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by Clifford Allen
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
by Chris May
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
by Terrell Kent Holmes
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
by AAJ Staff
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
by Mark Sabbatini
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
by C. Michael Bailey
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
by Dan McClenaghan
Saxophonist Von Freeman wasn't bitten by the wanderlust--a disadvantage in a jazz career. You've got to tour, or at the very least move to New York or Los Angeles. Or so they say. But Freeman stayed in Chicago, and for the better part of the last thirty years has been holding court at The Apartment Lounge, working his artistry outside the bigger limelights, developing, over the course of time, virtuoso--if underappreciated--skills.Put Von's new CD, The Improvisor, on blind, ...read more