No one plays ballads more tenderly—or tartly.
Von Freeman (MCOTD Hall of Fame, 1923-2012), “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square” (E. Maschwitz & M. Sherwin) with Jodie Christian (piano), Rufus Reid (bass), Jack DeJohnette (drums), live, Harrisburg, Penn., 1994
“I Can’t Get Started” (V. Duke, I. Gershwin), live, Belgium, 1992
“Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered” (R. Rodgers, L. Hart) with Mike Allemena (guitar), Matt Ferguson (bass), Michael Raynor (drums), live, Chicago (Mandel Hall, University of Chicago), 2011
other day, Oak Park, Ill.
voices I miss
Von Freeman (MCOTD Hall of Fame), tenor saxophonist, 1923-2012
“Oleo” (S. Rollins) with Clifford Jordan (tenor saxophone), Willie Pickens (piano), Dan Shapera (bass), Robert Shy (drums), Chicago (Chicago Jazz Festival), 1988
“Take the ‘A’ Train” (B. Strayhorn) with Joanie Pallatto (vocals), Bettye Reynolds (vocals), Fred Anderson (tenor saxophone), Billy Brimfield (trumpet), John Young (piano), George Freeman (guitar), Larry Gray (bass), Michael Adams (drums), live, Chicago, 1999
my back pages
On a cold, snowy night forty-one years ago, at a church thirty miles north of Chicago, Von Freeman and John Young played at our—Suzanne’s and my—wedding. All of what they played that night—”Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” “It Never Entered My Mind,” “More” (before); “In a Sentimental Mood” (as Suzanne walked down the aisle); “My Favorite Things,” “Song for My Father” (after)—can be heard here (0:15-). Years later, John told me: “When I marry ’em, they stay married.”
tonight in Chicago
They’re playing at Constellation.
Trio WAZ (Edward Wilkerson Jr., tenor saxophone; Tatsu Aoki, bass; Michael Zerang, drums), live, Lakeside, Mich., 2010
art beat: yesterday, Art Institute of Chicago
Yoshida Hiroshi (1876-1950), Kagurazaka Street After a Night Rain, 1929
“Feeling Good” (A. Newley, L. Bricusse)
Lauryn Hill (feat. Kamasi Washington, tenor saxophone), live, Italy (Lucca), 2017
Nina Simone (1933-2003), 1965
J.B. Lenoir, “Mama Talk To Your Daughter,” 1955
If I had a time machine, I’d travel back to 1954—the year they recorded this in Chicago—and I’d step into the studio, unobtrusively, just as they’re about to begin.
Thelonious Monk Quartet (TM, piano; Charlie Rouse, tenor saxophone; Butch Warren, bass; Frankie Dunlop, drums), “Just a Gigolo” (I. Caesar, L. Casucci), “Bolivar Blues” (T. Monk), live, Tokyo, 1963
Berenice Abbott (1898-1991), Designer’s Window, Bleecker Street, New York, 1947