Friday, May 5, 2017

Bud Freeman - Some Recorded Highlights

Bud Freeman
Lawrence "Bud" Freeman (1906 - 1991)  was one of the most influential and important jazz tenor saxophonists of the Swing era. His smooth and full tenor sax style with a heavy robust swing was the only strong alternative to Coleman Hawkins' harder toned approach, until the arrival of Lester Young whom Freeman had allegedly influenced.
One of the original members of the Austin High School Gang which began in 1922, Freeman played the C-melody saxophone alongside his other band members such as Jimmy McPartland and Frank Teschemacher before switching to tenor saxophone two years later. Influenced by artists like the New Orleans Rhythm Kings and Louis Armstrong, they would begin to formulate their own style, becoming part of the emerging Chicago Style of jazz. 
In 1927, he moved to New York, where he worked as a session musician and band member with Red Nichols, Roger Wolfe Kahn, Ben Pollack, Joe Venuti, among others. He then played with Tommy Dorsey's Orchestra (1936-1938) as well as for a short time Benny Goodman's band in 1938 before forming his own band, the Summa Cum Laude Orchestra (1939-1940). Freeman joined the US Army during World War II and headed a US Army band. After the war, he returned to New York and led his own groups and kept a close tie to Eddie Condon as well as working with the likes of Buck Clayton, Ruby Braff, Vic Dickenson and Jo Jones. He was a member of the World's Greatest Jazz Band between 1969 and 1970 and on occasionally there after. In 1974, he would move to England where he made numerous recordings and performances there and in Europe. Returning to Chicago in 1980, he continued to work into his eighties. - (info excerpted from this source, here)
Below I'll focus on some recorded highlights from Bud Freeman's career as a bandleader with examples uploaded at YouTube. - In December 1928, Bud Freeman recorded his own Crazeology for OKeh in Chicago. Musicians are: Johnny Mendell (tp) Floyd O'Brien (tb) Bud Jacobson (cl,as) Bud Freeman (ts) Dave North (p) Herman Foster (bj) Johnny Mueller (b) Gene Krupa (d) Red McKenzie (vcl)

Decca 18112B_ The Buzzard
Bud Freeman And His Windy City Five recorded some titles for Decca in New York, December 1935, among them were The Buzzard. Musicians are: Bunny Berigan (tp) Bud Freeman (cl,ts) Claude Thornhill (p) Eddie Condon (g) Grachan Moncur (b) Cozy Cole (d)

The same group also recorded Tillie's Downtown Now - another example of Bud Freeman playing the clarinet

In 1938, Bud Freeman formed a trio with Jess Stacy (p) and George Wettling (d), which recorded some hot swinging sides for Commodore in New York - among the recorded titles were I Got Rhythm

Bud Freeman trio also recorded a swinging version of Exactly Like You for Commodore

The Eel_Bluebird B-10386-B
In 1939, Bud Freeman formed his Summa Cum Laude Orchestra, an octet, which recorded some titles for Bluebird, among them Freeman's signature tune The Eel. Musicians are: Max Kaminsky (tp) Brad Gowans (v-tb,arr) Pee Wee Russell (cl) Bud Freeman (ts) Dave Bowman (p) Eddie Condon (g) Clyde Newcombe (b) Danny Alvin (d)

Bud Freeman and his Famous Chicagoans 1940
In 1940, Bud Freeman led another octet, which recorded some titles for Columbia. The ensemble consisted of: Max Kaminsky (tp) Jack Teagarden (tb,vcl) Pee Wee Russell (cl) Bud Freeman (ts) Dave Bowman (p) Eddie Condon (g) Mort Stuhlmaker (b) Dave Tough (d). Among the recorded titles were At The Jazz Band Ball

After the war, Bud Freeman recorded some titles for Keynote November-December 1945 featuring various band members. December 5 was recorded Honeysuckle Rose featuring Bud Freeman (ts) Joe Sullivan (p) Peanuts Hucko (cl) Carmen Mastren (g) Sid Weiss (b) George Wettling (d)

To end this small presentation of some recorded highlights by Bud Freeman as a bandleader, I like to point you to a live recording featuring Art Hodes (p) and rhythm with Bud Freeman from the TV program Jazz Alley - the program is in two parts

And here is part two of the Jazz Alley performance


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