Several years ago I had the pleasure to meet Von Freeman and for a while became a regular at the vaunted New Apartment Lounge Tuesday-night jam sessions on the south-side of ChiTown...(photo from http://inconstantsol.blogspot.com/) where he has a band usually comprised of local jazz greats Matt Ferguson (stand-up bass), Mike Allemana (guitar), Michael Traynor (drums) that go virtually un-acknowledged on the national jazz scene and deserve much more exposure in the music press then they get. Freeman is considered a founder of the Chicago School" of jazz tenorists along with Gene Ammons, Johnny Griffin and Clifford Jordan. His music has been described as wonderfully swinging and dramatic" featuring a large rich sound." If you ever venture down to the club, which is located at 504 E. 75th Street there in Chicago (773-483-7728), Von usually starts the jam session about 10:30PM which continues until about 3AM. After the first set he turns the stage over to the groups of young lions" as he calls them, which is usually made up of young college-aged jazz-oriented musicians that want to try out their chops in the presence of Freeman, hopefully garnering Vonski's approval as he sits in the very back of the room hanging out with his admirers, I being one of them. The scene there, especially when its his annual birthday party, is a really great experience for any jazz fan. So much local talent is displayed at these Tuesday night jams its almost hard to believe. So my friend-in-jazz...Happy 88th Birthday and many, many more!
Von Freeman holding court with Matt Ferguson (bass), Mike Allemana(guitar) and Michael Traynor(drums) at the legendary New Apartment Lounge Tuesday Night Jam Session:
Chicago Jazz Fest 2009 @ The Jazz On Jackson Stage New Apartment Lounge Jam with Von Freeman" (Von Freeman- Tenor Sax, Mike Allemana-Guitar, Ben Paterson-Piano, Matt Ferguson-Bass, Michael Raynor-Drums, Rajiv Orozco-Alto Sax, Zakiya Powell-Trombone:
Berlin jazzfest in 2002 that became the live CD Vonski Speaks" on Nessa Records. This is Von's original composition Blues For Sunnyland Slim." (Personnel:Von Freeman-tenor sax, Mike Allemana-guitar, Jack Zarra-bass, Michael Raynor-drums: