. He grew up in the Southern United States and learned to play the saxophone by himself when he was a teenager.[2] Anderson moved his family to Evanston, Illinois in the 1940s. He studied music formally at the Roy Knapp Conservatory in Chicago, and had a private teacher for a short time.[2] Fred worked installing carpet for decades to sustain his music and his family, before opening up a succession of important Chicago nightclubs. Despite Anderson's prominence as an avant-garde musician, his guiding inspiration was Charlie Parker, portraits of whom are prominently displayed at Anderson's club, the Velvet Lounge.

He was one of the founders of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) and an important member of the musical collective. In the early 1960s Anderson formed his own group, playing his original compositions, with Vernon Thomas on drums, Bill Fletcher on bass, and his partner for many years, the Chicago jazz trumpeter Billy Brimfield.[2]

Anderson appeared on several notable avant garde albums in the 1960s, notably the seminal Delmark recordings of saxophonist Joseph Jarman, As If It Were the Seasons (1968), and Song For (1966), which includes Anderson's composition "Little Fox Run."

Around 1972 he put together the Fred Anderson Sextet, with trombonist George Lewis, reedist Douglas Ewart, bassist Felix Blackman, drummer Hamid Drake and Iqua Colson on vocals, playing in and around Chicago.[3]

Anderson toured Europe with Brimfield in 1977, recording as guests Accents with the Austrian trio Neighbours on MRC label. He back again in 1978 with his own group with Brimfield, George Lewis, and Hamid Drake and hooked up with bassist Brian Smith at the Moers Festival in Germany for his first record as leader, Another Place.[3]

Anderson opened his short-lived performance-work-shop space Birdhouse around 1977, in honor of Charlie Parker, and closed the place in 1978.[2] In 1983, he took over ownership of the Velvet Lounge in Chicago, which quickly became a center for the city's jazz and experimental music scenes. The club expanded and relocated in the summer of 2006. Before that, his eclectic Beehive bar in west Chicago was a draw where musicians from around the world drank beer and played, mostly for each other.

Though he remained an active performer, Anderson recorded rarely for about a decade beginning in the mid-1980s. By the 1990s, however, he resumed a more active recording schedule, both as a solo artist, and in collaboration with younger performers, notably drummer Hamid Drake.

Anderson acted as mentor to young musicians who have gone on to prominent careers in music, either by featuring them in his groups or as performers at the Velvet Lounge. The list of musicians who he helped bring to public attention includes Drake, Harrison Bankhead, David Boykin, Nicole Mitchell, Justin Dillard, Aaron Getsug, Josh Abrams, Fred Jackson, Jr., George Lewis, Karl E. H. Seigfried, Isaiah Sharkey, and Isaiah Spencer. His son, Eugene Anderson, is a drummer.


As leader

  • Another Place (Moers, 1978)
  • Dark Day (Message, 1979); reissue as Dark Day + Live in Verona (Atavistic, 2001) with Billy Brimfield, Steven Palmore, Hamid Drake
  • The Missing Link (Nessa, 1979, issued 1984) with Larry Hayrod, Hamid Drake
  • Vintage Duets: Chicago, January 11, 1980 (Okka Disk, 1994) Duo with Steve McCall (dr)
  • The Milwaukee Tapes Vol. 1 (Atavistic, 1980, issued 2000) with Billy Brimfield, Larry Hayrod, Hamid Drake
  • Black Horn Long Gone (Southport, 1993, issued 2010) with Malachi Favors Maghostut, Ajaramu (AJ Shelton)
  • Birdhouse (Okka Disk, 1996) with Jim Baker, Harrison Bankhead, Hamid Drake
  • Chicago Chamber Music (Southport, 1997) with Tatsu Aoki, Afifi Phillard
  • Fred Anderson / DKV Trio (Okka Disk, 1997) with Ken Vandermark, Kent Kessler, Hamid Drake
  • Live at the Velvet Lounge (Okka Disk, 1999) with Peter Kowald, Hamid Drake
  • 2 Days in April (Eremite, 1999) - with Hamid Drake, Kidd Jordan and William Parker
  • Fred Anderson Quartet, Volume One (Asian Improv Records, 1999)
  • Fred Anderson Quartet, Volume Two (Asian Improv Records, 2000)
  • On the Run, Live at the Velvet Lounge (Delmark, 2000) with Tatsu Aoki, Hamid Drake
  • Duets 2001: Live at the Empty Bottle (Thrill Jockey, 2001) Duo with Robert Barry (dr)
  • Back at the Velvet Lounge (Delmark, 2002) with Maurice Brown, Jeff Parker, Harrison Bankhead, Tatsu Aoki, Chad Taylor
  • The Great Vision Concert (Ayler, 2003)
  • Back Together Again (Thrill Jockey, 2004) Duo with Hamid Drake (dr)
  • Blue Winter (Eremite, 2004) with William Parker, Hamid Drake
  • Timeless (Delmark, 2005)
  • From The River To The Ocean (Thrill Jockey, 2007) Duo with Hamid Drake (dr)
  • Fred Anderson Quartet, Volume Three (Asian Improv Records, 2008)
  • A Night At The Velvet Lounge/Made In Chicago 2007 (Estrada Poznaska, 2009)
  • Staying in the Game (Engine Studios, 2009) with Harrison Bankhead, Tim Daisy
  • 21st Century Chase: 80th Birthday Bash, Live at the Velvet Lounge (Delmark, 2009) with Kidd Jordan, Harrison Bankhead, Jeff Parker, Chad Taylor

As sideman

With Joseph Jarman

  • Song For (Delmark, 1967)
  • As If It Were the Seasons (Delmark, 1968)

With Marilyn Crispell and Hamid Drake

  • Destiny (Okkadisk, 1995)


  1. Ron Wynn & Joslyn Layne, "[Fred Anderson (musician) at All Music Guide Fred Anderson]".
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Fred Anderson Biography Musician Guide
  3. 3.0 3.1 Black Horn Long Gone Original Liner Notes

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Fred Anderson

  • [Fred Anderson (musician) at All Music Guide Allmusic]
This page was last modified 28.03.2014 16:23:44

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