Musician - Composer - Band leader - Recording Artist - Producer - Educator
Vibraphonist and composer Mike Freeman has been a part of the New York jazz and Latin music scene for a day or two. Dan McClaneghan of Allaboutjazz described him as "masterful" and ranked among other top names of the instrument. With spirited soulful swing, Freeman's performances have taken him from North America and Europe to the Azores, Caribbean, and South America. His recordings of original music include tributes to Cal Tjader, Tito Puente, and NEA Jazz Master Bobby Hutcherson. Freeman's recordings have received national and international attention and extensive radio airplay, charting on jazz, contemporary jazz, and World Music radio.
A Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Creative Engagement grant recipient Freeman produced the concert series Boricua Blues, Hell’s Kitchen Soul Sauce, and Latin Music In Hell’s Kitchen, A History that included guest legends Ray Mantilla and Jose Mangual Jr. performing at the Times Center, The Highline, Pier 84 and Riverbank State Park in NYC. He’s also produced two Band Together benefit concerts. One for musicians affected by hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria with proceeds going to the Jazz Foundation of America and the other after Hurricane Katrina, benefitting the Tipitinas Foundation and New Orleans–area musicians.
Other endeavors include writing a decade-long series of commissioned compositions and arrangements for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Percussion Scholarship Program. In 2014 he was commissioned by the late drummer/educator Ed Uribe to write arrangements for China's national percussion curriculum that were performed by members of the Shanghai Symphony at Shanghai Symphony Hall.
Performance highlights for Freeman as a leader include the Fox Jazz Festival and Riverfront Jazz Festival in WI; the Trinidad & Tobago Steelpan & Jazz Festival; Festival Internacional, Terciera, Azores; Central Park’s Harlem Meer concert series in New York City; performing for Flood Relief in Des Moines, IA; Jazz on the Green in Omaha, NE; the Berks, Rehoboth Beach, Hennessy Greenwich Village, and JVC Newport (at Saratoga) jazz festivals; the International Association of Jazz Educators (IAJE) convention, and an extensive tour of Portugal, cosponsored by the Fulbright Foundation and the American Embassy (USIA), where he received the Medal of the City of Guarda.
Freeman is also known for his work and recordings with several acclaimed Latin groups. The vibes behind the name, he worked extensively with legendary percussionist Ray Mantilla’s Good Vibrations Band (touring much of Italy), Ray's Tres Amigos, and as a regular guest with Space Station.