Little known great jazz in Chicago’s neighborhoods

The Jazz Institute of Chicago's annual club tour is an urban presentation innovation and a treat, revealing an unheralded depth of local audiences, entrepreneurs and artists. On Wednesday night, Dudley Owens blew tenor sax with the largest sound I've heard maybe ever, in combo with an older pianist (sorry I didn't get his name) who played as no one ever told him he couldn't, turning the keyboard inside-out. They completely refreshed the Billie Holiday standard "All of Me" at a friendly, funky hangout called City Life Cocktail Lounge on East … [Read more...]

Fred Anderson, Chicago jazz hero, appreciated

As a teenager in pursuit of the avant garde, I took tenor saxophonist Fred Anderson, who died June 24 at age 81, as a hero upon first hearing him in 1966. It was at a Unitarian Church-run coffee house in downtown Evanston near Northwestern U., and attention clearly had to be paid to the long, fierce, unreeling, knotty improvisations Anderson delivered in an ever-more hunkered-down posture as the evening went on.There was an unremitting sense of urgency, sincerity and humility to what he was saying on his horn, spelled by … [Read more...]

Happy Birthday, Fred Anderson

Fred Anderson, tenor saxophonist, is one of America's less-acknowledged Jazz Masters, a man of deep musicality who has had enormous influence on three generations of players and listeners drawn by his brawny, free-wheeling Chicago sound. He turns 80 on March 22, and a weeklong celebration at the Velvet Lounge, his music room on the near-South Side, starts tonight, March 15, with the AACM Great Black Music Ensemble. A founding member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, Anderson stayed home when the Art Ensemble of … [Read more...]