Bud Freeman

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For other people with a similar name see Lawrence Friedman (disambiguation)
Bud Freeman
Bud Freeman, Marty Marsala (Gottlieb 02951).jpg
Bud Freeman, New York City, 1947
Background information
Born(1906-04-13)April 13, 1906
Chicago, Illinois, U.S
DiedMarch 15, 1991(1991-03-15) (aged 84)
Genres Jazz
Instruments Tenor saxophone, clarinet, C melody saxophone
Years active1920s – 1980s

Lawrence "Bud" Freeman (April 13, 1906 March 15, 1991) was an American jazz musician, bandleader, and composer, known mainly for playing the tenor saxophone, but also able at the clarinet. He had a smooth and full tenor sax style with a heavy robust swing. He was one of the most influential and important jazz tenor saxophonists of the big band era. His major recordings were "The Eel", "Tillie's Downtown Now", "Crazeology", "The Buzzard", and "After Awhile", composed with Benny Goodman. [1]

Jazz is a music genre that originated in the African-American communities of New Orleans, United States. It originated in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and developed from roots in blues and ragtime. Jazz is seen by many as "America's classical music". Since the 1920s Jazz Age, jazz has become recognized as a major form of musical expression. It then emerged in the form of independent traditional and popular musical styles, all linked by the common bonds of African-American and European-American musical parentage with a performance orientation. Jazz is characterized by swing and blue notes, call and response vocals, polyrhythms and improvisation. Jazz has roots in West African cultural and musical expression, and in African-American music traditions including blues and ragtime, as well as European military band music. Intellectuals around the world have hailed jazz as "one of America's original art forms".

Musician person who performs or composes music

A musician is a person who plays a musical instrument or is musically talented. Anyone who composes, conducts, or performs music is referred to as a musician. A musician who plays a musical instrument is also known as an instrumentalist.

Tenor saxophone type of saxophone

The tenor saxophone is a medium-sized member of the saxophone family, a group of instruments invented by Adolphe Sax in the 1840s. The tenor and the alto are the two most commonly used saxophones. The tenor is pitched in the key of B (while the Alto is pitched in the key of E), and written as a transposing instrument in the treble clef, sounding an octave and a major second lower than the written pitch. Modern tenor saxophones which have a high F key have a range from A2 to E5 (concert) and are therefore pitched one octave below the soprano saxophone. People who play the tenor saxophone are known as "tenor saxophonists", "tenor sax players", or "saxophonists".



Freeman was born on April 13, 1906, in Chicago. In 1922, he and some friends from high school formed a jazz group, the Austin High School Gang, Freeman played the C melody saxophone alongside his other band members such as Jimmy McPartland and Frank Teschemacher before switching to tenor saxophone two years later. Influenced by artists like the New Orleans Rhythm Kings and Louis Armstrong from the South, they would begin to formulate their own style, becoming part of the emerging Chicago Style of jazz.

The Austin High School Gang was the name given to a group of young, white musicians from the West Side of Chicago, who all attended Austin High School during the early 1920s. They rose to prominence as pioneers of the Chicago Style in the 1920s, which was modeled on a hurried version of New Orleans Jazz.

C melody saxophone type of saxophone

The C melody saxophone is a saxophone pitched in the key of C, one whole step above the B-flat tenor saxophone. In the UK it is sometimes referred to as a "C tenor", and in France as a "tenor en ut". The C melody was part of the series of saxophones pitched in C and F intended by the instrument's inventor, Adolphe Sax, for orchestral use. The instrument enjoyed popularity in the early 1900s, perhaps most prominently used by Rudy Wiedoeft and Frankie Trumbauer, but is now uncommon.

James Dugald McPartland was an American cornetist. He worked with Eddie Condon, Art Hodes, Gene Krupa, Benny Goodman, Jack Teagarden, Tommy Dorsey, often leading his own bands. He was married to pianist Marian McPartland.

In 1927, he moved to New York, where he worked as a session musician and band member with Red Nichols, Roger Wolfe Kahn, Ben Pollack, Joe Venuti, among others. One of his most notable performances was a solo on Eddie Condon's 1933 recording, The Eel, which then became Freeman's nickname (for his long snake-like improvisations). Freeman played with Tommy Dorsey's Orchestra (1936–1938) as well as for a short time Benny Goodman's band in 1938 before forming his own band, the Summa Cum Laude Orchestra (1939–1940). Freeman joined the US Army during World War II, and headed a US Army band in the Aleutian Islands.

New York City Largest city in the United States

The City of New York, usually called either New York City (NYC) or simply New York (NY), is the most populous city in the United States. With an estimated 2018 population of 8,398,748 distributed over a land area of about 302.6 square miles (784 km2), New York is also the most densely populated major city in the United States. Located at the southern tip of the state of New York, the city is the center of the New York metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area in the world by urban landmass and one of the world's most populous megacities, with an estimated 20,320,876 people in its 2017 Metropolitan Statistical Area and 23,876,155 residents in its Combined Statistical Area. A global power city, New York City has been described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world, and exerts a significant impact upon commerce, entertainment, research, technology, education, politics, tourism, art, fashion, and sports. The city's fast pace has inspired the term New York minute. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy.

Red Nichols American jazz musician

Ernest Loring "Red" Nichols was an American jazz cornettist, composer, and jazz bandleader.

Roger Wolfe Kahn American composer

Roger Wolfe Kahn was an American jazz and popular musician, composer, bandleader and an aviator.

Following the war, Freeman returned to New York and led his own groups, yet still kept a close tie to the freewheeling bands of Eddie Condon as well as working in 'mainstream' groups with the likes of Buck Clayton, Ruby Braff, Vic Dickenson and Jo Jones. In 1960, wrote the book and lyrics (music by Leon Pober) to the Broadway musical "Beg, Borrow or Steal" [2] which featured the ballad "Zen Is When", later recorded by the Dave Brubeck Quartet on Jazz Impressions of Japan (1964). He was a member of the World's Greatest Jazz Band in 1969 and 1970, and occasionally thereafter. In 1974, he moved to England where he made numerous recordings and performances, as he did also in Europe.

Broadway theatre class of professional theater presented in New York City, New York, USA

Broadway theatre, commonly known as Broadway, refers to the theatrical performances presented in the 41 professional theatres, each with 500 or more seats located in the Theater District and Lincoln Center along Broadway, in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. Along with London's West End theatre, Broadway theatre is widely considered to represent the highest level of commercial theatre in the English-speaking world.

<i>Jazz Impressions of Japan</i> 1964 studio album by The Dave Brubeck Quartet

Jazz Impressions of Japan is a 1964 album by The Dave Brubeck Quartet. It was recorded on June 16–17, 1964 at the legendary CBS 30th Street Studio, except for "Zen Is When" which was recorded on January 30, 1960. It was released on August 10, 1964. The album, as the back cover of the remastered CD confirms, had been long out-of-print until it was reissued on CD in 2001, then re-released in 2008 and 2009.

The World's Greatest Jazz Band was an all-star jazz ensemble active from 1968 to 1978.

Later in the decade Freeman spent some time on the Isle of Man during part of which he was the guest of well known Manx jazz musician and broadcaster, Jim Caine. Recounted as a keen devotee of the game Scrabble , as well as a fervent Anglophile, this resulted in Freeman having a nickname bestowed on him by the Caine family, becoming known as the "Anglo Saxophonist."

Isle of Man British Crown dependency

The Isle of Man, often referred to simply as Mann, is a self-governing British Crown dependency in the Irish Sea between Great Britain and Ireland. The head of state is Queen Elizabeth II, who holds the title of Lord of Mann and is represented by a lieutenant governor. Defence is the responsibility of the United Kingdom.

Sweet & Swing, is a radio programme broadcast on Manx Radio and features music from the Big Band Era. The show is presented by Howard Caine, having previously been a joint presentation with the late Jim "The Jazz" Caine, the programme's creator.

Scrabble is a word game in which two to four players score points by placing tiles bearing a single letter onto a board divided into a 15×15 grid of squares. The tiles must form words that, in crossword fashion, read left to right in rows or downward in columns, and be included in a standard dictionary or lexicon.

In addition to this, Freeman presented one of his coats to a son of Jim Caine. Still in the possession of the Caine family, the garment is referred to with affection as the "Bud Coat."

Returning to Chicago in 1980, he continued to work into his eighties.

He also released two memoirs You Don't Look Like a Musician (1974) and If You Know of a Better Life, Please Tell Me (1976), and wrote an autobiography with Robert Wolf, Crazeology (1989).

Robert Wolf is an American writer, journalist, and entrepreneur. His non-fiction writing focuses on everyday life, frequently that of farmers and other rural Americans.

In 1992, Bud Freeman was inducted into the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame. He was featured in Studs Terkel's book, "Working", published in 1972.

Freeman's music still features regularly on various dance band shows. Freeman has also been the subject of a dedicated edition of Sweet & Swing on Manx Radio. [3]


Bud Freeman died March 15, 1991, at the Warren Barr Pavilion, a nursing home in his native Chicago. He was 84 years old. Sadly, his death came just days after death of fellow Austin High School Gang musician trumpeter Jimmy McPartland, who died on March 13, 1991. Freeman was preceded in death by his younger brother actor Arny Freeman, and was survived by a sister, Florence Charles of Los Angeles, CA.


With Rex Stewart and Cootie Williams

With George Wein

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  1. Allmusic biography
  2. http://www.ibdb.com/broadway-production/beg-borrow-or-steal-2093/#opennightcredit
  3. http://www.manxradio.com/radioplayer/od/5913/
  4. "Bud Freeman | Album Discography | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 4 January 2017.