Personalities | Bud Freeman | Twenties | Jazz & Blues
(Tenor saxophone, clarinet, 1906–91)
Freeman was one of the Austin High School Gang, a group of white, jazz-seeking teenagers who were inspired by New Orleans Rhythm Kings records and obsessed with the hot jazz scene on Chicago’s South Side. He recorded in 1927 with the McKenzie-Condon Chicagoans, then moved to New York to work with Red Nichols’ Five Pennies. He eventually developed his own style on the tenor saxophone that offered a fresh alternative to Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young, as demonstrated by his masterful showcase on a 1933 Eddie Condon-led recording of ‘The Eel’. Freeman became a swing star with the Tommy Dorsey band in 1936 and the Benny Goodman Orchestra in 1938. He was also the house saxophonist at Commodore Records in the 1930s. Freeman reunited with Eddie Condon in 1945 and continued to play freewheeling Chicago-style jazz with the World’s Greatest Jazz Band (1968–71) and as a leader into the early 1980s.
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