Live at the Green Mill: Update #2

George and I have had quite a couple of weeks. As I mentioned in our last update, we got the tracks mixed for the album. This past week he and I have been listening and thinking about how the album will flow, which takes will work best, and making plans for the mastering session, which should happen in about two to three weeks.
In the meantime, George and I had a really special day on March 16th. Cory Weeds, a saxophonist from Vancouver, brought 40 tourists to Chicago for a week of enjoying Chicago jazz clubs. (Check out Cory’s tour site here) As part of this, Cory asked me to set up a historical tour of the South Side. He hired a 50-person tour bus for me to take his group to former jazz spots. I developed a tour that started in the Levee district (the old red-light district which was around 16th-22nd), ran through State st. where the clubs were in the 1920s, stopped by DuSable High School, swung by the former site of the Club DeLisa, passed through Washington Park to Woodlawn to see the former site of the Pershing Hotel, and then down to 75th street to see Von Freeman way. During the tour I presented research I’ve done towards my dissertation.
The fun really got started, though, when we stopped to pick up George to get him for our show at the end of the tour. George walked out of his house, saw this huge tour bus waiting for him, and told me, “Mike, you did it again.”  He entered the bus, and the 50 people on board gave him a huge round of applause. He was so touched. Then he took the microphone and explained all the clubs that he knew as we drove north on King dr.
Our final destination was Meyers Ace Hardware at 35th and Calumet, the former site of the Sunset Cafe and Grand Terrace. George and I played a concert in the store with Pete Benson and Mike Schlick. George hasn’t played in this building since the early 1950s. It was a bittersweet moment once we arrived because David Meyers, the owner of the building since 1961, is going out of business and has sold the building. Our Canadian visitors, who were such friendly people and huge jazz fans, were so excited because not only were they able to see this piece of history before it closed, they felt part of local jazz history. George played so strong and saxophonist Eric Schneider joined us for a few tunes. (He was in the band of pianist Earl “Fatha” Hines, who played in this building for many years in the 1930s). The owner of Meyers Ace, David Meyers, told me that this was one of the most memorable moments in his 50 years at this location. It was a really special moment, especially for George.
Here’s a nice video of the event produced by Jazz in the Alley:
Here are some photos from Kent Richmond and Julie Shaw:
Then three days later on March 19th, George received the “best jazz entertainer” award at the Chicago Music Awards. He’s having a great 2017 so far.
Thanks again for being part of this special project. More updates to come soon.
Mike Allemana and George Freeman
Don’t miss our show at the Green Mill coming up April 7 at 9pm and April 8 at 8pm 
(for those of you that contributed to receive free admission to one of those nights, please make sure to let me know which night you would like to attend.)

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