November 1998

Bud Freeman
Bud Freeman 1946

Among the first major jazz tenor saxophonists, Freeman was first heard in Chicago-style bands with Jimmy McPartland and Eddie Condon in the 1920s, then as a featured soloist in the swing bands of Tommy Dorsey and Benny Goodman. From the mid-1940s on he worked in Dixieland contexts with men like Condon, Pee Wee Russell and Wild Bill Davison.

On these 1946 tracks he's with Dixieland combos, but also plays in quartets in which he's the only horn player, and accompanies singers. He's in good form throughout. Some sessions are better than others, however. One Keynote date has some fine Charlie Shavers trumpet work as well as Bud's improvising, for example. Freeman also cut some intriguing quartet tracks with pianist Paul Jordan which have a slight bop influence, including one called "Blop Bloose." Freeman's light-toned playing has some similarity to Lester Young's although Bud has a heavier vibrato and isn't as relaxed. On three tracks Bill Dohler, the only alto player to be influenced by Freeman that I'm aware of, appears.

Originally published in November 1998
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