Chicago Jazz Fans to Honor Von Freeman at Tribute Event
Posted 9/13/2012

Members of the jazz community will pay their respects to late saxophonist Von Freeman during a tribute event at Chicago’s Jazz Showcase on Monday, Sept. 17. Freeman, an NEA Jazz Master who never pursued a career outside of Chicago, died Aug. 11 from heart failure at the age of 88.

“Von Freeman influenced four generations of musicians,” said drummer Michael Raynor, a member of band at the New Apartment Lounge, where Freeman held court for more than 30 years. “Anyone who ever passed through Chicago drew inspiration from Von, and Monday’s tribute will include musicians from all those generations.”

“Tribute To Vonski” will feature performances by pianist Willie Pickens, who will join Freeman’s New Apartment Lounge band—guitarist Mike Allemana, bassist Matt Ferguson and Raynor—for two sets beginning at 8 p.m. Allemana has also arranged a selection of Freeman originals titled “Von’s Views Of The Blues.” The pieces will be performed by trumpeter Art Hoyle, alto saxophonist Christopher McBride and tuba player Dan Anderson, all of whom are members of the ensemble that played Von Freeman’s Millenium Park tribute on July 28, 2011.

“The gig is a chance to celebrate Von’s music, to stretch out on the standards that he loved, along with some of his original compositions,” Raynor said, adding that the New Apartment Lounge offered to pay the musicians in order to secure last year’s larger ensemble.

Von’s brother, guitarist George Freeman, and tenor saxophonist Ari Brown are also scheduled to perform. Donations of $15 will be accepted at the door, with all proceeds going to the Freeman family.

“Von was incredibly generous with everyone so all the musicians, along with Joe and Wayne [Segal] at the Showcase, immediately agreed to this idea,” Raynor said. “It’s also a chance for us to give a little something back.”

For more information on the event, visit the Jazz Showcase website.

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