WORKS: Von Freeman Quartet
PERFORMER: Freeman (ts), Jodie Christian (p), Eddie de Haas (b), Wilbur Campbell (d)
CATALOGUE NO: SCCD 31320
Despite a distinguished near-half-century career in jazz, Von Freeman can still justifiably refer to himself as a ‘very popular unknown musician’. His relative obscurity is due in part to his unwillingness to leave Chicago, but also to his unwavering concentration on improving his improvisational technique rather than on self-promotion.
Lester Leaps In, recorded in Paris with an un- spectacular but supremely competent rhythm section, is quintessential Freeman in that it charts daringly original melodic routes and is packed with unexpected felicities and imaginative variations of tone and timbre, through staple bop and mainstream fare. Vigorous at up-tempo and tender on ballads, this CD confirms Freeman’s reputation as a front-rank jazz improviser. Chris Parker