Fred Anderson Biography

22 March 1929, Monroe, Louisiana, USA. Resident in Evanston, Illinois, just north of Chicago, since the age of 10, the self-taught Anderson was known locally as an ‘outside’ tenor saxophonist, his gruff, vigorous style mixing the lyricism and power of bebop with the more experimental approach of Ornette Coleman. In the mid-60s he was a founder member of the AACM, recording on Joseph Jarman’s Song For (which included Anderson’s composition ‘Little Fox Run’). A family man, he was obliged to work a day job as a carpet-fitter but remained associated with the AACM, nurturing a younger generation of talents such as Douglas Ewart and George Lewis in his regular group. In 1977 Anderson visited Europe, recording with the trio Neighbours, and in 1978 he recorded Another Place at the Moers Festival in Germany. Basically still a home man, he made two further albums in Chicago and took over a Southside club, the Velvet Lounge, which he continues to run, playing frequently with long-time associates such as trumpeter Billy Brimfield and drummer Hamid Drake.

A strikingly original voice on tenor saxophone, Anderson is one of several AACM stalwarts who have been seriously under-recorded. In 1990 he was one of three recipients of Arts Midwest’s first ever Jazz Masters Awards, and in the same year he was invited to open the AACM’s 25th anniversary celebrations. He also records with new wave avant garde players the DKV Trio, who comprise Ken Vandermark (reeds), Kent Kessler (bass) and Hamid Drake (drums).

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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