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Saxophonist and Club Owner Fred Anderson Passes

Fred Anderson, photo by Jason Tisue
Fred Anderson, photo by Jason Tisue

Influential Chicago saxophonist and Louisiana native Fred Anderson passed away on June 24 at the age of 81. He made his mark on the improvisational music scene in a number of ways, including co-founding Chicago's avant-garde Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians. He also owned and operated one of the Windy City's most important music venues, the Velvet Lounge.

Often referred to as a missing link between John Coltrane and later innovators like Roscoe Mitchell, Anderson appeared on seminal avant-garde recordings of the 1960s by Joseph Jarman, which gave him international exposure. Although his recording career was relatively quiet in the 70s, he played and toured with his own group and opened the Velvet Lounge in 1982.

Anderson continued to play with a who's who of jazz boundary pushers, including Ken Vandermark, Muhal Richard Abrams, Hamid Drake, and New Orleans' own Edward "Kidd" Jordan. He had a string of successful recordings in the 1990s and 2000s, including a live recording of his 80th birthday bash at the Velvet Lounge in 2009.

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