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Russ Freeman: Important West Coast Pianist Dies at 76

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Born May 28, 1926, Pianist Russ Freeman (full name Russell Donald Freeman) was best known for his work with trumpeter Chet Baker and drummer Shelly Manne in the 1950s. Although born in Chicago, he did most of his playign and recording in Los Angeles (although he did record with Serge Chaloff in Boston in 1954). He worked with most if not all of the major West Coast jazz names, including Dexter Gordon, Wardell Gray, Sonny Criss, Chet Baker, Shelly Manne, Shorty Rogers and Art Pepper. He also played with Charlie Parker in LA in 1947, and spent two years with Benny Goodman in 1958-9. His later career was focused mainyly on session work for television and film soundtracks, and as a music director in nightclubs. He recorded again in a duet with Manne in 1982.

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