Official Opinions: Honoring Chicago Jazz Legend Von Freeman

The name Von Freeman carries some serious weight on the Chicago jazz scene. He’s played with icons like Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and Roy Eldridge. Freeman, 87, began playing jazz saxophone professionally in 1940. Over the following decades, “Vonski” has become not only local music legend, but an internationally renowned giant of jazz and hard bop.

“Darn That Dream” by Freeman’s New Apartment Lounge Quartet

Just announced, Freeman will receive what’s widely considered the nation’s highest jazz honor: the National Endowment for the Arts’ Jazz Masters Award. The ceremony will be held next January in New York City.

Chicago, however, cannot wait that long to celebrate the lifetime of achievement of one of its own. Thursday night at Millennium Park’s Pritzker Pavilion, Freeman will be honored with an evening-long tribute. “Truth Be Told: Celebrating the Legacy of Von Freeman” will feature musicians from across the country who’ve been shaped by the jazz legend’s work. New arrangements of Freeman’s original music will move this show past mere appreciation and into an ambitious exploration of his lesser-known material.

“Truth Be Told: Celebrating the Legacy of Von Freeman” starts Thursday at 6:30 pm. Admission is free, so come out and enjoy another reason why Chicago is a world-class supplier of live music.


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