Norwegian trumpeter Mathias Eick pays tribute to the North American Midwest on a new CD of intensely melodic compositions which reflect thematically upon journeys and homecomings both literal and spiritual. The original inspiration for “Midwest” came during an arduous tour of the U.S. and Canada. “We’d started on the West Coast and were driving long distances every day. I was beginning to get very homesick. Then we reached the area called the Rural Midwest and I suddenly had the strange feeling I was home. Parts of the Midwest remind me strongly of parts of Norway…” In his music for the disc, Eick sketches an imaginary voyage from the village of his birth, over the seas to America.
“All in the Family” brings together two members of Chicago’s Freeman family that have never recorded together until now. Legendary guitarist George Freeman, who celebrated his 88th birthday in April, played with the likes of Charlie Parker and Gene Ammons and was recently selected as Chicagoan of the Year by Chicago Tribune Arts Critic Howard Reich. The career of world-renowned saxophonist Chico Freeman, who is George’s nephew and Von Freeman’s son, has taken him from his early years with Chicago’s AACM to Earth, Wind and Fire to producing, performing and recording with legendary musicians in New York including Elvin Jones. Together, they present their musical legacy of Chicago jazz with a program of originals by both players.
Also this week, legendary Grammy-nominee percussionist Sammy Figueroa unveils his fourth release as a leader, “Imaginary World,” featuring Venezuelan pianist and composer Silvano Monasterios; New Orleans keyboardist and composer Charlie Dennard offers up his second release, an organ trio affair, “5 O’ Clock Charlie”; and Sacramento-based pianist Jim Martinez blends a set of Vince Guaraldi compositions with some Guaraldi-esque pieces of his own on “Good Grief! It’s Still Jim Martinez.”