So, you're asking, do we really need another pick-o-the-week for Von Freeman? The intense, innovative, and indefatigable tenor saxist who has become almost emblematic of Chicago jazz? Well, when the occasion is a hurriedly arranged record-release party for his no-holds-barred whirlwind of a new album--then yes, a gentle reminder may be just what's needed. Walkin' Tuff, on Southport Records, the first album under Von's name in 12 years, offers unadulterated Freeman extroversion, from the strutting cry of the title tune to an unaccompanied plunge on "How Deep Is the Ocean"; not coincidentally, it's one of the strongest albums of the year, more than worthy of major celebration. Of course, any time you invite Vonski to a party, you've guaranteed a good time; having a party for him just might violate the bounds of fun. (The free champagne, courtesy of the Green Mill, shouldn't hurt.) Tonight, 6-8:30 PM, Green Mill, 4802 N. Broadway; 878-5552.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Lauren Deutsch.