Jazz musicians must really love what they do. How else can you explain spending a lifetime playing music and rarely receiving the recognition your talent deserves.
Occasionally, for one reason or another, a jazz musician's name will somehow manage to come to the attention of more than just those who are aficionados of the genre, but unfortunately it's not usually until after their dead, which means that some of the most innovative and brilliant musicians of our generation are working in relative obscurity and creating music that the majority of us will never hear. Unfortunately we're the ones who are the real losers, because we miss out on some truly awe inspiring music.
Now it's true that the strain of jazz known as avant-garde can be a little inaccessible at times to some people, but that's primarily because they have very little exposure to it. Like any art form, to properly appreciate it one needs to have an understanding of what's going on, and the only way that can be achieved is by listening to it. Out of what at first might sound like so much noise, patterns, and motifs begin to appear and are then replayed with parts removed, added, or changed in some manner, that gives new emphasis to the music. Much like abstract art there is no specific object for the listener to hang on to, rather they have to find their won way into the music via some less concrete path like emotions.
The other thing that listeners have to be aware of is how much of what they are listening to is being created in front of them and that pieces will change each time they are played and depending on who is playing them. You have to surrender any conceptions you might have held about "songs", and start thinking of a tune as a collection of notes to be used as inspiration, not an end in itself. So while you might hear something akin to what you think of as a melody at some point, those notes will be folded, bent, mutilated, and spindled in any manner of ways over the course of a performance.
Formed in 1965 the Association For The Advancement Of Creative Musicians (AACM) of Chicago has been the breeding ground for some of the most innovative and creative voices in modern African American music and most specifically jazz. Tenor saxophone player Fred Anderson was one of the founding members of the AACM and has been a key figure in the reinterpretation of classic be-bop standards from the forties in the new style. So it's only fitting that for his eightieth birthday bash at the club he has operated for years, the Velvet Lounge, one set was devoted to re-workings of Dextor Gordon and Wardell Gray's "The Chase" from 1947. It's only appropriate that Delmark Records, one of the first labels to record members of the AACM, were there for that gig in March 2009 and have now released it as the CD, 21st. Century Chase: 80th Birthday Bash, Live At The Velvet Lounge. On that night Anderson was joined by his long time collaborator and fellow tenor saxophone player Kidd Jordan, plus a backing band made up of Jeff Parker on guitar, Harrison Bankhead on bass, and Chad Taylor on drums.