Fred Anderson Quartet Volume Two
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A sequel to Fred Anderson Quartet, Vol. 1, this two-CD set also documents the tenor saxman’s performances at his Velvet Lounge on Chicago’s South Side. But there are some important differences. Vol. 2 was recorded in 1999, not 1998. And while Vol. 1 found Anderson being joined by bassist Tatsu Aoki, trumpeter Bill Brimfield, and drummer Chad Taylor, Vol. 2 has different personnel and a different combination of instruments. Aoki is still on acoustic bass, but there is no trumpeter this time — instead, Anderson features guitarist Jeff Parker. Meanwhile, Hamid Drake is on drums instead of Taylor. But there are some definite parallels between Vol. 1 and Vol. 2. Both favor an inside/outside approach, and both of them offer avant-garde jazz that is challenging but, for the most part, relatively accessible. “Relatively” is the key word; probing pieces like the 34-minute “Jeff’s Turnaround,” the 15-minute “December 4th,” and the 37-minute “Road Trip” are hardly the work of someone who’s trying to sound like Stan Getz in 1948. But they are more accessible than the very angular opener “Look Out!,” and they are less extreme than things Anderson had done in the past. Of course, how accessible one finds a particular Anderson piece can depend on one’s likes and dislikes — the more you can accept Anderson on his own terms, the more rewarding you’ll find Vol. 2 to be. The Chicagoan was 70 when these excellent performances were recorded, and he continues to play with the authority of someone who is very much in his prime.
– Fred Anderson Quartet, Vol. Two Review by Alex Henderson
Fred Anderson Saxophone
Hamid Drake Drums, Percussion
Jeff Parker Guitar
Tatsu Aoki Bass
Recorded live at the Velvet Lounge Chicago during the 1999 season.