WRCU Review: Jazz

Brendan Young

The live album was recorded in Chicago at Fred Anderson’s own “Velvet Lounge.” Anderson, a tenor saxophonist, joins bassist Harrison Bankhead and Hamid Drake on a set of four original, extended compositions. The trio setting, sans chordal accompaniment such as guitar or piano, gives each musician the responsibility to contribute an especially engaging part to the music. When a trio fulfills its sonic obligations to the audience, the interplay gets downright tantalizing. People talk of drum-sax conversations between Elvin Jones and John Coltrane with great reverence. Drake and Anderson exhibit a similar conversational capacity, but without the frantic baggage that comes with Trane. Anderson is an older man that feels comfortable using a more reserved state-of-playing. In the most pensive piece, “By Many Names,” the sax and bass play lines that drift around each other. Sax then gives way to a repetitive bass ostenato that sets the stage for the percussionist’s unobtrusive and melodic singing. The rest of the record maintains the same simpatico, but with a more aggressive tempo and improvisational approach. Timeless is essentially a perfect give-and-take situation between players comfortable with each other. But may I warn that one must listen to the entire set to enjoy this musical process. The music has little coincidence; it is as if the three players are simply conversing.