Von Freeman Vonski Speaks Nessa Records 2009
The musician's musician" is a tiring phrase--assuming that only someone who actually plays an instrument can receive joy from listening to players such as tenor saxpohonists Dexter Gordon, Don Byas and Ike Quebec, trumpeter Dupree Bolton or drummer Walter Perkins. None of the aforementioned players are still with us, and all spent time either in Europe (where ostensibly they were more appreciated), or died in ...read more
Still one of the best kept secrets in jazz--when he's referred to at all in the standard histories, it's usually only in passing, as the father of reed player Chico Freeman--Chicago tenor saxophonist Von Freeman deserves, instead, to be celebrated as a national treasure.Freeman was, in his prime, a swing-to-hard bop stylist of extraordinary shamanistic power; a visceralist who preferred to play American songbook ballads, but cooked at fierce temperatures, drenched with the blues, and sprinkled with both ...read more
Chicago-based tenor man Von Freeman is jazz' answer to baseball Hall of Famer Frank Robinson: talented, respected by his peers, but still inexplicably underrated. Freeman's youthful buoyancy belies his 83 years, a threshold he crossed last month. When offered belated birthday wishes, Freeman playfully requested Listen, let's make it 39, revealing a subscription to the Jack Benny method of birthday counting. He didn't make his first recording as a leader until he was 49, has been a fixture on the ...read more
There are unsung heroes among us. In football, Emmitt got a lead-in from every major pre-game show, but it is a little known Priest Holmes (KC) and a practically unknown Deuce McAllister that are putting Marshall, Ricky, and Emmitt to shame. While Derek Jeter, Barry, and A Rod garnered much of the headlines, a little known shortstop (David Eckstein) from a small market team (Angels), in a practically unknown town (Anaheim), was one of the major league leaders in on ...read more
There's an inclination to treat an 81-year-old sax master with kid gloves when assessing a new recording, but Von Freeman needs no such assistance.
The Great Divide continues his late in life resurgence as he pays tribute to former co-players Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young and Charlie Parker. It may not be a landmark album, but there's no doubt Freeman is masterful player and Divide is a pleasure from start to finish.
Freeman, whose previous album ...read more
It is a little bit crazy to consider octogenarian tenor saxophonist Von Freeman paying tribute to anyone considering that he has outlived the vast majority of his peers. Still, Mr. Freeman chooses to step out and tip his hat to three horns that changed everything - Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, and Charlie Parker. Freeman reasons that this present disc is entitled The Great Divide to illustrate the disparate aspects of these three men joined together by jazz. Coleman Hawkins was ...read more
Steeplechase seems to have stepped up the pace on its anthology of concert recordings chosen from trumpeter Brad Goode’s exhaustive tape cache. This fourth volume comes just months after the release of the third. Listeners outside the Chicago loop are perhaps less likely to have heard of Goode, but his co-pilot in the front line should spur familiarity in the mind’s of most jazz fans. Vonski’s been at the game for well over a half century, though you wouldn’t know ...read more
The latest in an ongoing series from Steeplechase, this third volume of concert tapes culled from Brad Goode’s fruitful association with elder improviser Von Freeman moves the action from Freeman’s familiar stomping grounds at the Jazz Showcase to the more venerable environs of the Green Mill. Also added to the formula this time out is the limber trombone work of Paul McKee, strengthening the tonal palette of the group but also subtracting from the solo space of the leaders. The ...read more