fred anderson, 1929-2010

fred anderson. photo by jim newberry.

fred anderson. photo by jim newberry.

In A Power Stronger Than Itself, George E. Lewis’ exhilarating 2008 book on Chicago’s AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians), saxophonist Fred Anderson is described as “a hero to the younger generation, a symbol of the combination of personal tenacity, historical continuity and radical musical integrity.”

As one of the AACM’s founders, Anderson was all of that. As a musician and improviser, he was tireless. Inspired by the likes of Charlie Parker but driven to collaborate during the ‘60s with such daring stylists as Joseph Jarman, he came from a generation that bowed to jazz tradition. Throughout the music he created over the last 40 years, including his most extreme avant garde excursions, Anderson never lost sight of that tradition. That’s why his saxophone tone remained so lustrous, lyrical and contemplative even as some of his compositions grew more abstract.

To those in Chicago, his AACM legacy is almost equaled by his founding of the jazz club known as the Velvet Lounge, a venue Anderson named for the complimentary descriptions so often pinned to his playing. Founded in 1982, Anderson did everything, as a recent Associated Press story outlined it, “from collecting the $10 cover charge to jamming onstage to taking out the garbage” at the club.

Anderson died Thursday in Chicago at the age of 81. He had suffered a severe heart attack on June 14.

Near as we can tell, Anderson never played in Lexington. But his disciples have. Among them are drummer Hamid Drake and bassist Josh Abrams. Both teamed with Anderson on one of his finest and most accessible recordings, 2007’s From the River to the Ocean. Any number of live recordings made at the Velvet Lounge also come recommended. But the open, meditative and often percussive allure of River, not to mention its representation Anderson’s Coltrane-like sway on saxophone and the album’s tribute tune to another AACM innovator, Kentucky-born trumpeter Malachi Thompson (For Brother Thompson), make the recording a defining work in a career that embraced deep jazz tradition as well as the music’s boundless sense of possibility.

No Sleighs, but Plenty of Bargains; Last-Minute Christmas Shoppers Wheel and Deal at Auto Auction

The Washington Post December 25, 1994 | Sari Horwitz The pink ’82 Escort pulled up to the auction block and about 15 men swarmed around. They flung the doors open and flipped up the hood as all heads dropped to peer inside.

“Who will give me $600?” called out an auctioneer wearing an elf’s hat. “$575? … $550 … $525?” When he got down to $275, a hand shot up. The two-door Ford with 74,000 miles on the odometer and a University of Maryland bumper sticker was sold to Keith Strother, 20, of College Park, who turned to his mother.

“Merry Christmas!” he said, beaming.

And so it went – car after jeep after truck after car – for hours yesterday at the Capital Auto Auction in the old Trailways bus garage in Northeast Washington, across from the main post office. More than 100 shoppers willing to brave the rain and a little uncertainty about what exactly they were going to be buying crowded into the cavernous warehouse packed with cheap Christmas wheels.

The auction has been running every Saturday since 1988, but the largest number of cars donated and sold comes during the Christmas season until New Year’s Eve. Some are auctioned for their owners. Some are auctioned for the benefit of the Salvation Army, and those willing to turn over their clunkers get a tax deduction. web site capital auto auction

There were 266 vehicles for sale yesterday, including a 1987 Toyota Camry, a 1989 Ford Taurus and a 1994 Toyota King Cab pickup truck with only 8,000 miles and a full factory warranty.

“We usually don’t have this kind of inventory, but everyone wants to donate a car to take advantage of the tax break,” said auction vice president and general manager Gordy Zaritsky, also wearing an elf cap. An additional 500 vehicles are waiting to be picked up from donors, he said. capital auto auction

Zaritsky said 20 percent of the cars are in good condition, 20 percent are salvaged for parts or scrap metal and the remaining 60 percent need some work. Those 60 percent are what he calls “fixer uppers.” Buyers usually include some who need transportation, some backyard mechanics and a few dealers such as Bob Alston of Expert Auto, who buys 15 to 20 cars a week this way.

“What you see is what you get,” Alston said. “It’s not misleading.” “I want to buy an inexpensive car and avoid a lot of the hassle of a car dealer,” said Wayl Osman, 27, of Silver Spring. Osman, a security officer, bought a blue 1977 Honda Civic yesterday for $130 to use for his part-time pizza delivery work.

There are good deals to be had, but auction officials said there are some lemons too. Buyers show up at the auction about three hours before it starts to inspect the vehicles, hoping to spot mechanical and safety defects.

The cars are sold under different “lights” – green, indicating that the car is mechanically sound, or red, meaning the seller is unwilling to vouch for the vehicle’s mechanical condition. Some need to be pushed to the auction block; others have smoke spewing from the exhaust pipes. All sales are final.

Buyers pay $200 for a bidding number to prevent anyone walking in to bid just to push the price up.

The Strother family bought in bulk yesterday.

Keith, a student at Virginia Union University in Richmond, bought his first car – a blue 1983 Chevrolet Cavalier for $375. Sure, it needed paint and new rims, and the upholstery on the seats was kind of torn up. But, hey, the radio worked and the engine sounded – okay.

Then, he bought the pink Ford Escort for his mother, who has been without a car for six months since her last one was totaled in an accident.

“No more taking groceries from Giant on the subway,” said his mother, Toni, a clerk for the U.S. Department of Commerce.

“Man, we are so happy,” said her husband, Carl, a bus driver, after the purchases. “We bought two cars, and we didn’t spend a lot of money.” Sari Horwitz

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