GEORGE FREEMAN/MIKE ALLEMANA ORGAN QUARTET
"The harmonic sophistication of his playing, as well as its palpable joy, makes Freeman an inspiration to younger musicians such as Allemana and to anyone who values the distinctly hard-hitting, hard-swinging, ever-experimenting nature of Chicago jazz.”
-- Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune
George Freeman — guitar
Mike Allemana — guitar
Pete Benson — organ
Mike Schlick — drums
Guitarist George Freeman has been working in Chicago since the 1940s, performing with many jazz greats such as Lester Young and his closest childhood friend, saxophonist Johnny Griffin. He and his brothers saxophonist Von Freeman and drummer Bruz Freeman were the house band at the Pershing Hotel on the South Side.
It was there that George recorded with Charlie Parker in 1951. In the 1950s and 1960s he accompanied all the great organists including Groove Holmes, and was in Gene Ammons's group from 1969 to 1974, including composing the title track for Ammons's 1971 release The Black Cat.
At ninety years old he is still an active performer, winning the 2017 award for best jazz entertainer at the Chicago Music Awards.
Guitarist Mike Allemana has been on the Chicago scene since the early 1990s. He has performed with jazz greats such as organist Charles Earland, drummer Jimmy Cobb, and saxophonist Steve Coleman. He was the accompanist for saxophonist Von Freeman from 1997 until Von's passing in 2012 at Von’s famous gig at the New Apartment Lounge. He also widely performs with many of the top singers in Chicago including Paul Marinaro, Elaine Dame, Tammy McCann, and Frieda Lee.
George and Mike joined forces with organist Pete Benson and drummer Mike Schlick in the summer of 2013 after Mike Reed brought up the idea for a performance at his jazz club, Constellation. Ever since, George and Mike have been rehearsing almost weekly, with George Freeman prolifically composing much new original songs . Later this year, George and Mike will be releasing their first album on Ears&Eyes Records, Live at the Green Mill, with special guest Bernard Purdie.