Von Freeman: One Remembrance

Michael Friedman is a long time friend of Greenleaf Music and its co-founder, along with Dave Douglas. For years, Michael has run and continues to run Premonition Records, where he recorded and produced several projects presenting the music of Von Freeman. In acknowledgement of Von’s passing we asked Michael if he had any thoughts he would like to share. We share his sadness in the loss.
—Dave Douglas

Others will no doubt express themselves in writing about the late, great tenor saxophonist Von Freeman better than I. So many wonderful jazz writers in Chicago. But I’m not sure the written word is necessary anyway. Here is seven minutes of tenor saxophone mastery that’s all you really need in order to know the man and what mattered to him.

The background story on this track is that we had just completed the recording of “The Great Divide” in New York. Putting the record together back in Chicago, I thought a solo track would be a nice addition. The two previous Von recordings on Premonition included solo tracks and they were very popular. I asked Von if he would do it and he said he would but with reservations. “I don’t want to mess with what we’ve got too much,” is what he said. By this time we were in a bit of a time crunch to deliver the recording and the studio I wanted to use was booked solid. I managed to convince them to squeeze us in for an hour but the only time they could guarantee would be 8:30 a.m. To my surprise, Von agreed and this track is the result. Turns out we didn’t even need the entire hour.

8:30 a.m., mid-2002, Chicago Recording Company, Studio 4, One Take.