News

CHICAGO’S JAZZ FAMILY, THE FREEMANS, HONORED BY “THE LEGACY PROJECT”

Bruz, Von, Chico and George
Bruz, Von, Chico and George

Chico Freeman premieres a new work celebrating his musical journey and his family
The Legacy Project with The Chico Freeman Orchestra
Thurs, June 23, 2022, 7pm
Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th Street
$35/$15 for 21 and under
(Chicago) In honor of the legacy set by his legendary family, Chico Freeman has composed a new extended suite, “The Legacy Project,” orchestrated by John Kordalewski. Celebrating his grandmother Earle Kree Freeman, grandfather George Freeman Sr., father Von Freeman, and uncles George and Bruz Freeman, this new work will be performed by the nineteen-piece Chico Freeman Orchestra and premiere at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago. An all-star Chicago ensemble will feature include Dee Alexander, Ari Brown, Mike Allemana, Richard Johnson, Ernie Adams, Victor Garcia and Geof Bradfield, with special guest George Freeman.
This new work will be presented in partnership with the Logan Center, and made possible with support from Jazz Road, a national initiative of South Arts, which is funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation with additional support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Southside Jazz Coalition, The Chicago Park District, The Jazz Institute of Chicago and the Epiphany Center for the Arts.

 

BIOS

Heralded as one of the most important saxophonists of our
time, composer and producer Chico Freeman has perfected
an immediately recognizable approach to improvisation and
composition, blending what he has experienced from his
past and providing fluidity into a future of infinite musical
possibilities. As part of the Freeman family legacy of
Chicago—including his father, legendary NEA Jazz Master
saxophonist Von Freeman, and his uncles, guitarist George
Freeman and drummer Bruz Freeman—Chico has amassed a
diverse résumé of performing R&B to blues, hard bop and
avant-garde. Chicago has more than 30 albums as a
leader/composer and is a 2-time GRAMMY® nominee and
worked with a long list of jazz greats including Sun Ra, Sam
Rivers, Billy Hart, Roy Haynes, Wynton Marsalis, Bobby
Hutcherson, and John Hicks, as well as Latin music greats
such as Chucho Valdes, Tito Puente, and Machito. His
writing for film, television and theatre has won him awards
in Austria, Germany, Canada and Italy. His recent recordings
“Spoken into Existence,” “The Essence of Silence,” and “The
Arrival” are testament to his continued high level of creative
output
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Guitarist George Freeman has been a crucial figure on the Chicago jazz scene since the 1940s when he
and his brothers Von and Bruz Freeman were the house band at the famed Pershing Hotel backing such
jazz greats as Lester Young and Charlie Parker. George has performed and toured in the groups of Jackie
Wilson, Groove Holmes, and Gene Ammons and has been leading his own projects in Chicago for several
decades.
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Guitarist Michael Allemana has been performing in Chicago since the 1990s, including fifteen years with
Von Freeman at the New Apartment Lounge. In 2020, Mike earned his PhD in Ethnomusicology from the
University of Chicago with a dissertation that explores in part the contributions of the Freeman family to
Chicago cultural history. George Freeman and Mike have been performing together since 2013 with the
George Freeman/Mike Allemana Organ Quartet featuring Bernard Purdie and continue to rehearse and
develop new musical endeavors, including a new duo project.
——————————
John Kordalewski is leader, arranger, and pianist for the Boston-based Makanda Project, a 13-member
ensemble originally formed to explore the previously unrecorded compositions of Makanda Ken
McIntyre. Over the past 17 years, the group has established an important presence in the Boston scene
through regular, self-produced free concerts in community-based settings. In addition to arranging over
60 of the McIntyre compositions for this group, he has worked as an arranger with Michael Gregory
Jackson and South African musicians Feya Faku and Ndikho Xaba. He has been collaborating with Chico
Freeman since 2018. As a pianist, he currently performs with the Ricky Ford Quartet, leads a trio, and
has worked with Carl Grubbs, Webster Young, Oliver Lake, Odean Pope, Charlie Rouse, and many more.

 

TICKETS
This event is open to the public. Tickets are $35, $15 for 21 and under.
Tickets can be purchased at tickets.uchicago.edu

PRESS CONTACT
For more information regarding the program, please contact Leigh Fagin (lfagin@uchicago.edu)
with the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago
(arts@uchicago.edu).

PRESS IMAGES
Banner image: Bruz, Chico, Von and Geo (1984). Photo by Lauren Deutsch.
Bio Image of Chico Freeman: Courtesy Thrassos Irinis.

In March 2020, I caught the last flight out of Moscow before the borders closed due to Covid-19 with no way of getting back to the U.S. Locked down in Europe and self-quarantined in isolation, I watched events around the world unfold. Wanting to contribute in some way, I reached out to my musical family online to do something to help heal and inspire. Bill Withers’ song “You Just Can’t Smile It Away” seemed perfect. It is a compellingly simple version, recorded online using new technology, with me playing saxophone, vocals by Yatron in Texas, keyboards by Jeremy Mage in Switzerland, synths by Jan Pulsford in London and mixed at Mothership Studios by Merlyn Bruce in the UK., resulting in my first release on Efficacy Recordings. chicofreeman.bandcamp.com/releases

All proceeds will be donated to chicagohopesforkids.org 

Chico Freeman Voices of Chicago is coming to Europe starting Nov 10.

This project creates music with the authentic sound of Chicago Gospel/Jazz and R&B, and will feature 4 of Chicago’s most well-known Gospel and Jazz voices; Yvonne GageSimbryt DortchBrandon Lampkin and Isaiah Robinson with Theodis Rodgers Jr. – pianist, Heiri Känzig – bass, Luigi Galati – drums and Chico Freeman – saxophones, bass clarinet, voice, and special guest Reto Weber – hang and exotic percussion.

Celebrating Swiss exotic percussionist Reto Weber’s Jubilee as part of Jazz in the Church

November 18, 2018 17:00
Chico Freeman’s Trio Exotica
Chico Freeman, saxophones
Svante Henryson, cello
Reto Weber, exotic percussion

November 25, 2018 17:00
Chico Freeman’s Trio Exotica w/ Squeezeband
Chico Freeman, saxophones
Reto Weber, exotic percussion
Nino G, beatbox
Christy Doran, guitar
Heiri Kanzig, bass
Rodrigo Rodriguez, percussion

Jazz In Church – Stadtkirche, Biel
Biel, Bern 2502
Switzerland

JazzCity2018: Celebrating Von Freeman’s 95th: Family Ties

October 12, 2018
7:00PM
Sherman Park
1301 W 52nd St
Chicago, IL

Von Freeman’s son, world-renowned saxophonist Chico Freeman and guitarist brother George Freeman illustrate how the family’s musical voice and traditions are directly connected and carried forward into the future. With reedsman Ari Brown, drummer Ernie Adams and bassist Harrison Bankhead.

First European tour for Chico Freeman Plus+tet announced

July 5: Gent Jazz Festival – Main Stage – 20:30

I’m pleased to bring my American group with Anthony Wonsey on piano, Kenny Davis on bass, Rudy Royston on drums and from the UK, we have the great Anthony Kerr on vibes performing on July 5 on the Main Stage at the Gent Jazz Festival in Belgium at 20:30.

July 14: North Sea Jazz Festival – Madeira – 22:30

It is has been a while since I last played the North Sea Jazz Festival, so it’s very gratifying that I bring my own group to the world renowned festival. We’ll be closing out the Madeira Stage following Netherlands.NL, Jazzmeia Horn, and Fred Hersch Trio.

July 15: Jazz Open StuttgartBix Club19:30

After the finale of the World Cup, we’ll have our own celebration as we’ll be performing at the Bix Club with me on tenor, Rudy Royston on drums, Kenny Davis on bass and Anthony Wonsey on piano. I hope you’ll join us.