Press

“You can tell that truly remarkable jazz guitarist Allemana has been playing with tenor saxophone icon Von Freeman for years — he always leaves plenty of space for his reedist… If we had to describe Allemana’s style, it would be ‘hard-driving.’ “–Chicago Tribune

“Mike Allemana….is an immensely gifted player with a deep harmonic bag and a grounded sense of adventure.” Chicago Reader 2009.

“Allemana is a hard-driving, deep-listening guitarist with a gorgeous tone,   one of the brightest and most dedicated talents on the Chicago jazz scene.”
-Michael Jackson, Downbeat

“…dazzling technician…”
-Chicago Jazz Magazine

“…forges a sleek but sturdy North Side sound out of South Side tradition.”-Lloyd Sachs, Chicago Sun-Times

“…an outstanding player with a bright future of his own.”
-The Chicago Reader

“(Von Freeman’s) band gets its distinctive tang from another well-kept secret, guitarist Michael Allemana, whose fleet, Kansas City blues-inflected playing and sleek chords make bebop picking sound new again.”
-Kevin Whitehead

“…wonderful…”
-John Corbett, Down Beat Magazine

“…lays down the gauntlet, performing wondrous runs and nice chordal work…”-Jazzitude.com

“Michael Allemana is one of those rare types like Toronto’s Ed Bickert, who churns out mainstream lines and variations in the most expected of forms yet makes it obvious that he’s toying with the piece as if he’s playing it for the first, not the thousandth time. “-Jazzword.com

“Allemana..takes obvious pleasure in drawing us into his focused, usually self-assured playing. 3 stars.”
-Down Beat Magazine review of “The Mike Allemana Organ Trio” CD, April 2001

“…hands off to Mike Allemana. His lines are swift: as fluid as Tal Farlow, he gives each note a good hard snap.”
-JazzUSA.com

“…one of the most discreet guitar players in town…” Jazz Institute of Chicago

Recent Posts

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

 

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