Fred Anderson was born on March 22, 1929 in Monroe, Louisiana and learned to play the saxophone by himself when he was a teenager. Moving with his family to Evanston, Illinois in the 1940s he studied music formally at the Roy Knapp Conservatory in Chicago, Illinois and had a private teacher for a short time.
He was one of the founders of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) and an important member of the musical collective. In the early 1960s Fred formed his own group and performed his original compositions with drummer Vernon Thomas, bassist Bill Fletcher, and his partner for many years, trumpeter Billy Brimfield.
During this period he recorded several notable avant garde albums as a sideman with saxophonist Joseph Jarman, As If It Were the Seasons and Song For which included one of his composition Little Fox Run. By 1972 he put together the Fred Anderson Sextet, with trombonist George Lewis, reedist Douglas Ewart, bassist Felix Blackman, drummer Hamid Drake and Iqua Colson on vocals. Throughout the Seventies he toured Europe, recorded in Austria, and recorded his first record as leader, Another Place in Germany.
He opened the short-lived performance-workshop space Birdhouse in honor of Charlie Parker, and in 1983 took over ownership of the Velvet Lounge in Chicago, which quickly became a center for the city’s jazz and experimental music scenes. The club expanded and relocated in the summer of 2006. Before that, his eclectic Beehive bar in west Chicago was a draw where musicians from around the world drank beer and played, mostly for each other.
Though remaining active as a performer, Anderson rarely recorded for about a decade beginning in the mid-1980s but by the Nineties he resumed a more active recording schedule, both as a solo artist, and as a collaborator with younger performers. He mentored a host of young musicians not limited to Hamid Drake, Harrison Bankhead, David Boykin, Nicole Mitchell, Justin Dillard, Aaron Getsug, Josh Abrams, Fred Jackson, Jr., George Lewis, Karl E. H. Seigfried, Isaiah Sharkey, and Isaiah Spencer.
Chicago avant-garde tenor saxophonist Fred Anderson, who was rooted in the swing and hard bop idioms but incorporated innovations from free jazz, passed away on June 24, 2010.
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Allan Ganley was born on March 11, 1931 in Tolworth, Surrey, England and was a self-taught drummer. In the early 1950s Ganley played in the dance band led by Bert Ambrose. In 1953 he came to prominence as a member of Johnny Dankworth’s band, then the most popular modern jazz group in the UK. Throughout the 1950s, he worked with pianist Derek Smith, Dizzy Reece, clarinettist Vic Ash, Ronnie Scott and with visiting American musicians. Towards the end of the decade he was co-leader with Ronnie Ross of a small group known as the Jazzmakers.
By the early 1960s, Ganley was often performing with Tubby Hayes, with his small groups or occasionally assembling a big band. He was the house drummer at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club and played with numerous Americans including Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Getz, Jim Hall, Freddie Hubbard and Rahsaan Roland Kirk. By the early 1970s he took time out to study at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, then returned to the UK to form and lead a big band, which he maintained sporadically for ten years.
Throughout the Seventies and ’80s and Nineties, Allan appeared on many broadcasts and recording dates, playing jazz and effortlessly slipping from traditional to post-bop to big band to mainstream, all the while swinging with great subtlety. He accompanied pianists as different as Teddy Wilson and Al Haig and for singers from Carol Kidd to Blossom Dearie.
As an arranger, he provided charts for many leading British jazzmen and for the BBC Radio Big Band, thus enhancing the enormous yet understated contribution he made to the British jazz scene over the years. Drummer and arranger Allan Ganley passed away on March 29, 2008.
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Roy Williams was born on March 7, 1937 in Bolton, Lancashire, England and began his career as a trombonist during the British trad jazz movement of the 1950s. He played with trumpeter Mike Peters and clarinetist Terry Lightfoot in the early Sixties, then joined trumpeter Alex Welsh’s Dixieland outfit in 1965, replacing Roy Crimmins. While with Welsh, he played with visiting American jazz players as Wild Bill Davison, Bud Freeman, and Ruby Braff.
Williams left Welsh in 1978 and joined Humphrey Lyttlelton’s band, staying with the latter for four years. In the ’80s he began working freelance and soon became a first call trombone playing with clarinetist Peanuts Hucko, tenor saxophonist Scott Hamilton, trumpeter Bent Persson and clarinetist John Barnes. He performed with The World’s Greatest Jazz Band.
Among Roy’s recordings are Gruesome Twosome on the Black Lion label, and Interplay for Sine Records, both with Barnes. In 1998 he co-led a swing-oriented quintet date with saxophonist Danny Moss titled Steamers! on the Nagel-Heyer label. Though not as active as he was up through the Nineties, trombonist Roy Williams won numerous jazz polls, toured Europe and the United States and remains a popular presence when he’s on the British mainstream jazz scene.
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Eddie Jones was March 1, 1929 in Greenwood, Mississippi and grew up in Red Bank, New Jersey. In the early 1950s with Sarah Vaughan and Lester Young.
From 1951 to 1952 he taught music in South Carolina before becoming a member of Count Basie’s orchestra in 1953, a relationship that remained until 1962. During this period he recorded frequently with this ensemble, and also played with Basie in smaller ensembles, featuring Joe Newman, Frank Foster, Frank Wess, Thad Jones, Ernie Wilkins, Milt Jackson, Coleman Hawkins, Putte Wickman.
Jones quit music in 1962, took a job with IBM, then later became vice president of an insurance company. By the 1980s he returned to jazz and played on and off in swing jazz ensembles. He recorded a couple of dozen albums with Dorothy Ashby, Count Basie, Bob Brookmeyer, Jimmy Cleveland, Milt Jackson, Hank Jones, Frank Wess and Ernie Wilkins.
Double bassist Eddie Jones passed away May 31, 1997 in West Hartford, Connecticut.
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Ronald Maxwell Jones was born on February 28, 1917 in London, England and together with his brother Cliff, taught himself to play the saxophone, before the two of them founded the semi-professional Campus Club Dance Band in 1930. Dissolved in 1935 he tried to establish himself as a professional musician, becoming a member of a combo led by trumpeter Johnny Claes, with musicians who played in the style of Coleman Hawkins.
In 1942 and 1943, Max worked for the BBC radio program Radio Rhythm Club; and in 1942, together with authors Albert McCarthy and Charles Fox, founded the magazine Jazz Music, which became meritorious as it set out to reassert the pioneering role of the African-American, to emphasize the music’s social dimensions, and to attack the glossy commercialism of big-band swing.
Since 1944, Jones had a full-time job writing features for the Melody Maker in the column Collectors’ Corner. In the following years he gained more and more high recognition as a proven expert of New Orleans Jazz, swing, and mainstream jazz.
In 1971 Jones published a Louis Armstrong biography, Louis: The Louis Armstrong Story, together with John Chilton. He also wrote a number of liner notes, such as for the CD edition of the Kenny Clarke/Francy Boland Big Band, the Spirits of Rhythm, and wrote the preface for the Lee Collins, Mary Spriggs Collins, Frank Gillis, John W. Miner book Oh, Didn’t He Ramble: The Life Story of Lee Collins. A collection of his articles on musicians such as Coleman Hawkins, Johnny Hodges, Billie Holiday, and Mary Lou Williams was published as a book entitled Talking Jazz in 1987.
Jones was the first jazz musician to become a professional journalist and exclusively dealt with jazz in his publications. He was a model and a mentor for a younger generation of rock music critics and authors. Author, radio host, and journalist Max Jones passed away on August 1, 1993 in Chichester, England.
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