While Chicago is mainly known for its rich Blues history, its place in America’s bountiful Jazz heritage is sadly overlooked. Chicago has had a thriving Jazz scene ever since the 1920′s, falling just behind New Orleans and N.Y.C. in terms of its importance in Jazz. 74 year old saxophonist Fred Anderson’s new CD “Back At The Velvet Lounge” is a great reminder of how thriving it still is in the “City Of Big Shoulders”.
Recorded live at his self owned/operated club on the South Side “The Velvet Lounge” at 21st & Indiana, we find Fred in fine form here. He goes for broke here, taking no prisoners as his tenor work running circles around his sidemen some of whom are 50 years his junior. The tunes range from beautiful ballads such as “Olivia” to all out free for all honk fests like “Fougeux”. While he is definitely his own man as far his musical voice goes (he always has been, just listen to his work with Sun Ra) I hear shades of early 60′s Sonny Rollins sneaking into the mix as well as Gene Ammons unmistakable tonal gymnastics.
No surprise there though, as Ammons ruled the Jazz roost in Chi-Town for years setting the standard for generations to come.