Dark Day/Live In Verona (Expanded 2CD Reissue+Bonus Tracks)

Dark Day/Live In Verona (Expanded 2CD Reissue+Bonus Tracks)

Fred Anderson Quartet

Fred Anderson made his first visit to Europe, accompanied by his long-term partner, trumpeter Billy Brimfield, in February, 1977. The two Chicagoans appeared as featured guests with Neighbours, an Austrian trio led by pianist Dieter Glawischnig, and with that group they recorded the album Accents (Musicians Record Company). Anderson toured Europe for the first time with an ensemble of his own a year later, including an appearance at the Seventh International New Jazz Festival Moers, in Germany, where he and a group with trombonist George Lewis recorded Another Place (Moers Music). At the invitation of Moers director Burkhard Hennen, Anderson returned for a follow-up appearance at the festival, from which the tenor saxophonist and his working quartet embarked on a tour by train that took them to stages in Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Italy. The day before they left on that second European sojourn, the Fred Anderson Quartet performed at home in Chicago at the Museum of Contemporary Art, as part of an ongoing series of AACM concerts presented by the museum. The MCA gig was taped and later issued on the tiny Austrian label Message Records. Released in a small batch, it rather quickly became the rarest item in Fred Anderson’s vinyl discography and has until now been a treasured collector’s item heard by only a handful of Anderson fans. In reissuing this LP, we at UMS decided to augment it with an especially hot tape from the ensuing tour of Europe. Four days after the MCA concert, the Anderson four wowed a big crowd in Verona, Italy. Their performance was recorded – very nicely, with the exception of some creative panning done live to the master tape, which careful listeners will notice on the CD – and twenty-two years later the music remains as crisp and exciting as it must have then. Listening back, Anderson can hardly believe it’s that old. "Could be yesterday," he says, smiling widely. Brimfield, who sounds particularly strong on these dates, had been with Anderson since the very early days, at the dawn of the ‘60s. Anderson recalls the two of them practicing endless hours in the basement of his house in Evanston, composing and working out fat-sounding two-part harmonies on a book of highly adaptable original pieces, some of the same compositions that they were playing twenty-plus years later. "This was before the AACM," he says. "I used to have Steve Colson, all the guys, over to my basement. We’d be up until all hours listening to records...my wife used to get so angry. I remember when Joseph Jarman came over, before Song For [1966] even." Two decades of collaboration cemented Anderson and Brimfield’s musical relationship by the time they stormed Europe. On the second tour with Anderson’s own band, they travelled with Hank (now Hamid) Drake, the sensational drummer with whom Anderson continues to work, and bassist Steve Palmore. When the quartet returned to Chicago, Palmore stopped off in New York and didn’t return; the next chapter of the Anderson quartet began as they set about looking for a replacement, which soon came in the form of Larry Hayrod. As for Drake, who contributes the piece "The Prayer" (later retitled "Bombay (Children of Cambodia)"), on these recordings he is a youthful 23 and he already has the earmarks of being one of the all-time greats. Verona is a showcase for his musicianship, the value of which will not be amplified by hyperbolic description – listen and judge for yourself. "Every time we played those pieces they were different," says Anderson. For a demonstration, listen to the versions of "Dark Day" that bookend this two-disc set. "Taking them in a new direction – we made a point of that." – John Corbett, Chicago, June 2001

(UMS2182CD)

$20.00