Russ Freeman (pianist)

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Russ Freeman
Russ Freeman in the studio, 1951
Russ Freeman in the studio, 1951
Background information
Birth nameRussell Donald Freeman
Born(1926-05-28)May 28, 1926
Chicago, Illinois, United States
DiedJune 27, 2002(2002-06-27) (aged 76)
Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
GenresBebop, cool jazz
Occupation(s)Pianist, composer
Associated actsArt Pepper
Shorty Rogers
Chet Baker
Shelly Manne
André Previn

Russell Donald Freeman (May 28, 1926 – June 27, 2002) was a bebop and cool jazz pianist and composer.[1]

Initially, Freeman was classically trained. His reputation as a jazz pianist grew in the 1940s after working with Art Pepper and Shorty Rogers. He played with Charlie Parker on the 1947 "Home Cooking" jazz session.[2] Numerous collaborations followed in the 1950s with Chet Baker, Shelly Manne, and Art Pepper. These collaborations included the Jazz Immortal CD recorded with Russ Freeman and jazz trumpeter Clifford Brown in 1954, which included leading musicians Brown and Zoot Sims.[3] On the Jazz Immortal CD, Russ Freeman was able to play in a combo that recorded many Clifford Brown compositions.[3][4]

In 1957, he collaborated with André Previn on the album Double Play!, where they both played piano, accompanied only by Manne on drums.

In 1988, Keith Jarrett performed a version of Freeman's "The Wind" in a solo concert in Paris, which is featured on his album Paris Concert. In 1991, Mariah Carey wrote her own lyrics to "The Wind" for her album Emotions. Freeman had written "The Wind" with original lyrics by Jerry Gladstone; it had been performed as an instrumental piece during the 1950s and 1960s by the likes of Baker, Leo Wright, and Stan Getz, and had been sung by vocalist June Christy (on The Misty Miss Christy). Freeman's piano is featured on Baker's 1954 recording of "The Wind" (featured on Chet Baker & Strings). Freeman remained busy in music throughout his life, transitioning from jazz pianist to film scoring and composition before his death in Las Vegas in 2002.

Freeman was married three times, and he had one daughter, Paula Kenley Freeman, from his second marriage. He had no grandchildren. His daughter moved from Seattle to live in the Netherlands in 2009, and an interview about her relationship with her father appeared in the May 2009 issue of the European magazine, PianoWereld.


With Chet Baker

With Maynard Ferguson

With Jimmy Giuffre

With Irene Kral

With Shelly Manne

With Jack Montrose

With Art Pepper

With André Previn

With Pete Rugolo


  1. ^ Fordham, John (August 1, 2002). "Russ Freeman". The Guardian.
  2. ^ Russell, Ross, and Tony Williams (1993). Charlie Parker on Dial: the West Coast Sessions. Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire, England: Spotlite Jazz. p. 12.
  3. ^ a b "Jazz Immortal - Clifford Brown | Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 2018-03-30.
  4. ^ "Jazz Immortal - Clifford Brown | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 2018-03-30.

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