Fred Anderson

2 Days in April

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This recording of two concerts at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and MIT at Cambridge are striking for two reasons: One is that they smoke ass; the other is that the two elder players here, both saxophonists, Fred Anderson, who runs the Velvet Lounge in Chicago, the city's hottest spot for new creative music, and New Orleans professor Edward "Kidd" Jordan, are still shielded by the spotlight rather than having it shone on them. Meanwhile their younger, crack rhythm section of bassist William Parker and drummer Hamid Drake are celebrated all over the planet in both mainstream and marginal publications for their brilliance and dedication to bringing "free" creative jazz out from under the rock of obscurity. Kidd Jordan and Anderson obviously care less, and the music they make here with their younger counterparts is the proof. There isn't anything remotely "inside" about the playing on these two CDs. They are documents of concerts in which two brilliant veteran saxophonists engaged each other, stretched each other's musical vocabularies to the breaking point and pushed their rhythm section into places -- even though these two cats have played with everybody -- they hadn't dreamed of going before -- and perhaps not since. None of the individual pieces, which range anywhere from ten to 18 minutes, is worth mentioning separately because this music is, truly, "speaking in tongues," these are the pure "ribbons of sound" John Coltrane spoke of when a musician reached a placed beyond the point of "ordinary" language. The sheer mode-shattering, polytonal majesty of creative over tonal joy of two men old enough to be grandfathers, speaking, squealing, honking, praying, bleeding, singing, crying, preaching, whispering, and laughing to each other is enough. And yes, Drake and Parker were easily the only capable pair for this job; they ride the hurricane from the inside knowing far too much to attempt to contain the sheer joy that this fury of sound conjures.

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