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September 2001

Von Freeman
Live at the Dakota
Premonition

Time was when Chico Freeman was known as Von Freeman's son-and rightly so. Von's attitude toward music, his open ears, his sense of the tenor saxophone-more than his style, these were the gifts he bestowed on his son. A sampling of that spirit is on display on Live at the Dakota.

The set was recorded at the Dakota Bar and Grill in St. Paul, Minn., with a Twin Cities rhythm section that puts to rest all those patronizing thoughts you harbor for "local rhythm sections." Freeman is certainly an inspirational catalyst, but these guys can play. Pianist Bobby Peterson, bassist Terry Burns and drummer Phil Hey do themselves and Freeman proud throughout the set. They have the ears to recognize that Freeman draws readily on a wealth of sources, from Hawkins to Coltrane to players far younger than he whose energy and sense of adventure he captures.

Highlights include the opening "Bye Bye, Blackbird," a sizzling "Caravan" and a brilliant exploration of Wayne Shorter's "Footprints," which Freeman describes as a piece "you have to be 70 years old to understand." Clearly, Von Freeman gets it.

Originally published in September 2001
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