Fred Sanders’ first recording is East of Vilbig on Leaning House Jazz, featuring the Austin, Texas based pianist/composer and special guests Roy Hargrove, Mark Whitfield and Texas tenor legend Marchel Ivery. It was in Ivery’s after-hour jam-sessions at the Green Parrot in South Dallas that Sanders first got his chops together.
Hargrove also served as a major inspiration when both musicians attended the Dallas Arts Magnet High School. Sanders was a cellist but was so inspired by hearing Hargrove’s version of “Red Clay” that he took up the piano just to play in the school’s jazz band. After high school, Sanders studied with Alvin Baptiste in Baton Rogue and then returned to Texas, playing in the Southwest Texas State jazz combo, later reuniting with Hargrove at the North Sea Jazz Festival.
An Austin resident for the past four years, Sanders reports that jazz is alive and healthy in the Texas capital where he gigs regularly, and “has space to develop. I’m just an individual who’s trying to learn as much as possible about the history of this music but still trying to contribute as well.”
Sanders composed all the music on his debut and enjoys writing when he’s inspired. Being the proud papa of a newborn son has been a tremendous catalyst for his creativity. “He can only communicate by crying and makes this wonderful sound when it’s time to eat. I’m trying to figure out how to capture that in music!
“Right now, I’m trying to develop a higher level of concentration so I can continue to write and learn. I’ve never been in the spotlight but I know I have to keep developing with all these people watching me. Eventually, I want to get a taste of New York. I’ve never been up there!”