|Birth name||Ernest Aaron Freeman Jr.|
|Born||16 August 1922|
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
|Died||16 May 1981 58) (aged|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Genres||Pop, rhythm and blues, jazz, orchestral|
|Occupation(s)||Pianist, arranger, bandleader|
Ernest Aaron Freeman (August 16, 1922 – May 16, 1981) was an American pianist, organist, bandleader, and arranger. He was responsible for arranging many successful rhythm and blues and pop records from the 1950s to the 1970s.
A pianist is an individual musician who plays the piano. Since most forms of Western music can make use of the piano, pianists have a wide repertoire and a wide variety of styles to choose from, among them traditional classical music, jazz, blues, and all sorts of popular music, including rock and roll. Most pianists can, to an extent, easily play other keyboard-related instruments such as the synthesizer, harpsichord, celesta, and the organ.
An organist is a musician who plays any type of organ. An organist may play solo organ works, play with an ensemble or orchestra, or accompany one or more singers or instrumental soloists. In addition, an organist may accompany congregational hymn-singing and play liturgical music.
In music, an arrangement is a musical reconceptualization of a previously composed work. It may differ from the original work by means of reharmonization, melodic paraphrasing, orchestration, or development of the formal structure. Arranging differs from orchestration in that the latter process is limited to the assignment of notes to instruments for performance by an orchestra, concert band, or other musical ensemble. Arranging "involves adding compositional techniques, such as new thematic material for introductions, transitions, or modulations, and endings... Arranging is the art of giving an existing melody musical variety".
Freeman was born in Cleveland, Ohio. In 1935 he began playing in local Cleveland area nightclubs, and also formed a classical music trio for local social functions with his father and his sister Evelyn. Around 1939, he and Evelyn formed a new band, The Evelyn Freeman Swing Band, with fellow teenagers from Cleveland Central High School. Evelyn played piano, while Ernie played saxophone and also began writing arrangements for the band. The band began a regular engagement at the Circle Ballroom in Cleveland, and broadcast shows for WHK radio station. In 1942, most of the band, apart from Evelyn, joined the US Navy together, and became the first all-black Navy Band, called The Gobs of Swing with Ernie as its leader.
Evelyn Freeman Roberts was an American musician, songwriter, arranger and educator. After an early career as a swing band and gospel choir leader, she and her husband Tommy Roberts established the Young Saints foundation for young performers in Los Angeles.
After leaving the Navy in 1945 Ernie entered the Cleveland Institute of Music, from which he graduated with a BA degree. In 1946 he moved with his family to Los Angeles, to attend the University of Southern California where he received his master's degree in music composition. In Los Angeles, he played in clubs, accompanying Dinah Washington and Dorothy Dandridge among others, as well as recording under his own name for the Mambo label.After a spell as arranger for Woody Herman he joined the Ernie Fields Orchestra, playing the piano. Other members of the band included saxophonists Earl Bostic and Plas Johnson, guitarist René Hall, and drummer Earl Palmer. In 1951 Freeman also began playing with the Billy Hadnott Sextet, but left in 1954 to form his own combo with Johnson, Palmer and guitarist Irving Ashby. In 1955 they released their first record, "No No Baby" on the Middle-Tone label. They also recorded with a vocal group, the Voices, who included Bobby Byrd and Earl Nelson of the Hollywood Flames (later Bob & Earl).
The Cleveland Institute of Music is an independent, international music conservatory located in the University Circle district of Cleveland, Ohio, United States. It is led by President Paul Hogle.
The University of Southern California is a private research university in Los Angeles, California. Founded in 1880, it is the oldest private research university in California. For the 2018–19 academic year, there were 20,000 students enrolled in four-year undergraduate programs. USC also has 27,500 graduate and professional students in a number of different programs, including business, law, engineering, social work, occupational therapy, pharmacy, and medicine. It is the largest private employer in the city of Los Angeles, and generates $8 billion in economic impact on Los Angeles and California.
Dinah Washington was an American singer and pianist, who has been cited as "the most popular black female recording artist of the '50s". Primarily a jazz vocalist, she performed and recorded in a wide variety of styles including blues, R&B, and traditional pop music, and gave herself the title of "Queen of the Blues". She was a 1986 inductee of the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.
Freeman played on numerous early rock and R&B sessions in Los Angeles, California, in the 1950s, particularly on the Specialty, Modern, and Aladdin labels, as well as for white artists such as Duane Eddy and Bobby Vee. He played piano on the Platters' "The Great Pretender" in 1955, and began releasing a number of instrumental records of his own, at first on Cash Records.These included "Jivin' Around" (#5 on the R&B chart in 1956). In 1956 the Ernie Freeman Combo and the Platters appeared in Paramount Pictures' Rock Around The Clock introduced by Alan Freed. In the same year he was signed by Imperial Records, where he released 29 singles and seven LPs over the next seven years. His first single for the label was "Lost Dreams", which reached #7 on the R&B chart. His cover version of Bill Justis' "Raunchy", his biggest solo success, reached #4 on the pop chart and #1 on the R&B chart in 1957. He returned to the charts in 1958, when his version of "Indian Love Call" reached #58 on the Billboard pop chart.
Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the early 1950s, and developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and later, particularly in the United Kingdom and in the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, a style which drew heavily on the genres of blues, rhythm and blues, and from country music. Rock music also drew strongly on a number of other genres such as electric blues and folk, and incorporated influences from jazz, classical and other musical styles. Musically, rock has centered on the electric guitar, usually as part of a rock group with electric bass, drums, and one or more singers. Usually, rock is song-based music usually with a 4/4 time signature using a verse–chorus form, but the genre has become extremely diverse. Like pop music, lyrics often stress romantic love but also address a wide variety of other themes that are frequently social or political.
Rhythm and blues, commonly abbreviated as R&B, is a genre of popular music that originated in African American communities in the 1940s. The term was originally used by record companies to describe recordings marketed predominantly to urban African Americans, at a time when "urbane, rocking, jazz based music with a heavy, insistent beat" was becoming more popular. In the commercial rhythm and blues music typical of the 1950s through the 1970s, the bands usually consisted of piano, one or two guitars, bass, drums, one or more saxophones, and sometimes background vocalists. R&B lyrical themes often encapsulate the African-American experience of pain and the quest for freedom and joy, as well as triumphs and failures in terms of relationships, economics, and aspirations.
California is a state in the Pacific Region of the United States. With 39.6 million residents, California is the most populous U.S. state and the third-largest by area. The state capital is Sacramento. The Greater Los Angeles Area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second- and fifth-most populous urban regions, with 18.7 million and 9.7 million residents respectively. Los Angeles is California's most populous city, and the country's second-most populous, after New York City. California also has the nation's most populous county, Los Angeles County, and its largest county by area, San Bernardino County. The City and County of San Francisco is both the country's second-most densely populated major city after New York City and the fifth-most densely populated county, behind only four of the five New York City boroughs.
Freeman performed for the famed Cavalcade of Jazz concert produced by Leon Hefflin Sr. held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on August 3, 1958. The other headliners were Little Willie John, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, and Bo Rhambo. Sammy Davis Jr. was there to crown the winner of the Miss Cavalcade of Jazz beauty contest. The event featured the top four prominent disc jockey of Los Angeles.
Leon Norman Hefflin, Sr. was an African-American producer, director, business owner, furniture manufacturer, and entrepreneur. Hefflin produced the first largest outdoor jazz entertainment event of its kind, the “Cavalcade of Jazz,” held at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles, part of the Central Ave Jazz Scene and showcased over 125 artist over 15 years.
The Shrine Auditorium is a landmark large-event venue in Los Angeles, California. It is also the headquarters of the Al Malaikah Temple, a division of the Shriners. It was designated a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument in 1975.
William Edward "Little Willie" John was an American R&B singer who performed in the 1950s and early 1960s. He is best known for his successes on the record charts, with songs such as "All Around the World" (1955), "Need Your Love So Bad" (1956), and "Fever" (1956). An important figure in R&B music of the 1950s, John was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.
In 1958 the Ernie Fields Orchestra, including Freeman, became the house band for the newly formed Rendezvous record label. In 1961, with Palmer, Johnson, and René Hall, they began recording as B. Bumble and the Stingers, and Freeman played piano on their first hit, "Bumble Boogie" (but not their later hit, "Nut Rocker"). In the same year, Lew Bedell, the owner of Doré Records, suggested to him that he record a version of a Maxwell House advertising jingle.The record, "Percolator (Twist)", was credited to Billy Joe & the Checkmates and rose to no.10 on the Billboard Hot 100 in early 1962. Freeman also performed with and arranged for the Routers and their parallel group the Marketts.
Rendezvous Records was an American record label, established in 1958 in Los Angeles, California. Its biggest successes were "In the Mood" with Ernie Fields along with "Bumble Boogie" (#21) and "Nut Rocker" (#23) recorded by members of its house band going under the name B. Bumble and the Stingers.
B. Bumble and the Stingers were an American instrumental ensemble in the early 1960s, who specialized in rock and roll arrangements of classical melodies. Their biggest hits were "Bumble Boogie", which reached number 21 in the US, and "Nut Rocker", which reached number 1 in the UK Singles Chart in 1962. The recordings were made by session musicians at Rendezvous Records in Los Angeles, but when they became successful a touring group was formed led by R. C. Gamble as "Billy Bumble".
"Nut Rocker" is an instrumental rock single recorded by American instrumental ensemble B. Bumble and the Stingers that reached number 23 in the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in March 1962 and went to number 1 in the UK Singles Chart in May 1962. It is a version of the march from Tchaikovsky's ballet The Nutcracker.
He continued a successful session career in the 1960s, arranging and appearing on material by Frank Sinatra ("That's Life", "Strangers in the Night"), Connie Francis ("Jealous Heart", "Addio, mi' amore"), Dean Martin ("Everybody Loves Somebody", "Somewhere There's a Someone"), Johnny Mathis, and Petula Clark ("This Is My Song", "For Love"), and becoming musical director with Reprise Records. From 1960 to 1969 he arranged virtually every session for Snuff Garrett at Liberty Records including artists Julie London, Bobby Vee, Johnny Burnette, Gene McDaniels, Timi Yuro, and Walter Brennan, as well as a series of over 25 instrumental albums with the title "The 50 Guitars of Tommy Garrett" that featured a who's who of Los Angeles session musicians, Tommy Tedesco, Laurindo Almeida, Howard Roberts, Bob Bain, and Barney Kessel, among many, many others. As a footnote, "National City" by the Joiner Arkansas Junior High School Band charted at 53 in May 1960 was made by a group of studio musicians led by Ernie Freeman.Freeman also composed music for several films, including The Cool Ones (1967), The Double Man (1967), The Pink Jungle (1968), and Duffy (1968); and arranged Carol Burnett's 1972 Columbia Records album Carol Burnett Featuring If I Could Write a Song.
In 1970 he contributed string arrangements to Simon and Garfunkel's Bridge Over Troubled Water album before his retirement later in the decade.In 1972, he had a single "Overture" released on the Oak Records label. According to several sources, he suffered from alcoholism. He died at his home in Los Angeles in 1981 from a heart attack and is buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, California.
Freeman won Grammy awards for his arrangements of Frank Sinatra's "Strangers in the Night" (1966) and Simon and Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water" (1970).
|Year||Single (A-side, B-side)|
Both sides from same album except where indicated
|US Pop|| US|
|1955||"Jivin' Around"—Part 1|
b/w Part 2
|-||5||Jivin "O" Round|
b/w "Our Love"
b/w "Rockin' Around"
|-||7||Jivin "O" Round|
b/w "Funny Face"
b/w "Walking The Beat"
|"A Touch Of The Blues"|
b/w "Return To Me"
|1957||"Without A Love"|
b/w "Night Life"
b/w "Swing It" (Non-album track)
b/w "Beautiful Weekend"
b/w "Puddin'" (Non-album track)
b/w "Leaps and Bounds"
|"Theme From Igor"|
b/w "Shape Up"
|"Indian Love Call"|
b/w "Summer Serenade"
|59||-||Dreaming With Freeman|
b/w "After Sunset" (from Dreaming With Freeman)
b/w "Junior Jive"
|"School Room Rock"|
b/w "Blues After Hours"
|1959||"Live It Up"|
b/w "Whispering Hope"
|"Marshmallows, Popcorn and Soda Pop"|
|"A Summer Love"|
b/w "Always With You"
|"One More Time Around"|
b/w "Lost Dreams"
b/w "Night Sounds" (from Twistin' Time)
Shown as "Sir Chauncey and His Exciting Strings"
|"Rockin' Red Wing"|
b/w "Dark Eyes"
b/w "Autumn and Eve"
|"Theme from The Dark at the Top of the Stairs "|
b/w "Come On Home" (from Raunchy)
|70||-||The Dark At The Top Of The Stairs|
b/w "Beyond Our Love"
Shown as "Sir Chauncey"
b/w "Heartbreak Hotel"
b/w "Swamp Meeting"
b/w "Theme From Return To Peyton Place"
|"The Swingin' Preacher"|
b/w "Conquest" (from Twistin' Time)
b/w "Shine On Harvest Moon" (from The Stripper)
|"What Am I Living For"|
b/w "I Didn't Want To Do It"
b/w "I Hear You Knocking" (Non-album track)
b/w "Say It Isn't So" (from Ernie Freeman Plays Irving Berlin)
|"Half As Much"|
b/w "I'm Sorry For You, My Friend"
|-||-||Soulful Sound Of Country Classics|
b/w "Jivin' Around"
Del Shannon was an American rock and roll and country musician and singer-songwriter, best known for his 1961 number 1 Billboard hit "Runaway".
Louis Thomas Jordan was an American musician, songwriter and bandleader who was popular from the late 1930s to the early 1950s. Known as "The King of the Jukebox", his highest profile came towards the end of the swing era.
Capitol Records, Inc. is an American record label owned by Universal Music Group through its Capitol Music Group imprint. It was founded as the first West Coast-based record label in the United States in 1942 by Johnny Mercer, Buddy DeSylva, and Glenn E. Wallichs. Capitol was acquired by British music conglomerate EMI as its North American subsidiary in 1955. EMI was acquired by Universal Music Group in 2012 and was merged with the company a year later, making Capitol and the Capitol Music Group both a part of UMG. The label's circular headquarter building in Hollywood is a recognized landmark of California.
Ernest Jennings Ford, known professionally as Tennessee Ernie Ford, was an American recording artist and television host who enjoyed success in the country and Western, pop, and gospel musical genres. Noted for his rich bass-baritone voice and down-home humor, he is remembered for his hit recordings of "The Shotgun Boogie" and "Sixteen Tons".
John Joseph "Johnny" Burnette was an American singer-songwriter of rockabilly and pop music. In 1952, he and his older brother, Dorsey Burnette, and their friend Paul Burlison formed the band that later was known as the Rock and Roll Trio.
Joseph Amos Milburn was an American rhythm-and-blues singer and pianist, popular in the 1940s and 1950s. He was born in Houston, Texas, and died there 52 years later. One commentator noted, "Milburn excelled at good-natured, upbeat romps about booze and partying, imbued with a vibrant sense of humour and double entendre, as well as vivid, down-home imagery in his lyrics."
Edward William May Jr. was an American composer, arranger and trumpeter. He composed film and television music for The Green Hornet (1966), The Mod Squad (1968), Batman, and Naked City (1960). He collaborated on films such as Pennies from Heaven (1981), and orchestrated Cocoon, and Cocoon: The Return, among others.
Gerald Stanley Wilson was an American jazz trumpeter, big band bandleader, composer/arranger, and educator. Born in Mississippi, he was based in Los Angeles from the early 1940s. In addition to being a band leader, Wilson wrote arrangements for Duke Ellington, Sarah Vaughan, Ray Charles, Julie London, Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, Benny Carter, Lionel Hampton, Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington, and Nancy Wilson.
Roy Bunny Milton was an American R&B and jump blues singer, drummer and bandleader.
Ernest Lawrence "Ernie" Fields was an African-American trombonist, pianist, arranger and bandleader. He first became known for leading the Royal Entertainers, which were based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and toured along a circuit stretching from Kansas City, Kansas, to Dallas, Texas. In later years he led a band that recorded in Los Angeles.
Plas John Johnson Jr. is an American soul-jazz and hard bop tenor saxophonist, probably most widely known as the tenor saxophone soloist on Henry Mancini’s "The Pink Panther Theme". He also performs on alto and baritone sax as well as various flutes and clarinets.
Willis Leonard Holman, better known as Bill Holman, is an American composer/arranger, conductor, saxophonist, and songwriter working primarily in the jazz and pop idioms. His professional music career is over six decades long, most notably starting with the Charlie Barnet orchestra in 1950. He is a multi-Grammy winning artist and is most commonly known for his long association with the Stan Kenton Orchestra. He was honored as a 2010 National Endowment of the Arts Jazz Masters recipient.
Ewell Goldyn Rhambo, known as Bo Rhambo, is an American trumpeter and tenor saxophonist.
Simon Hugh "Si" Zentner was an American trombonist and jazz big-band leader.
Joseph Coleman Smith, who performed and recorded under the name Sonny Knight, was an American singer, songwriter and author. His biggest hit was "Confidential", which reached the pop and R&B charts in 1956, and he continued to record into the 1960s. In 1981, using his real name, he wrote The Day the Music Died, a fictionalised account of racism in the American music business in the 1950s.
Onzy Durrett Matthews, Jr. was an American jazz pianist, singer, arranger and composer as well as a television and movie actor. He is best known for the big band arrangements done for the Lou Rawls albums Black and Blue and Tobacco Road, as well as arrangements for several of Ray Charles' 1960s releases. He had his own big band for many years and recorded numerous tracks for Capitol Records, including two albums released under his own name. He later had a close relationship with the Duke Ellington orchestra, working as a pianist, arranger and conductor through the late 1960s and 1970s.