Fred Anderson Credit: Seth Tisue

On Thursday night Millennium Park’s Pritzker Pavilion hosts a free celebration of great Chicago tenor saxophonist Fred Anderson. The legendary proprietor of the Velvet Lounge won’t actually be playing, but the focus of the show—part of a series of events marking his 80th birthday—will be on Anderson’s tunes, which are inextricably linked to his singular improvisatory style. The songs, several in new arrangements, will be performed by the AACM’s Great Black Music Ensemble and a handful of special guests: trombonist George Lewis, reedists Greg Ward, Francis Wong, and Ed Wilkerson Jr., and cellist Tomeka Reid. It’s nice to see a venerable artist and composer like Anderson saluted while he’s still alive.