Russ Freeman (pianist)

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Russell Donald Freeman (May 28, 1926 in Chicago, Illinois – June 27, 2002 in Las Vegas, Nevada) was a bebop and cool jazz pianist and composer.

Initially, Freeman was classically trained. His reputation as a jazz pianist grew in the 1940s after working with Art Pepper and Shorty Rogers. Numerous collaborations followed in the 1950s with Chet Baker and Shelly Manne.

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

In 1991, Mariah Carey wrote her own lyrics to Freeman's "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 with 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 Shelly Manne

With Jack Montrose

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