Fred Anderson Milwaukee Tapes Vol. 1

This is another smoking release from Atavistic's Unheard Music series. Fred Anderson is a trailblazing tenorist from Chicago, predating but generally associated with the AACM. As with many heavy jazz artists in America, there are periods of inactivity on the recording front. In Anderson's case, one such period lasted from the mid-'70s through the mid-'80s. The Milwaukee Tapes is a welcome document of that era, having been recorded, yet not released, in 1980. The band was Anderson's usual assembly at the time, featuring an energetic and creative Hamid Drake on drums. Drake is so up front with his presence that he is more of a co-leader than a sideman. Most of the electrifying passages on this CD are dialogues between Drake and Anderson - especially on the opening cut "Black Woman." Both Billy Brimfield's trumpet and Larry Hayrod's bass playing are well balanced but definitely supportive to the leaders. This is the best release so far in the Unheard Music series. (Atavistic)