Fred Anderson: Wandering




Fred Anderson (tenor sax)


Staying in the Game (Engine E029)

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Fred Anderson (tenor sax),

Harrison Bankhead (bass, thumb piano), Tim Daisy (drums)


Composed by Fred Anderson


Recorded: Chicago, November 2, 2008


Rating: 89/100 (learn more)

The beauty of Dave Holland’s gently pastoral “Conference of the Birds” comes in part from its placement in the middle of an album otherwise teeming with turbulent free jazz. It’s the breathtaking fury of the storm that makes one appreciate the calm that inevitably follows all the more.

Fred Anderson’s often-explosive Staying In the Game album works much the same way. Four songs into this collection of a half-dozen tracks comes the serene and tonal “Wandering.” The intro of just Anderson’s sax grounded by Bankhead’s thumb piano amounts to a personal, agreeable conversation between the two. When Bankhead mans his bass, he is assuming a guitarist role just as much as a bassist’s, strumming nearly full chords to fully set the harmony, so that Anderson is free to improvise within the broad parameters his bassist set for him. Anderson makes effortless statements of varying lengths, always listening closely to what Bankhead is doing, while Daisy colors the proceedings with cymbal shadings and various, low-key percussion.

“Wandering” is Anderson’s calm before and after the storm. Enjoy the respite while you can.

Reviewer: S. Victor Aaron


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