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Velvet Lounge

2128 1/2 S Indiana Ave.

Saxophonist Fred Anderson established the Velvet Lounge in 1982 and it became a showcase for his own musical explorations while he also hosted regular jam sessions that became the musical home for upcoming local jazz musicians to try out their ideas. This was the same spirit behind the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, which Anderson also co-founded. A completely hands-on entrepreneur, when Anderson was not playing, he was usually working behind the bar or collecting money at the door. Visiting musicians from around the world also performed and recorded at the venue, including German bassist Peter Kowald who recorded on Anderson’s Live At The Velvet Lounge alongside Chicago-based drummer Hamid Drake. This location closed in 2006 and the club moved to nearby E. Cermak, which Anderson oversaw until his death in 2010. Drummer Mike Reed, who was one of Anderson’s many students, opened his venue Constellation in 2013 and operates it under the lessons he learned at the Velvet Lounge. Anderson himself was honored with a park in the South Loop that bears his name.

– A.C. 

Caption: Former location of the Velvet Lounge.

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