Chico Freeman Celebrates Return to States with New Album


Chico Freeman will release Spoken Into Existience, his first domestic release in nearly a decade, on May 13 (Photo: Marcel Meier)

(Photo: )

After living and working in Europe for the last decade, saxophonist and AACM member Chico Freeman will return to the United States in May. To mark his homecoming, the former Elvin Jones collaborator will celebrate with the domestic release of a new album, Spoken Into Existence, on May 13.

On the album, Freeman is joined by his international quartet, with which he’s worked regularly since 2013 (Italian pianist Antonio Faraò, Swiss bassist Heiri Känzig and American drummer Michael Baker). The program, consisting of mostly originals, spans an array of styles, ranging from hip-hop to funk to bebop and the blues.

Released by the Viennese label Jive Music, the album also features compelling arrangements of Miles Davis’ “Seven Steps To Heaven,” as well as Stanley Turrentine’s “Soft Pedal Blues,” from the 1962 Blue Note recording That’s Where It’s At.

Freeman, who grew up in Chicago (his father was the celebrated hard-bop saxophonist Von Freeman), noted that the criteria for selecting material for his new album were demanding.

“I’ve played standards, but contrary to my father, that’s not the meat on my improvisational plate,” Freeman said. “Standards were my dad’s self-expression; they emerged from his life and environment. The standards I choose to play are ones that touch me, and they’re usually written by jazz musicians with some exceptions. Most of my work is about presenting original material.”

Upon his return to the States, Freeman will also introduce audiences to a new ensemble, The Chico Freeman Plus+tet, featuring pianist Orrin Evans, bassist Kenny Davis, drummer Nasheet Waits and percussionist Reto Weber. The group will hold its debut performance at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola in New York on May 19.

For more information on the album, visit the Jive Music website. To read a 1974 DownBeat interview with AACM member Lester Bowie, click here.

—Brian Zimmerman

  • BranfordMarsalisQuartet_ScottChernis.jpg

    The Braford Marsalis Quartet’s latest album, The Secret Between The Shadow And The Soul, features compositions by the bandleader, pianist Joey Calderazzo and bassist Eric Revis. Drummer Justin Faulkner rounds out the ensemble.

  • Crop_2_Frank_Caruso.jpg

    Frank Caruso (1948–2019)

    In Memoriam: Frank Caruso

    Chicago-based pianist and educator Frank Caruso died suddenly on April 22 at a relative’s home in Cary, Illinois. He…

  • coltrane_%C2%A9EsmondEdwards-CTSIMAGES.jpg

    In 1958, John Coltrane turned 32. He’d just rejoined Miles Davis’ band after a sojourn with Thelonious Monk, and had in the previous year finally freed himself of his addiction to drugs and alcohol.

  • gilles_pressphoto_1.jpg

    Since the 1980s, London-based DJ and record label founder Gilles Peterson has been a force in music. The first installment of his We Our Here festival is set to run Aug. 15–18 in Abbots Ripton, Cambridgeshire, U.K.

  • patitucci_WEB.jpeg

    John Patitucci says that his latest outing, Soul Of The Bass, is something of a sequel to his 1991 album Heart Of The Bass.

On Sale Now
July 2019
Anat Cohen
Look Inside
Print | Digital | iPad