"From its very first notes you know this is going to be a five-star-in-the-pocket groover" –THE SCANNER
"I have heard the future of cool jazz and his name is Fred Sanders" –TEXAS MONTHLY
Review: Fred Sanders' East of Vilbig
By Jay Trachtenberg
"It's not often that a young artist, one essentially unknown to the jazz world at large, is afforded the opportunity to record his debut album with the help of three unabashedly heavy hitters. Nevertheless, that's the enviable position in which pianist Fred Sanders has found himself. Anyone familiar with the Austin jazz scene knows that Sanders has been one of it's most exciting players since moving here a few years ago from Dallas to study with Jazz Professor James Polk at Southwest Texas State in San Marcos. Sanders' presence, along with other young Turks like Elias Haslanger, Ephraim Owens, Edwin Livingston, and J.J. Johnson, has done wonders to re-invigorate the local scene. Now, with his recording debut as a leader (he appears on albums with Haslanger and clarinetist Alvin Batiste), Sanders takes his stock to the next level by making the most of performing with a front line that includes trumpet star and former Dallasite Roy Hargrove, Verve recording guitarist Mark Whitfield, and Dallas tenor sax giant Marchel Ivery. (The session was cut this past June when all three musicians were in Austin to perform at the Clarkesville Jazz Festival.) The album's title refers to the Big D neighborhood where Sanders grew up and the music within, all original compositions by the leader, reflects a warm, down-home quality. A strong blues feeling permeates the date with the piano trio of "Snoogin'," the stretched-out blowin' on "1723," and the syncopated groove of "Tip Top" shining the brightest and casting the bluest hue. There's even a dash of Latin flavoring on "Little Wonders" while "Amen, Sister Glover" ends the set in a sermonizing, soulful fashion. Don't expect Fred Sanders to stay in Austin forever. As this debut makes clear, destiny has other plans for him."