Three Beats: George Freeman reflects on seven decades in jazz | Three Beats | Chicago Reader

Three Beats: George Freeman reflects on seven decades in jazz 

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JAZZ | George Freeman reflects on seven decades in jazz

click to enlarge BOB IS TRAVELING
  • Bob Is Traveling

A couple weeks ago the National Endowment for the Arts named tenor saxophonist Von Freeman, 87, one of its five Jazz Masters for 2012, the program's final year. He's probably the most storied jazz artist living and working in Chicago, though till recently he's had company—Fred Anderson and Eddie Johnson both died in 2010.

Freeman's brother Eldridge "Bruz" Freeman, a superb drummer who spent most of his career in LA, passed away in 2006. But his other jazz-­playing brother, guitarist George Freeman, remains active on the Chicago scene at 84. He played in local pickup bands behind legends like Charlie Parker and Lester Young in the late 40s, then spent years on the road working with greats like Richard "Groove" Holmes, Gene Ammons, and Shirley Scott; since the 70s, though, he's given up touring and more or less settled down. He's appeared on dozens of albums and released seven as a leader.

On Mon 7/11 at 6:30 PM Freeman will discuss his career at the Roosevelt branch of the Chicago Public Library (1101 W. Taylor, 312-746-5656), covering his early bebop days, his 70s rebirth as an important soul-jazz figure, and more. The Freemans have always been vivid storytellers with withering senses of humor, but joining Freeman to keep the conversation hopping will be Rick Wojcik, proprietor of Dusty Groove Records (which is copresenting the event). Time permitting, a short Q&A session will follow. The free talk is part of a summer series of CPL music-related events. —Peter Margasak

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