Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

Chicago Jazz Great Von Freeman to Perform at Kimmel Center
September 19, 2005

Saxophonist “The Vonski” to Perform with Philly’s Own—Drummer Mickey Roker with Artist Chat

Kimmel Center Presents Mellon Jazz Up Close: One Nation Under Jazz kicks off the first of four presentations this season with the distinctive sounds of Chicago and Philadelphia when Chicago’s tenor saxophonist Von Freeman and Philadelphia’s legendary drummer Mickey Roker take the stage at the Kimmel Center’s Perelman Theater on Saturday, October 29 at 7:30pm. Freeman and Roker will be joined by several of Freeman’s usual band mates: Mike Allemana on guitar and Matthew Ferguson on bass.

Curated by Danilo Perez, this concert is the first in the Mellon Jazz Up Close: One Nation Under Jazz series and explores the distinctive regional ‘accents’ that make up the American Jazz language.. The next concert in the series is the One Nation Under Jazz: New Orleans concert, featuring Ellis Marsalis with Philadelphia’s Orrin Evans on November 19 at 7:30pm.

Tickets for the Von Freeman trio and Mickey Roker are $36 and $41 and can be purchased by calling 215-893-1999, online or at the Kimmel Center box office, open daily from 10am to 6pm and later on performance evenings. (Additional fees may apply).

Tenor saxophonist Earl Lavon Freeman, better known as “Von” or the “Vonski”, is known throughout Chicago for his unique jazz/blues sound, and, as the jazz legend approaches the age of eighty-three, his fame continues to grow across the United States. As a young boy, Freeman wished to follow in the footsteps of tenor saxophonists Lester Young and Coleman Hawkins. Now, Freeman has made the tenor saxophone truly his own, and has performed with jazz legends such as Dizzy Gillepsie, Charlie Parker, and Billie Holiday.

Throughout the 60s, Freeman frequently headlined at local jazz clubs in Chicago. His fame in Chicago brought increased national attention, and in the 70s Freeman released his first album, recorded with Atlantic. Then, for almost a decade, Freeman took a break from the spotlight, preferring to remain in Chicago. After his break, Freeman jumped right back into the ring, recording with jazz artists such as Wynton Marsalis. Now, at the age of eighty-two, Freeman sounds better than ever and is once again drawing critical praise and mass popularity beyond the city limits of Chicago. Although Freeman decided to remain in Chicago in order to raise his children and act as a mentor to the up-and-coming jazz musicians of the city, Chicago’s influence on Freeman can not be understated. The city of Chicago can be heard in Freeman’s unique sound, and it is precisely this closeness with Freeman’s hometown that has molded his innovative artistry.

Mickey Roker is Philadelphia’s own jazz legend. The drummer has performed with Dizzy Gillepsie and Herbie Hancock, and is a frequent performer at Philadelphia’s Ortlieb’s Jazzhaus. Roker and Freeman’s Kimmel Center performance will be a chance to hear the quintessential sounds of Chicago and Philadelphia together, at last.

Freeman’s traveling band mates hail from Chicago. Guitarist Mike Allemana and bassist Matthew Ferguson are known throughout the Chicago area for their work with Freeman as well as their solo work, including the 2000 CD “The Mike Allemana Organ Trio” and performances with the Ron Dewar Quintet and the Model Citizens Big Band.

Tickets for the Von Freeman trio with Mickey Roker on October 29 range from $36 to $41 and can be purchased by calling 215-893-1999, online or at the Kimmel Center box office, open daily from 10am to 6pm and later on performance evenings. (Additional fees may apply). For group sales call 215-790-5883.

A limited number of $10 tickets are available for every Kimmel Center Presents performance at the Kimmel Center. Tickets go on sale the day of the event and can be purchased at the Kimmel Center box office beginning 2.5 hours prior to evening performances and 11:30am for matinees.

Sponsors of the 2005/2006 Kimmel Center Presents season include Mellon Financial Corporation, University of Pennsylvania Health System, Sovereign Bank, The American Express Company, and Verizon Foundation. Special Student Matinees at the Kimmel Center are generously supported by Merck & Co., Inc. American Airlines is the Official Airline of Kimmel Center Presents. Toyota is the Official Vehicle of Kimmel Center Presents Jazz and World Pop programming. In-kind support is generously provided by Deloitte and Southern Wine and Spirit.

NBC-10 is the Media Partner for the Mellon Jazz Up Close: One Nation Under Jazz series.

Mellon Jazz Up Close: One Nation Under Jazz, Chicago
October 29, 2005, 7:30 pm
Perelman Theater

Von Freeman Trio with Mickey Roker

Von Freeman, tenor saxophone
Mickey Roker, drums
Mike Allemana, guitar
Matthew Ferguson, bass

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