Wes “Warm Daddy” Anderson

At Tula’s on Monday Earshot Jazz Festival 2011 presented a special jazz lesson from soulful, searing alto saxophonist Wessell “Warm Daddy” Anderson, with Phill Sparks on bass, Bill Anschell, piano and D’Vonne Lewis, drums.

Check out the Earshot Jazz Festival Schedule to see what’s next in the 2011 Festival lineup.

A former member of the Wynton Marsalis Septet and charter member of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, alto saxophonist Wessell “Warmdaddy” Anderson blends traditional jazz, some bebop and swinging sounds in a blues-inflected style that has drawn flattering comparisons to Cannonball Adderley. For over a decade and a half, he was part of Marsalis’ efforts at Jazz at Lincoln Center, but he left in 2006 to join the jazz faculty at Michigan State University.

“Always one of the most popular members of Jazz at Lincoln Center, many fans of the venerable institution were saddened to hear about Anderson’s stroke in 2007. Following the stroke, much of the left side of his body was numb, and many speculated as to whether he would play again. Musicians who knew Anderson well, however, were not surprised when he returned triumphantly to the bandstand after just a few months.”

“is 2010 return to a New York stage at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola was applauded by fans and critics alike. Nate Chinen, reviewing the outing in the New York Times, wrote: “And how did he sound? Excellent, unchanged. His mellow, sweet-tart tone was a physical presence, and he gave it plenty of air, often holding a note for a long stretch, then taking a breath and modulating to another one … In his alto style, there’s no chasm between the chivalrous croon of Johnny Hodges and the roguish charisma of Charlie Parker.”

“Born into a musical family in Brooklyn, Anderson played piano from an early age, starting to study classical music when he was 12. However, two years later he switched genres and instruments. His father, a drummer, had worked with Cecil Payne and directed his son towards jazz. Hearing records by Charlie Parker prompted the shift from piano to alto saxophone. Anderson studied with various teachers, including several he met through the Jazzmobile workshops.

“In 1983, he was heard by Branford Marsalis, who urged him to pursue his studies, this time under Alvin Batiste. Five years later, Anderson joined Wynton Marsalis’ band, touring internationally, with the corresponding gain in reputation and audience awareness that this brought about. Anderson, who also plays soprano and sopranino saxophones, has also worked with Betty Carter, Ted Nash, Marc Cary, Victor Goines and many others. For this concert, he is joined by Seattle’s top sidemen.”

by Danielle Bias from the Earshot Jazz Festival Schedule program

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