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Von Freeman: The Great Divide

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Von Freeman is representative of a rapidly depleting national resource, not only because he is a direct living connection to Coleman Hawkins, Ben Webster and Lester Young, but also because he possesses two precious attributes: individuality and style.

For most jazz players, notes are dots that are connected, often skillfully and creatively, to get from point A to point B. When perpetrated by Freeman, notes are meaningful, considered, consciously placed separate events, nuanced and inflected into expressive gestures of communication. Freeman’s style is vast, encompassing so much jazz history, so many disparate, even contradictory sonorities. In a Chicago-based career touching seven decades, Freeman has played with Coleman Hawkins, Sun Ra, Jimmy Reed, and the house bands of Calumet City strip clubs. All those experiences are embedded in Freeman’s wailing, caressing, shrieking, quavering, oddly organized phrases.

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