Fred Anderson, 1929-2010

We were saddened to read…

Chicago jazz sax legend Fred Anderson dead at 81
June 24, 2010
Tenor saxophonist Fred Anderson, a father figure to Chicago free-jazz musicians and audiences, bandleader, musician, founding member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) and owner of a leading Chicago jazz club, the Velvet Lounge, died Thursday at 81 after suffering a heart attack on June 14.

Anderson, nominated for prizes in several Down Beat and Jazz Journalists Association polls, was widely praised for his big, bold tenor saxophone sound and his flair for melodic improvisation. Since the 1960s, when he was one of Chicago’s earliest free-jazz artists, he began nurturing younger musicians. Drummer Hamid Drake, saxophonists Joseph Jarman and Douglas Ewart and trombonist George Lewis are among the leading musicians who grew to musical maturity as members of Anderson’s combos.

In 1981 he began operating the Velvet Lounge, a neighborhood tavern at Indiana Avenue and 21st Street. Gradually Anderson transformed it into a full-time music venue where young musicians and veterans, from the black free-jazz scene and the white, north-side free-jazz players, joined in cross-cultural adventures. As a world-famous jazz venue, it now also frequently presents major American and European improvisers and composers.

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