March 21 – Chico is the “Honorary Host” for the Dedication of the Von Freeman Lending Library

The “We Always Swing”® Jazz Series, Central Missouri’s only all-jazz, community-based project founded in 1995, will officially recognize the late Von Freeman (Oct. 3, 1923-August 11, 2012), Chicago’s iconic tenor saxophonist and National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master recipient, in a public dedication of the organization’s namesake 7,000-CD/LP and literature lending library. Chico Freeman, Von Freeman’s son, will be on hand to serve as “Honorary Host” and participate in the ceremony, which takes place Wednesday, March 21, 7 p.m., in the University of Missouri’s Stotler Lounge in Columbia, MO.

The event, which will include some visual clips and accompanying remarks, is free and open to the public. “My father was a consummate musician,” says Chico Freeman, speaking from New York City where he now lives, having returned in the last couple of years after living in Europe for a decade. “My father was a great human being and a great father. He was always reaching out to help others. My father always did what he thought was right – always. He instilled that in me. He went through a lot and he came out of it a stellar human being. It was his example that allowed me to realize [that I needed to] rise above everything we have to deal with today. He never had held a grudge; he never held anything against anyone. He hired anyone no matter their color. He told the truth about who he was and what he knew. He was dedicated to what he did.”

March 22 – Chico Freeman Plus+tet in Concert Columbia, MO

On Thursday, March 22, at 7 p.m., the Chico Freeman Plus+tet performs in concert at Whitmore Recital Hall in the MU Fine Arts Building with:
Chico Freeman – tenor saxophone
Anthony Wonsey – piano
Kenny Davis – bass
Mark Whitfield, Jr. – drums

Both Anthony Wonsey and Kenny Davis were mentored by Chico’s father Von Freeman in their early days in Chicago. Mark Whitfield, Jr. was mentored by and recorded with his father, guitarist Mark Whitfield.

As of this writing, only a few tickets remain. They can be purchased through the Jazz Series Box Office – 573.449.3009 – or online at

October 17-22, Chico Freeman headlines the Village Vanguard.

October 17-22, Chico Freeman headlines the Village Vanguard. “Any musician who has headlined the Village Vanguard will attest there is no other venue like it in the world, says Freeman. “I certainly have always felt that, and while it’s been a very long time since I played there (I think the last time was with my father Von Freeman), I’m coming home Tuesday, Oct 17 through Sunday, Oct 22, 2017!” Tues through Thurs, the Chico Freeman Plus+tet will include Anthony Wonsey, Kenny Davis and Billy Hart on drums. Friday through Sunday Terri Lyne Carrington will take over the drum chair. On Thursday, Oct 19 and Friday, Oct 20 only, the evenings will be dedicated to the late Arthur Blythe. Blythe and Freeman recorded dozens of times and performed together with McCoy Tyner, The Leaders and Roots. Chico will be playing Arthur’s alto saxophone and for these two nights and Gust Tsilis (who was a long-time friend and musical partner of Blythe) will join the Plus+tet on vibes.

“Even though I’ve been back from Europe and living in New York for more than a year, playing the Village Vanguard truly feels like my homecoming. I hope you’ll join us and we’ll raise a toast together; to the music, to each other and to the Village Vanguard,” says Chico.

October 17-22, 2017 – 8:30 PM and 10:30 PM
Village Vanguard
178 7th Ave S,
New York, NY 10014
212 255-4037

Chico Freeman Plus+tet
Chico Freeman: saxophones
Anthony Wonsey: piano
Kenny Davis: bass
Billy Hart: drums (Tues – Thurs)
Terri Lyne Carrington: drums (Fri – Sun)
Tribute to Arthur Blythe: Thurs and Fri only the Plus+tet will be augmented by vibist Gust Tsilis who was a long time friend and musical partner of Arthur’s, and Chico will be playing Arthur Blythe’s alto saxophone

Chico Freeman returns to Boston, Saturday, October 14

Saturday, October 14 is going to be a special evening when Chico Freeman returns to Boston, Massachusetts. It’s been quite a few years since Chico has played in Boston, so it’s especially exciting the Chico Freeman Plus+tet will be performing on Saturday Oct 14 at the beloved Scullers Jazz Club. “Boston has always been a great jazz town for me so I look forward to seeing old friends and making new ones,” says Chico. WGBH has chosen the Chico Freeman Plus+tet to be part of GBH’s 24/7 recorded live series, hosted by Eric Jackson. Chico will also be interviewed by Eric Jackson to air in the next few weeks on WGBH.

October 14, 2017 – 8 PM
Scullers Jazz Club
Doubletree Suites by Hilton Hotel Boston Cambridge
400 Soldiers Field Rd
Boston, MA 02134
(866) 777-8932

Chico Freeman Plus+tet
Chico Freeman: saxophones
Anthony Wonsey: piano
Kenny Davis: bass
Rudy Royston: drums

Friday, October 13, Chico Freeman Plus+tet debuts at the Side Door Jazz Club in Old Lyme, CT

Friday, October 13, Chico Freeman Plus+tet debuts at the Side Door Jazz Club in Old Lyme, CT. Named by Downbeat Magazine as one of the top 150 jazz clubs in the world, the group is looking forward to this performance at the Side Door in the quaint town of Old Lyme with its beautiful fall foliage.

October 13, 2017 – 8:30 PM
Side Door Jazz
85 Lyme St
Old Lyme, CT 06371
860 434-2600

Chico Freeman Plus+tet
Chico Freeman: saxophones
Anthony Wonsey: piano
Kenny Davis: bass
Rudy Royston: drums

Chico Freeman opens AACM New York City Chapter, Inc.’s Opening Season October 6

Friday, October 6, Chico Freeman reunites with old friend and music companion, vibraphonist Jay Hoggard (Kings of Mali, No Time Left, Peaceful Heart, Gentle Spirit) along with Kenny Davis on bass and Reggie Nicholson on drums for AACM New York City Chapter, Inc.’s opening season concert. “I’m honored to be performing this date, especially because my teacher and mentor, NEA Jazz Master Muhal Richard Abrams invited me.”

October 6, 2017 – 8 PM
AACM New York City Chapter, Inc.
The Community Church of New York
40 E 35th St. (between Park and Madison Avenues)
New York, New York 10016

Chico Freeman Quartet
Chico Freeman: saxophones
Jay Hoggard: vibes
Kenny Davis: bass
Reggie Nicholson: drums

Chico Freeman Equinox – Celebrating the Music and Birthday of John Coltrane opens the 22nd season of Sistas’ Place in Brooklyn

On Saturday, September 23, Chico Freeman EquinoxCelebrating the Music and Birthday of John Coltrane opens the 22nd season of Sistas’ Place in Brooklyn, New York. Equinox is the time or date at which the sun crosses the celestial equator, when day and night are of equal length about September 23rd.

Chico Freeman Equinox features:
Chico Freeman, saxophones
Anthony Wonsey, piano
Kenny Davis, bass
Jarrett Walser, drums

September 23, 2017
9 PM and 10:30 PM
Sistas Place
456 Nostrand Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11216
(718) 398-1766

All About Jazz: Chico Freeman Plus+tet: One of the Best Performances of the Pittsburgh JazzLive International Festival

Freeman paced a nearly perfect set marked by exquisite writing and a top-shelf supporting unit. “Crossing the Sudan” was a programmatic ride on a camel that morphed into “Freeman,” a stunning feature for the drums of Nasheet Waits. The gospel tinge of “To Hear a Teardrop in the Rain” had pianist Anthony Wonsey digging deep for a masterful display of chops and soul. As a tip of the hat to Pittsburgh’s own Stanley Turrentine, Freeman’s take on “Soft Pedal Blues” spoke to his significance as a talent who has been too long deserving of wider recognition. Vibraphonist Warren Wolf tipped his hat to the great Bobby Hutcherson on the fiery “African Village,” a reasonable conclusion to what was one of the best performances of the festival.

Chris Hovan, All About Jazz

Chico Freeman in Chicago Jazz Magazine: In His Own Words

Thanks Mike Jeffers and everyone at Chicago Jazz Magazine for honoring me with your cover and one of the most in-depth interviews I’ve done!

In 1982, Chicago saxophonist Chico Freeman was a key member of the legendary “Young Lions” concert at Lincoln Center that included other stars-to-be Wynton Marsalis, Kevin Eubanks, Paquito D’Rivera, and Bobby McFerrin, among others. Today Freeman merits being called a “master on his instrument,” and has perfected an immediately recognizable approach to music and composition, blending what he has experienced from his past and providing fluidity into a future of infinite musical possibilities.

Freeman amassed a diverse resume, performing R&B, blues, hard bop and avant garde. His collegiate studies in Advanced Composition and Theory at Northwestern University led him to teach composition at the AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians) Music School, and while attaining his Masters in Composition and Theory at Governor State University, he studied composition with NEA Jazz Master Muhal Richard Abrams. Through apprenticeships in New York and abroad with such innovators as Elvin Jones, Don Pullen, Sam Rivers, Sun Ra, and Jack DeJohnette, Freeman developed his own group and rapidly rose to prominence with his energetic and exploratory style.

Chico is a member of the Freeman family, Chicago’s First Family of jazz. His father is the legendary saxophonist Von, and his uncles include guitarist George and drummer Bruz. Although Freeman has adopted the instrument of his father, it was not his first instrument, as he reveals in this exclusive CJM interview.

Chicago Jazz Magazine: Talk a little about what it was like growing up with your father, Von Freeman, and what the jazz scene was like back then.

Chico Freeman: When I was young we had lots of kids on my block. We had one family with fifteen kids, which was great because you hardly had to leave the block to play. During summer, my dad would have rehearsals. He had the piano in the living room, so when on the front porch you could sit and actually look inside the house through the window and see the piano. I remember seeing people like Leroy Vinnegar, Malachi Favors and Andrew Hill. Other Chicago musicians would come and play with the Freeman Brothers band. The band included my uncle George on guitar and my uncle Bruz on drums. They’d set up in the living room and have a rehearsal. We’d have all the windows open because we didn’t have air conditioning and they would start playing. Within minutes, the front porch was filled with kids; we’d have a big party outside with all my friends. The funny thing is, Richard Davis, the bass player, lived across the street from us, and down the street was Frank Leslie, whose auntie was Abbey Lincoln from Chicago. There was always somebody famous hanging around the house. I was just used to musicians coming over. It was really fun. They were just people that I knew as a kid, with my brother and two sisters at the time. That’s what my dad did. My mom took me to the Regal Theater when I was five––it was kind of like the Apollo of Chicago. She took me to see my dad play with Miles Davis, and that was the band with Coltrane, “Cannonball” and Paul Chambers. I remember him standing next to Miles and Coltrane, playing. I’ll never forget that; I can see it clear as day. Ironically, John Coltrane died on my birthday, so there’s kind of a connection there that’s really unique.”