Von Freeman, Julian Priester, Steve Coleman, Eric Alexander, Michael Raynor, Mike Allemana, and Matt Ferguson All Ages Free Soundboard

When: Thu., July 28, 6:30 p.m. 2011

Earlier this summer tenor saxophonist Von Freeman was announced as one of the five Jazz Masters the National Endowment for the Arts will recognize in 2012, the last time the award will be given—he'll receive $25,000 and be honored in a January ceremony at Lincoln Center. This comes as a bit of a surprise, not because Freeman isn't deserving—his innovations have had an international influence—but because he's been a Chicago musician for the great majority of his career. Just about every other recipient of the NEA's prize has lived in New York at length, working hard to break into the jazz establishment; Freeman stayed put to focus on his craft and on raising a family. As he nears his 88th birthday in October—his weekly jam at the New Apartment Lounge, which went on hiatus earlier this year due to building renovations, is scheduled to resume in August—he's being honored here in Millennium Park with a concert called Truth Be Told: Celebrating the Legacy of Von Freeman. He'll take the stage in the company of current bandmates as well as disciples from throughout his rich career: his excellent working trio (drummer Michael Raynor, guitarist Mike Allemana, and bassist Matt Ferguson) will be joined by trombonist Julian Priester and fellow saxophonists Steve Coleman and Eric Alexander. —Peter Margasak

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