Support All About Jazz

All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.


I want to help
1

NEA Statement on the Death of NEA Jazz Master Von Freeman

SOURCE:

Sign in to view read count
Von Freeman
NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman's Statement on the Death of NEA Jazz Master Von Freeman

“On behalf of the National Endowment for the Arts, it is with great sadness that I acknowledge the passing of 2012 NEA Jazz Master Von Freeman. An extraordinary saxophonist with a sound all his own, Von Freeman's contributions to jazz – and specifically Chicago's jazz history – are numerous. We join many others in the jazz community and beyond in mourning his death while celebrating his life and his music.”

Born in Chicago on October 3, 1922, 2012 NEA Jazz Master Earle Lavon “Von" Freeman, Sr. is considered a founder of the “Chicago School" of jazz tenorists, a distinction shared with Gene Ammons, Johnny Griffin, and Clifford Jordan. With his individual sound, at once husky and melodic, he makes every song his own.

Freeman was surrounded by music in his childhood: his mother sang in the church choir, his father played jazz albums on an early Victrola - on which Freeman first heard the tenor sax - and his maternal grandfather and uncle were guitarists. Initially self-taught, he played saxophone at DuSable High School, landing his first gig with Horace Henderson's Orchestra at the age of 16. Drafted during WWII, he performed with a Navy band while in service. Once back in Chicago, he played with his brothers George (guitar) and Eldridge “Bruz" (drums) in the house band at the Pershing Hotel Ballroom, where jazz musicians such as Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie would stop and sit in when passing through.

In the 1950s, Freeman associated himself with various artists, mostly in the Chicago region, including Sun Ra, Andrew Hill, Jimmy Witherspoon, and Al Smith. In the 1960s, he played with Milt Trenier. But it wasn't until 1972 that Freeman recorded an album under his own name, Doin' It Right Now, produced by jazz great Roland Kirk.

Since then, Freeman continued to record, occasionally alongside Chicago artists such as saxophonist Frank Catalano, as well as with his own son Chico, who has himself achieved acclaim as a jazz musician. In 1982, he and Chico teamed up to record the Columbia album, Fathers and Sons, with pianist Ellis Marsalis and his sons Wynton and Branford. Later recordings, such as The Great Divide and Good Forever, featured drummer Jimmy Cobb, pianist Richard Wyands, and bassist John Webber. Freeman had a regular Tuesday night set and jam session at the New Apartment Lounge on Chicago's South Side, which was often attended by jazz luminaries, and in recent years, he received acclaim in Europe, particularly in the Netherlands.

In June 2010, the University of Chicago awarded Freeman the Rosenberger Medal to “recognize achievement through research, in authorship, in invention, for discovery, for unusual public service or for anything deemed to be on great benefit to humanity."

Visit Website

Related Video

Extended Analysis
CD/LP/Track Review
Profiles
Interviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Von Freeman: Vonski Speaks
Von Freeman: Vonski...

2010
buy
Young And Foolish
Young And Foolish
Challenge Records
2007
buy
The Great Divide
The Great Divide
Premonition Records
2004
buy
[no cover]
Inside Chicago, Vol. 4
Premonition Records
2003
buy
The Improvisor
The Improvisor
Premonition Records
2002
buy
[no cover]
Live At The Dakota
Premonition Records
2001
buy
John Coltrane John Coltrane
saxophone
Sonny Rollins Sonny Rollins
saxophone
Chris Potter Chris Potter
reeds
Joe Lovano Joe Lovano
saxophone
Dexter Gordon Dexter Gordon
sax, tenor
Joe Henderson Joe Henderson
sax, tenor
Johnny Griffin Johnny Griffin
sax, tenor
Hank Mobley Hank Mobley
sax, tenor
Jackie McLean Jackie McLean
sax, alto
Donny McCaslin Donny McCaslin
saxophone
Archie Shepp Archie Shepp
saxophone
Seamus Blake Seamus Blake
sax, tenor

Shop

News

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.