The Wire - 1/02, p.75
"...Once the trio lock in on the title track the energy level leaps, with Drake picking out sparse echoes around his kit as anderson runs off some meltingly pure and satisfyingly brassy runs."
Down Beat - 4/02, p.694 stars out of 5
- "...Showcases Anderson's durability as a saxophonist and a bandleader....Moving from strength to strength, Anderson reveals a staying power like few others in jazz."
Personnel: Fred Anderson (tenor saxophone); Tatsu Aoki (bass); Hamid Drake (drums).
Recorded live at the Velvet Lounge, Chicago, Illinois on March 25, 2000. Includes liner notes by Lloyd Sachs.
Personnel: Fred Anderson (tenor saxophone); Hamid Drake (drums).
Liner Note Author: Lloyd Sachs.
Recording information: Velvet Lounge (03/25/2000).
Photographer: Andy Nozaka.
When Fred Anderson entered his seventies in 1999, the Chicago-based tenor sax veteran showed no signs of slowing down. His avant-garde improvisations were as passionate and arresting as ever, and he kept busy owning and operating a Windy City jazz club called the Velvet Lounge. Recorded at his Velvet Lounge in March 2000, this generally excellent CD finds a 71-year-old Anderson leading a piano-less trio that boasts Tatsu Aoki on upright bass and Hamid Drake on drums. Both are fellow Chicagoans, and both of them enjoy a strong rapport with Anderson on extended inside/outside performances such as the 18-minute "Tatsu's Groove," the 19-minute "Smooth Velvet," and the 16-minute "On the Run." Like John Coltrane, Anderson can be long-winded -- and like Coltrane, he is such a wealth of creativity and imagination that his excesses can easily be forgiven. Those excesses, in fact, can even be enjoyable if you are among Anderson's die-hard devotees. Throughout the CD, Anderson never sounds the least bit inhibited; of course, being uninhibited is easier when you're playing at your own club. At his Velvet Lounge, Anderson is in the driver's seat. He doesn't have to worry about a club owner complaining that he doesn't play enough overdone standards, he isn't asked to feature predictable Sarah Vaughn clones who haven't a fraction of Sassy's soulfulness, and he doesn't have to explain his music to a booking agent who fails to comprehend avant-garde jazz. On the Run: Live at the Velvet Lounge is Anderson on his own terms and his own turf -- he's calling the shots, and for listeners, that's a very good thing. ~ Alex Henderson