born on 28/5/1926 in Chicago, IL, United States
died on 27/6/2002 in Las Vegas, NV, United States
Russ Freeman (pianist)
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, and led to collaborations in the 1950s with Chet Baker (Chet Baker Sings) and Shelly Manne (Shelly Manne's "The Three" & "The Two" and Swinging Sounds).
In 1957 he collaborated with André Previn on the album Double Play!, where they both played piano, accompanied only by Shelly 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 Chet 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 Chet 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
- Chet Baker Sings (Pacific Jazz, 1953)
- Grey December (Pacific Jazz, 1953 )
- Chet Baker Quartet featuring Russ Freeman (Pacific Jazz, 1953)
- Witch Doctor (Contemporary, 1953 )
- West Coast Live - with Stan Getz (1954 )
- Pretty/Groovy (World Pacific, 1953-54 )
- The Trumpet Artistry of Chet Baker (Pacific Jazz, 195354)
- Chet Baker & Strings (Columbia, 1954)
- Jazz at Ann Arbor (Pacific Jazz, 1954)
- Chet Baker Sings and Plays (Pacific Jazz, 1955)
- Quartet: Russ Freeman/Chet Baker (Pacific Jazz, 1956)
With Maynard Ferguson
- Maynard Ferguson's Hollywood Party (EmArcy, 1954)
- Dimensions (EmArcy, 1955)
- Biography of Russ Freeman by John Fordham at guardian.co.uk