Chico Freeman

Chico Freeman, born Earl Lavon Freeman Jr. on July 17, 1949, is a jazz trumpeter and tenor saxophonist. He is the son of Von Freeman. In 1976, he began recording with Morning Prayer. He won the New York Jazz Award for 1979. His album The Outside Within was awarded the Stereo Review Record of the Year Award for 1981. Everett, his brother, introduced Freeman to the trumpet. He found a used trumpet in his basement. Freeman started playing after being inspired by Miles Davis. In 1967, he was awarded a scholarship to Northwestern University. He played the trumpet at the school and did not start playing the saxophone until he was in his junior year. After working eight to ten hours a day and auditioning for the saxophone sections, Freeman changed his major to music and graduated in 1972. He was proficient on the saxophone and trumpet by that point. Freeman was a teacher at the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians School of Music, Chicago, and he began taking classes at Governors State University as a graduate student. He earned a master’s in composition and theory. While jazz was Freeman’s main musical genre, he also started to play blues music. Freeman began performing at Chicago clubs, where he was accompanied by Lucky Carmichael and Memphis Slim. 1975 saw the release, Morning Prayer, Freeman’s first album. He moved to New York City the following year and broadened his musical horizons. The next few years were his most productive, with albums like No Time Left, Tradition in Transition and The Outside Within. The latter of these albums earned him Record of the Year by Stereo Review. In the late 1970s, he was part of Wynton Marsalis’ group of modern jazz players. They recorded for independent labels such as India Navigation and Contemporary Records. Freeman’s albums include standards and compositions of modernists such as John Coltrane, as well as new songs by Freeman and his contemporaries like Cecil McBee. On his 1981 album Destiny’s Dance, Wynton Marsalis (with Bobby Hutcherson and Cecil McBee), Freeman plays tenor saxophone, bass clarinet, and both of these contributing composers are Cecil McBee. Freeman founded Guataca in 2002 and released Oh By the Way… Freeman has toured the world with his band, as well as Chaka Khan and Tomasz Stanko. Guataca includes Ruben Rodriguez (vocals and keyboards), Yoron Israel (bass) and Giovanni Hidalgo. He formed an electric band called Brainstorm in 1989. It consisted of Delmar Brown (vocals, keyboards), Norman Hedman, Chris Walker (bassist), Archie Walker and Archie Walker (drums). Freeman recorded NightSong in 1998 for Arthur Blythe. He also began teaching at New School University in 1999. from

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