Jazz Great Fred Anderson Dies at 81

Jazz Great Fred Anderson Dies at 81

Another loss has hit the jazz world. Barely a week after free jazz pioneer Bill Dixon passed away, news has hit that Chicago-based saxophonist Fred Anderson died last night (June 24).

Anderson, who was 81, had suffered a heart attack on June 14. His sons Michael and Eugene Anderson confirmed his death.

Anderson was born in Louisiana, and had been playing saxophone since he was a teenager. When he was eight, his family moved to Evanston, IL. His musical roots laid in swing and bebop, but he also became known for his excursions into free jazz, as well as his extended solos and improvisations, and his unique forward-bent playing stance.

Anderson co-founded the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, who were focused on reviving the jazz scene in a stagnant Chicago in the 1960s. The tenor sax player also owned Chicago's Velvet Lounge jazz club, where lots of young jazz careers blossomed and the Chicago experimental jazz scene had a home. His last album was 21st Century Chase, which came out in 2009.

Even before his death, it was obvious that Anderson's contributions to the jazz world were appreciated. Thousands of people came out to celebrate the man at his 80th birthday celebration, held last year at Chicago's Millenium Park.