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posted by #@blues2jazzguy    Robert J. Carmack

Chico Freeman Saxophonist

What would an installment of the Chicago Jazz Festival be without a Freeman family reunion? But September 4th’s performance by saxophonist Chico and his guitarist uncle George will offer, in the parlance of Monty Python, something completely different. Performing music from their new Southport Records album, All in the Family, their all-star band will offer what Chico called a “panorama” of Chicago musical styles – one that will capture both the sounds the city is known for internationally (he has lived for two years in Switzerland) and some distant listener might not associate with the home of tough tenors.  THE CHICAGO PROJECT featuring George Freeman

And so we can expect a parcel of Chico’s brawny tenor and George’s keening bebop guitar, as well as free improvisations with AACM etched in their DNA. We can expect a sampling of the Latin fusion Chico has long specialized in and the ’70s soul jazz for which the one-of-a-kind George is celebrated. And then there is “Vonski,” George’s tribute to tenor legend Von Freeman, his departed brother and Chico’s father, a duet that is one of the album’s highlights.

At 88 more of a cult figure than ever, he has lost none of his zing or zang as a soloist, or his ability to come up with effects you simply haven’t heard before. He’s a walking repository of sounds, dating back to his playing days with Lester Young and Charlie Parker. On tenor and soprano, Chico has an excitable presence. The Freemans will be joined by longtime collaborators: Mike Allemana, Von’s longtime guitarist, pianist Kirk Brown, bassist Harrison Bankhead and drummer Ernie Adams, plus Swiss percussionist Reto Weber, who plays the hang, a steel-drum-like instrument of his own devise.

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