Monday, August 13, 2012

Chicago Jazz Legend Von Freeman Passes at 88


October 3, 1923 - August 13, 2012 
Earle Lavon Freeman Sr. was an often overlooked legend that unfortunately never really attained the recognition and fame that his talent deserved.  I've seen Von Freeman perform a couple of times but it's clear now that it wasn't enough.  This is why I push myself to see artists live as often as I do, never again will we hear the genius of this man's saxophone. 

Von Freeman has played with icons such as Sun Ra, Andrew Hill, Dizzy Gillespe and Charlie Parker and has received the nation's highest jazz honor for the class of 2011-2012, the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters award.  He is the father of jazz saxophonist Chico Freeman and brother to Jazz guitarist George Freeman and drummer Eldridge "Bruz" Freeman who himself passed in 2006. 

Von has often been cited as being a huge influence on other talented sax players like Johnny Griffin, John Gilmore and Clifford Jordan.  Freeman also had a well known regular Tuesday night set and jam session at the New Apartment Lounge in Chicago's south side.  Besides being an amazing saxophonist Von Freeman was the consummate Chicagoan, often to the detriment of his career, as noted in a recent Chicago Tribune article about his life and death:

"His refusal to leave Chicago during most of his career, except for the briefest out-of-town engagements, cost him incalculable fame and fortune but also enabled him to create some of the most distinctive, innovative work ever played or recorded on a tenor saxophone."

RIP Vonski
You can read the rest of the article here:  Chicago Tribune Von Freeman Article

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