Vonology, a musical exploration of Von Freeman, Friday, December 14, 7pm, South Shore Cultural Center

On Friday, December 14, I will premiere an original five movement composition I call Vonology. After years of performing with Von and researching his presence in the world, I have put together an original musical expression about my mentor and friend. In my career, travels, and research I have conversed for hours and hours about Von with Steve Coleman, with countless Chicagoans as they remember moments of his solos or his stories of life and music, with George Freeman in his living room while he remembers childhood moments and gigs, and with Amsterdam musicians who speak passionately about Von’s affect on their music. From my years of playing with him and hearing the profound stories people tell, I have composed a piece that feeds off of Von’s large presence in the world, both in the past and as it lives in the present.

Von spoke often in symbolic language. One time he explained to me, after I asked him what he played in a crazy solo, that he imagined a tonic of a key surrounded by a rainbow and that he played in the rainbow, but always making sure to return to the tonic. Expressing musical processes in this way was an integral feature of conversing with him, as people’s memories have confirmed to me. Von was deeply versed in the Bible (the book of knowledge, as he called it) and astrology which he both used as symbolic systems to understand and explain music and humanity.

For this composition, I combined astrological symbolism and musical intuition to inform my musical process. Brian Allemana, a highly skilled in astrologer as well as my brother, made Von’s chart and interpreted the symbols (Von is a Libra, born October 3rd, 1923). I assigned pitches and rhythms to the most compelling meanings as they connect shapes within houses, planets, and other Zodiac signs. The result is a long form composition that combines interpretations from people of different jazz communities, my brother’s astrological vision, and my personal feelings for Von, all filtered through my musical vision, something Von always pushed me and countless of his horses to pursue.

Please come join us for this premiere:

Friday, December 14th, at 7pm at theSouth Shore Cultural Center, 7059 South Shore Drive.

More info: see the Jazz Institute of Chicago. I would like to thank Lauren Deutsch and the Jazz Institute of Chicago for their generous support of this project. Please become a member of this great organization.

Vonology:

Mike Allemana: Guitar and compositions

Victor Garcia: Trumpet

Greg Ward: Alto Sax

Geof Bradfield: Tenor Sax

Kendall Moore: Trombone

Tomeka Reid: Cello

Matt Ferguson: bass

Michael Raynor: drums

Voices: Sue Demel, Lindsay Weinberg, Alton Smith, and Bill Brickey

Conductor and author of astrological texts: Brian Allemana

 

Mike Allemana/Greg Fishman Duo at Winter’s, Tuesday July 31, 7:30pm/9:30pm

Dear friends,

There are few musicians one meets during one’s career who think, hear, and improvise music in such synchronicity it is like the musician is inside your brain, hearing exactly the same things. For me, Greg Fishman is one of those musicians. So I am truly excited that he and I will be performing our duo project at Winter’s Jazz Club on Tuesday, July 31. Shows are at 7:30pm and 9:30pm. Click here for more info. 

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photo by Harvey S. Tillis

 

After Dark, Tuesday nights at Andy’s

Through December, After Dark, a Von Freeman inspired project, will be performing Tuesday nights at 9:30pm at Andy’s Jazz Cub, 10 E. Hubbard. We are performing the music of Von’s three main influences, Lester Young, Coleman Hawkins, and Charlie Parker.  Come check out this awesome band:

Geof Bradfield, Scott Burns, and Rajiv Halim, saxes

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Mike Allemana, guitar

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Dennis Carroll, bass

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Dana Hall, drums and cymbals

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George Freeman and Mike Allemana, Green Mill, April 13 and 14 with Bernard Purdie

We’re back at it, our 5th annual birthday celebration for George Freeman, who turned 91 on April 10. Bernard Purdie and Pete Benson will be with us again on Friday April 13 and Saturday April 14. Come on out and you can get an autographed copy of our new album on Ears&Eyes Record

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Howard Reich of the Chicago Tribune wrote a touching article about George’s 91 years.

And WTTW did a wonderful story on George and Southport Records.

Live at the Green Mill officially released!!

August 18 has arrived! The George Freeman/Mike Allemana Organ Quartet with special guest Bernard Purdie officially release Live at the Green Mill on Ears&Eyes Records. It was a long process for George and I: recorded by David Zuchowski at the Green Mill in April 2015, going through 6 sets of music to select just the right tracks, mixing, editing, and mastering with Brian Schwab (see Howard Reich’s article); and putting the finishing touches on the release with Matthew Golombisky at Ears&Eyes Records. It was worth all the work and sacrifice for our first album with organist Pete Benson and one of American music’s legends, Bernard Purdie.

Order your copy now (both vinyl and digital download with bonus tracks. Vinyl ships in September)

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George and I will be celebrating this release and George’s 90th birthday at the Chicago Jazz Festival on August 31 at 6:30pm in Millennium Park.

Celebrating George Freeman's 90th @ Green Millphoto by Harvey Tillis

 

Pre-order your copy of Live at the Green Mill on Ears&Eyes Records!!!

Dear friends,

We are so excited to announce that the new album Live at the Green Mill with the George Freeman/Mike Allemana Organ 4tet with special guest Bernard Purdie on Ears&Eyes Records has gone to production. The official release date is August 18, but you can pre-order your copy now (vinyl with digital download or just digital download): https://mikeallemana.bandcamp.com

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All pre-orders come with two instant tracks, so you get to preview what the album will sound like! Pretty cool! 

Howard Reich wrote a wonderful story about the making of this album: http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/music/reich/ct-jazz-george-freeman-ent-0614-20170613-column.html

Illustration by Luke Etcheverry, design by Fede Maks

Announcing pre-release fundraising campaign for the Freeman/Allemana 4tet with special guest Bernard Purdie

Dear friends,

Today George Freeman and I are launching a pre-release campaign to raise funds to help finish the mixing, editing, and manufacturing of our first recording, Live at the Green Mill, with organist Pete Benson and special guest Bernard Purdie. We hope to release the album on 12″ vinyl this summer with Ears&Eyes Records. In April of 2015 engineer David Zuchowski recorded us live at the Green Mill in Chicago. If you can, please help us release this recording by visiting our campaign: webpage:http://groovebot.gottagrooverecords.com/campaign/detail/4819

This recording captures two packed nights at the Green Mill and the incredible musical energy that George and Bernard create together.   Also, George turns 90 this year on April 10, 2017!!!!  Getting this recording out would be a great way to celebrate. See the campaign for full details.

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photo by Michael Jackson

Tammy McCann and Mike Allemana Live at Studio 5 in Evanston, Feb. 12

Dear friends, don’t miss this special concert:

Tammy McCann and Mike Allemana
1934 West Dempster in Evanston
Sunday, February 12
7:30pm
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photo by Harvey Tillis
 
Tammy McCann—voice
Mike Allemana—guitar 
 
Come check out Tammy and I grooving in this great new space. This is the start of a new jazz series hosted by Steve Rashid.  It’ll be lots fun!

George Freeman performs “Birth Sign” at Fulton Street Collective January 18, 2017

So excited to announce that George Freeman and I will be performing his first album, Birth Sign, on Denmark records and recorded in 1969, the year I was born. We’ll be at Chris Anderson’s Jazz Record Art Collective on Wednesday, January 18 at 8pm.  George is so excited to revisit this session, which included Von and organist Sonny Burke.  allemana freeman 1

George Freeman–guitar

Mike Allemana–guitar

Pete Benson–organ

Mike Schlick–drums