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#2120758 - 07/20/13 10:12 PM Russell Freeman  
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Michael Martinez Offline
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As anyone who read the Jarrett thread knows, I definitely have my own set of favorite jazz pianists, one of whom is Russell Freeman. He has been a favorite of mine for years. If you want to know why, you may start by checking out the album Shelly Manne and Russell Freeman. If you want to be blown away, listen to track 4. This is just a two-piece set (drums and piano) but it swings hard and sounds like any trio.

On internet forums, many jazz pianists are discussed, people idolize one or the other, but the name of Russell Freeman is almost never mentioned. A HUGE oversight.


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#2120769 - 07/20/13 10:42 PM Re: Russell Freeman [Re: Michael Martinez]  
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Dfrankjazz Online content
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can you post this?

#2120867 - 07/21/13 05:06 AM Re: Russell Freeman [Re: Michael Martinez]  
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It is hard to check out a player whose recordings don't appear on youtube or even in shops. It is not surprising that he is almost unknown (like many other fantastic players). As far as I can tell there is not even a single recording under his name.

#2120880 - 07/21/13 06:17 AM Re: Russell Freeman [Re: Michael Martinez]  
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etcetra Offline
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I think this is who he is talking about



Very Nice playing, but personally I am not "blown away" by it laugh

Originally Posted by Michael Martinez


On internet forums, many jazz pianists are discussed, people idolize one or the other, but the name of Russell Freeman is almost never mentioned. A HUGE oversight.


I can probably name at least couple of hundred jazz pianists in that category smile Btw if you are into Bebop/old school pianists, there plenty of LA pianists to check out. Jon Mayer(not the pop singer) is great, and so is Llew Matthews and Terry Trotter.

Last edited by etcetra; 07/21/13 06:22 AM.
#2120899 - 07/21/13 08:13 AM Re: Russell Freeman [Re: Michael Martinez]  
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Thats some serious Horace silver influence.

#2120903 - 07/21/13 08:34 AM Re: Russell Freeman [Re: Michael Martinez]  
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Thanks for finding that etcetra, I like it.

#2120911 - 07/21/13 08:57 AM Re: Russell Freeman [Re: Michael Martinez]  
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36251 Offline
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My first impression hearing that cut was Hampton Hawes.


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#2121029 - 07/21/13 01:58 PM Re: Russell Freeman [Re: 36251]  
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Terry Trotter is one of the greatest jazz trio pianists I've ever heard)

DF

#2121206 - 07/21/13 06:27 PM Re: Russell Freeman [Re: Dfrankjazz]  
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etcetra Offline
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Originally Posted by Dfrank
Terry Trotter is one of the greatest jazz trio pianists I've ever heard)

DF


grin

#2121539 - 07/22/13 02:08 PM Re: Russell Freeman [Re: Michael Martinez]  
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Originally Posted by etcetra

Very Nice playing, but personally I am not "blown away" by it laugh


The link you gave is a basic blues, nothing fantastic there. Check out his album "Shelly Manne and Russell Freeman" and if you're not blown away, I'll give you your money back


Originally Posted by etcetra


I can probably name at least couple of hundred jazz pianists in that category smile



listen to a few of his albums and his work with Chet Baker and you'll see why he stands out. (But yes, the particular link you gave is not anything special)

Originally Posted by beeboss
It is hard to check out a player whose recordings don't appear on youtube or even in shops. It is not surprising that he is almost unknown (like many other fantastic players). As far as I can tell there is not even a single recording under his name.


He was a bebopper. Mostly a sideman. Appears on literally dozens of albums from that era. Here's the recording that originally caught my ear: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJIu-xRn0Hg

As you listen to this, keep paying attention to Freeman in the background after his solo (while Baker is playing). The cool thing about that album is that on several songs, after each does his solo, they both go through a simultaneous solo where Freeman backs off a bit on the volume to let Bakers trumpet come out in the foreground. A lot of the tracks were short, so I guess that was their way of keeping it interesting.


Originally Posted by etcetra


Btw if you are into Bebop/old school pianists, there plenty of LA pianists to check out. Jon Mayer(not the pop singer) is great, and so is Llew Matthews and Terry Trotter.


cool, I'm definitely into bebop, I'll check these out.


Originally Posted by 36251
My first impression hearing that cut was Hampton Hawes.


Hawes, Lou Levy, and Russ Freeman were all West Coasters and were all into bebop around that same era, although Hawes early on moved to NYC. Hawes is more "raw" and bluesy in my opinion, while Levy and Freeman were absolutely masters of the bebop (well.... Hawes was too). I like Hawes a lot, but I'm VERY partial to Levy and Freeman.

By the way, the interesting thing about Chet Baker was that he could not read chords (not even lead sheets) and really didn't know anything about harmony, so when him and Freeman started working together, Freeman sat down and tutored him on those things.

Last edited by Michael Martinez; 07/22/13 02:11 PM.

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#2121549 - 07/22/13 02:54 PM Re: Russell Freeman [Re: Michael Martinez]  
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Originally Posted by Michael Martinez
As you listen to this, keep paying attention to Freeman in the background after his solo (while Baker is playing). The cool thing about that album is that on several songs, after each does his solo, they both go through a simultaneous solo where Freeman backs off a bit on the volume to let Bakers trumpet come out in the foreground. A lot of the tracks were short, so I guess that was their way of keeping it interesting.
Now I remember hearing that name. I do remember enjoying listening to Chet and enjoying him. I also remember he wrote a number of tunes. I'll go check out my Chet Baker albums. thanks


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#2123347 - 07/26/13 01:58 PM Re: Russell Freeman [Re: Michael Martinez]  
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I love bebop. To me it represents a kind of bridge between older jazz and the more modern stuff. You can listen to bebop from the 40s and 50s and hear some very modern stuff that makes you go "wow, they were doing that back then". Additionally the blues was hidden in a subtle way in the changes. Anyway, a couple Freeman links, different styles, the first are samples/examples of swinging bebop, the second is ballad:





... and a cool version of Besame:


Last edited by Michael Martinez; 07/26/13 02:19 PM.

Music Educator, Computer Engineer, avid reader of literature, enjoyer of the outdoors
http://www.michael--martinez.com/music/
#2123365 - 07/26/13 02:33 PM Re: Russell Freeman [Re: Michael Martinez]  
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Summer Sketch with Chet Baker. Very nice:



And this gives a nice example of Freeman's comping and improv work with Chet Baker. He had a sound that was different when they worked together and it was very cool:

Last edited by Michael Martinez; 07/26/13 02:34 PM.

Music Educator, Computer Engineer, avid reader of literature, enjoyer of the outdoors
http://www.michael--martinez.com/music/
#2123976 - 07/27/13 09:42 PM Re: Russell Freeman [Re: Michael Martinez]  
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Thanks Michael, Russ is Great!

#2123978 - 07/27/13 09:46 PM Re: Russell Freeman [Re: Michael Martinez]  
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Man, Art Pepper sounds tremendous)

#2124237 - 07/28/13 12:57 PM Re: Russell Freeman [Re: Dfrankjazz]  
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Originally Posted by Dfrank
Thanks Michael, Russ is Great!

Yes he is. You're welcome!


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#2126035 - 07/31/13 06:20 PM Re: Russell Freeman [Re: Michael Martinez]  
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There were two albums that Freeman and Shelly Manne did as a two-piece (drums/piano). The first was recorded in the 1950s, the heyday of bop and the era in which Freeman was very busy playing and recording.
The second was recorded 30 years later. Freeman actually quit playing jazz in the late 1960s (I'm not sure why, I think he was focusing on arranging), and then apparently returned just once for that second album in the early 80s.

It's interesting to contrast the two albums. The second one shows that Freeman, despite his absence from jazz, had apparently soaked in some of the developments in the interim years, like the modal McCoy Tyner type stuff as well as latin jazz and other things. Snippets of these different styles come out in this album. The other interesting thing is the more freestyle, experimental flavor of this second album, not only harmonically but rhythmically. As the first recording he had done in 15 years and also his last recording, it makes a statement. Although not my favorite of the Freeman albums, it's definitely mature and interesting (even more so considering his long hiatus) and there are a couple amazingly beautiful pieces on it.

During the busy years (50s, 60s) Freeman recorded a lot as a sideman, so you'll see him on other people's albums, like Art Pepper (link above), Dizzy Gillespie, and others.

One of the reasons I love Freeman was his ability to go from one mood to another. He'll swing hard with Chet Baker, and then he'll turn around and the play the most beautiful, slow, thoughtful ballad as a solo piece.

Last edited by Michael Martinez; 07/31/13 06:25 PM.

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#2146968 - 09/09/13 01:39 PM Re: Russell Freeman [Re: Michael Martinez]  
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I really want to upload Shelley Manne/Russ Freeman's song "One on One", but I can't find a youtube link, so I'll settle for this one instead, taken from the same album:

[video:youtube] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIPqBYSDsVI[/video]

Keep in mind this was the last album Freeman recorded after a long and rewarding career as pianist, arranger, and band leader.

Last edited by Michael Martinez; 09/09/13 01:39 PM.

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#2151362 - 09/16/13 03:08 PM Re: Russell Freeman [Re: Michael Martinez]  
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Russ Freeman composed one of the most beautiful ballads of the standards era, "The Wind". The two vocals I know of: one, lyrics by one Jerry Gladstone, sung wonderfully by June Christy but without the gorgeous bridge; the other an abomination, with her own asinine lyrics, recorded by Mariah Carey decades later.

I personally found Freeman a superb sideman who stuck mostly to middle and low registers. Not a tinkly player him.

Last edited by moleskincrusher; 09/16/13 03:12 PM.
#2151444 - 09/16/13 04:58 PM Re: Russell Freeman [Re: moleskincrusher]  
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Originally Posted by moleskincrusher
the other an abomination, with her own asinine lyrics, recorded by Mariah Carey decades later.


Interestingly, the Mariah Carey version gave enough money to Freeman to allow him to buy a house. He remarked at that time that he "had no idea there was that much money to be made in the music business."


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#2151517 - 09/16/13 06:21 PM Re: Russell Freeman [Re: Michael Martinez]  
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Well, I took my nickname from his song...but it's the Keith Jarrett version that I like the best. Mariah carey turned it into a soppy ballad. Does anyone have a recording of Freeman playing the Wind himself?

#2151520 - 09/16/13 06:22 PM Re: Russell Freeman [Re: Michael Martinez]  
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Fred Hersch plays a nice version too:


#2151531 - 09/16/13 06:36 PM Re: Russell Freeman [Re: Michael Martinez]  
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wow ok I found this clip of Freeman doing an interview. I believe he's playing back his version of the Wind with Chet Baker. Also some insightful comments about drugs and jazz musicians, saying everyone was on it back then.


#2151532 - 09/16/13 06:39 PM Re: Russell Freeman [Re: Michael Martinez]  
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Stan Getz's lovely version:



I'm surprised none of the newer players have covered it. It's a beautiful ballad.

#2151939 - 09/17/13 07:59 AM Re: Russell Freeman [Re: The Wind]  
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Originally Posted by The Wind
Fred Hersch plays a nice version too:



What a beautiful version. FH's tone and voice movement are exquisite.
The whole album is a treasure too.

#2152004 - 09/17/13 10:06 AM Re: Russell Freeman [Re: Michael Martinez]  
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Fred Hersch is playing a medly; he starts with The Wind, and then moves to the Alec Wilder tune Moon and Sand.

#2152138 - 09/17/13 12:30 PM Re: Russell Freeman [Re: The Wind]  
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Originally Posted by The Wind
Well, I took my nickname from his song...but it's the Keith Jarrett version that I like the best.


The Jarrett version that you posted the link for, is definitely awesome.


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#2158108 - 09/26/13 03:38 PM Re: Russell Freeman [Re: Michael Martinez]  
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Still unable to find a youtube of the song "One on One", the closest I can come is the following sample, click on track 10:

One on One album samples http://www.allmusic.com/album/one-on-one-mw0000590086

He's got a bit of a modal thing going on with this song. Here's a nice review of the album with a bit of biographical info too:

One on One review http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=9346#.UkSLsD9GaQI


I like Freeman so much because to me he epitomizes not only the jazz musician, but the musician in general - highly versatile, very fluent, a sophisticated touch, and not only a musician but composer and arranger. In depth knowledge of music and a great ear.

Last edited by Michael Martinez; 09/26/13 03:43 PM.

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