Saxophone legend Von Freeman passed away last week. I had the pleasure to see him play the New Apartment Lounge on the South Side, and he was just great. The Chicago Tribune has a thoughtful article about his career:
That sound seduced some listeners and puzzled others, but no one could mistake it for anything but that of the great Vonski, as he was affectionately called by friends and admirers. Sharply acidic in the top register of the instrument but full and throaty down below, whinnying and squealing in some passages, whispering tenderly in others, Freeman’s tenor work utterly defied categorization. Every sweet-sour note, every intricately etched phrase, it seemed, was crafted to sound as unexpected and as intensely expressive as possible.
Once, at the Green Mill, upset at all the chatter drowning out the music, he looked up and said, “Keep on talking. It’s ok, I usually play on the South Side.” Von, keep on playing.