Today, October 3, 2013, would have been Von Freeman's 90th Birthday (or is it 91?!). October 3rd was always a big day at the New Apartment Lounge with Von, his band and the New Apartment regulars. On that day, Von reigned supreme. So today, I'm putting on some of my favorite Von records, reveling in his sound, wondering at his creativity and thinking back on how good forever Von Freeman truly was.
ABSOLUTE SOUND on VON FREEMAN LP
September 18, 2013: The Absolute Sound has just issued a wonderful review of our new LP, Von Freeman, THE GREAT DIVIDE. They gave it 4 stars (out of 5) for MUSIC and 5 stars for SONICS. It's not online so I can't link to it but here's what they said. Thanks Von Freeman and thanks Absolute Sound.
"When tenor saxophonist Von Freeman released his 1972 debut Doin’ It Right Now, he revealed a unique blend of influences tracing back as far as the seemingly bygone age of swing. He continued to play in an authentic, unstudied manner throughout his career, and the inspiration he derived from previous masters, Hawk and Pres in particular, is still evident on 2004’s The Great Divide, a previously CD-only release reissued now on vinyl. This gorgeous set includes the stellar accompaniment of pianist Richard Wyands (whose discography extends back to some classic Gene Ammons sides on Prestige), bassist John Webber, and drummer Jimmy Cobb, who recorded with Miles, Trane, and Cannonball—and on Doin’ It Right Now. Mastered for vinyl by Doug Sax and pressed at RTI, the 180-gram LP boasts a lucid sound that perfectly complements the intimate performance, the bass and piano crystal clear while the closely-miked sax is free to employ the utmost subtlety, a strategy that’s particularly effective on the remarkable solo performance of “Violets For Your Furs.” However, top honors go to “Blue Pres,” a Lester Young tribute that’s a must for straight-ahead jazz lovers who appreciate one master paying homage to another." JW
Thinking about TC today. THIS> is magnificent. From 1998's TimePeace (Verve Forecast).
THE GREAT DIVIDE: TOP LPs FOR TESTING SPEAKERS
Thanks cnet.com (The Audiophiliac column), for THIS>. It's gratifying to see such nice reviews come through for Von Freeman, an artist with whom we are very proud to be associated.
GREAT REVIEW OF CAFE BLUE-REEL TO REEL
The Absolute Sound>, the widely respected audiophile publication celebrating its 40th anniversary in print this month, has a story on Reel to Reel (r2r) in their current edition wherein they lavish praise on our one and only r2r release, Patricia Barber's cafe blue. The story is not online yet so I can't link to it but here's what they said:
So far Premonition has only issued one r2r, but it's a doozie -- Patricia Barber's cafe blue in the recent Capitol Studios remix! Wait 'til you hear "Too Rich For My Blood" on 15 ips tape! (An interesting note: this album was originally recorded 48kHz/16-bit digital -- the only title on this list that wasn't recorded on analog tape. And yet ... it has always sounded great on LP and now even greater on r2r. Go figure.
We worked really hard to make our first r2r release something special. It's really great to get this type of recognition for our efforts.
THE GREAT DIVIDE ON LP - GREAT REVIEW
Thanks soundstagehifi.com. For THIS>. We especially like this quote about the mastering and pressing:
Premonition’s vinyl reissue of The Great Divide carves the CD’s ten tracks down to five and emphasizes slower tempos. I don’t own the CD, but I’ve heard enough jazz on disc and vinyl to know that Webber’s bass solo in “Be My Love” has a presence and attack on this LP that CDs don’t capture, and that Jimmy Cobb’s drums resonate into the room in a way that even high-resolution digital doesn’t do justice to. Freeman’s tenor is centered and slightly forward in the soundstage, and you can hear his breath control on the instrument. Wyands’s piano has just the right hint of reverb and openness. Doug Sax mastered the LP from the original 24-bit/96kHz recording, but Sax loves vinyl, and the result is spectacular.
The pressing of The Great Divide, by RTI, is quiet and nicely finished at the edges, the cover is heavy cardboard with a glossy finish, and John Litweiler’s excellent liner notes are in four columns across the back of the cover -- very old-fashioned, and a great joy to read. A very nicely done job for a record jazz lovers will cherish.
FIRST REVIEWS OF GREAT DIVIDE LP ...
We're off to a great start. Thanks Audiophile Audition, for this>.
CHICO FREEMAN ON VON FREEMAN
Somehow, we missed THIS.> A beautiful, heartfelt tribute from son to father.
VON FREEMAN, THE GREAT DIVIDE ON LP ...
April 6, 2013: The Village Voice said of this track, "Freeman is wrong - but wrong like Monk and Lester Young were, with the peculiar logic of genius." High praise indeed but we here at Premonition can't say we disagree. This track is on "The Great Divide," which we are releasing on vinyl next week. Re-mastered by the legendary Doug Sax with new cover art by Tim Anderson, this is sure to be one of our best of the year. Featuring Von Freeman, Jimmy Cobb, Richard Wyands and John Webber.
20 YEAR LOOK BACK ... PATRICIA BARBER
March 10, 2013 ... With five albums on Premonition, there are many terrific Patricia Barber tracks to choose from as we once again re-visit Premonition's 20 years of putting out records. I chose this one for two reasons. First, it is a killer: Patricia in great voice, playing beautifully and the band, IMHO her best group, providing the kind of support found only at the highest levels. And second, because it was one take. Patricia counted it off and eight minutes later, we had this. No editing. No fancy production. Just pure, unforgettable music making straight from the heart. It's what I envisioned Premonition to stand for and then it happened. Thanks Patricia, Michael, John and Mark.
20 YEAR LOOK BACK ... JOHN McLEAN
John McLean is such a great musician. This tune, from his one (unfortunately) Premonition release, encapsulates John's thing: beautiful composition, searing guitar, flawless performance. Looking back on 20 years is pretty cool.
GRAMMY AWARD - BEST SURROUND SOUND ALBUM
February 10, 2013 ... Thanks to Jim Anderson and Darcy Proper for a great job on our release of Patricia Barber's modern cool in Surround. This was quite a surreal experience and a real honor for Premonition Records and Patricia Barber. That's me on the left trying to look calm.
FIRST ANALOG TAPE RELEASE!
Today, January 23, 2013, Premonition announces its first analog tape release, Patricia Barber's cafe blue. Tape fans will be more than pleased with the production crew we've assembled. It sounds remarkable. You can read all about it HERE>.
20 YEAR LOOK-BACK ... ROBERT WALTER
It's been 20 years since Premonition's first release and I am continuing to trip the light fantastic through the catalog. Not that I ever stopped listening to the stuff but now I've got an excuse to post about it! Anyway, here is Robert Walter's fantastic "There Goes The Neighborhood." DownBeat called this album one of the "Top 50 All Time Soul/Jazz Recordings." Don't know about that but spending a week on the road with these guys was really memorable. Chuck Rainey talking about his days with Aretha. Phil Upchurch and Red Holloway reminiscing about the Chicago soul scene of the 1960s. It was almost worth starting a record company just to be there for that.
20 YEAR LOOK-BACK ... DREW GRESS
Just realized 2013 is Premonition's 20th year in business. Woo Hoo! Going through some of the catalog and this one really got me. Composer/Bassist Drew Gress Inspired by "Stars and Stripes Forever." Produced by David Torn. Premonition is fortunate to have worked with Drew on three albums. This is from "The Irrational Numbers."
20 YEAR LOOK BACK ... VON FREEMAN
Von Freeman channeling Lester Young. Easily one of the best tracks in the Premonition catalog. Look for this one on 180-gram LP coming this Spring!
VON FREEMAN, NEW YEARS EVE, 1983
THIS> has just been posted by an old friend of Premonition, The Motion Devotion. It's from a particular interesting period in Von Freeman's career, a roughly 10 years stretch between 1977 and 1989 when he went unrecorded. "Young and Foolish" from 1977 is Premonition's absolutely favorite Von record, even above our own titles which are pretty darn good thank you very much. But boy is it a drag that nobody had Von in the studio during this time. This gem is something else. And features the truly under-recorded master pianist John Young, also playing just great. Wow!
December 6, 2012
Maybe I should go out of town more often. This morning came the great news that our Surround Sound release of Patricia Barber, modern cool was nominated for a 2013 Grammy Award for "Best Surround Sound Album." We're all verklempt over here. Congrats to Mix Engineer Jim Anderson and Mastering Engineer Darcy Proper on a job well done. There is some stiff competition for the actual award so we'll see how that goes but right now, we're really honored to have been nominated. The List.>
TO PREMONITION STORE CUSTOMERS:
November 27, 2012
Unfortunately, we will not be able to ship orders for the next week or so. The store remains open but if you order physical product, it will not ship until December 8th or soon thereafter. Sorry about the inconvenience.
November 9, 2012 ... Still thinking about Terry Callier. This> is deep. Beautiful and inspiring too. Terry's Cadet recordings from the 1970s, produced by Charles Stepney, will never be equaled or forgotten.
TERRY CALLIER - BBC RADIO OBIT
November 6, 2012
Loved THIS> tribute to Terry Callier from the BBC. Giles Peterson is the person who is primarily responsible, along with Chuck Mitchell, for bringing Terry back in the late 1990s. They're both heroes as far as we're concerned. Scroll to the 21:50 mark for the portion on TC.
MORE on TERRY CALLIER
We were so happy to see THIS> heartfelt tribute to Terry Callier posted this afternoon by its author, Lloyd Sachs. The piece was originally published, along with a big beautiful picture of Terry and Sunny, in the Chicago Sun Times as part of the promotion leading to the record release performance for TC in DC at the Old Town School in late 1996. I remember it well because the day after it appeared, the show, Terry's first Chicago appearance in decades, went from half sold to sold-out in a matter of hours. Apparently nobody knew that Terry was back and performing and then suddenly everyone had to be there. But that's how it was with Terry. His fans, we here at Premonition included, adored him.
EXTRAORDINARY JOE INDEED
We like this write up on our friend TC>.
TERRY CALLIER (1945-2012)
Today, October 28, 2012, brought some more very sad news for Premonition Records. Terry Callier, one of our very favorite artists of all time, has passed away>.
Although Premonition is but a blip in Terry's impressive discography, the recordings of Terry's we released were significant to him and to us. Two of our recordings were actually dry run, demo type sessions that directly preceeded Terry earning recording contracts. "Live at Mother Blues" was done just prior to "The New Folk Sound of Terry Callier" (Prestige) with the same band as on that record. Two bass players ("Like Coltrane," said Terry). "First Light" includes most of the material that would appear on Terry's first Cadet album, "Occasional Rain." "TC in DC" was one of the last gigs Terry did before retiring from music in 1981 to raise his daughter. For us, putting out these records was simply a joyous thing. Terry was a legend, a mystic, a deep, thoughtful, interesting, spiritual friend. He will be greatly missed. R.I.P. TC.
Today, October 3, 2012, would have been Von Freeman's 89th Birthday. He is greatly missed. Critic Kevin Whitehead offers this magnificent tribute>
STEREOPHILE RECORDING OF THE MONTH
Thanks Stereophile. For this>.
WOW! STEREOPHILE RECORDING OF THE MONTH
Stereophile's Recording of the Month for October, 2012 honors two of our recent releases: Patricia Barber's nightclub on 180-gram LP and Patricia Barber's modern cool on Blu-ray. The write ups are wonderful and a real tribute to engineer Jim Anderson and mastering engineers Bob Ludwig, Doug Sax, Darcy Proper and David Glasser. Way to go TEAM!
We'll post a link as soon as it's online.
ANOTHER BEAUTIFUL REVIEW OF NIGHTCLUB LP
Thanks SoundStageNetworks. For this>.
CELEBRATING VON ...
Tonight (8-27-12) in Chicago there will be a memorial for Von Freeman. Thinking about Von this morning, I came across the first feature article ever written about him. It was a 1973 cover story in the Chicago Reader by Chicago jazz critic Neil Tesser. It's spectacular and a real tribute to the man we know here at Premonition. Enjoy>.
VON FREEMAN MEMORIAL ANNOUNCED
Celebrating an amazing life. We here at Premonition sure wish we could be in Chicago for this>.
MODERN COOL AMONG TOP BLU-RAY RELEASES OF THE YEAR!
Thanks Audiophiliacs. For this>.
EXTREMELY SAD NEWS
The great Vonski has passed. We here at Premonition are grateful to have known him, loved him, recorded him. Von was something very special. A gifted artist and a wonderful mentor. He will be missed by fans at home and around the world. There are wonderful and informative obits in The Chicago Tribune, NPR.org and The New York Times, among others.
WONDERFUL REVIEW OF PATRICIA BARBER, MODERN COOL ON BLU-RAY
Thanks Audiophile Audition. For this>.
RELEASE WEEK: PATRICIA BARBER MODERN COOL ON BLU-RAY
Check it OUT>!
GREAT REVIEW FOR PATRICIA BARBER NIGHTCLUB LP
Thanks Audiophile Audition. For this>.
MODERN COOL DUAL LAYER BLU-RAY SET FOR RELEASE!
On June 26, 2012, we will re-release Patricia Barber's modern cool this time on a high resolution, dual layer Blu Ray. Surround sound is a truly amazing experience and this project, remixed in surround at the famed Skywalker Ranch, really captures the way 5.1 enhances the listening experience. We're really proud of the results. We hope you'll like it. Here is our retail blurb:
Patricia Barber’s modern cool hit like a thunderbolt when first released back in 1998. The album received a coveted 5 star review in DownBeat Magazine and was included in a survey of “Top 100 Albums of the Century” by Rolling Stone/Germany, among other accolades. The response, and subsequent worldwide touring, let to Barber’s signing to Blue Note Records one year later and led the New York Times to say: “Barber’s art is the kind of art we need to pay attention to.” Now, Premonition releases a high resolution, dual layer Blu Ray of this miraculous album. Included are a 5.1 Surround remix (24/96 kHz) by original engineer Jim Anderson and the original 2 track Stereo masters here in 24/192 kHZ for the first time on disc. The surround remix is stunning, revealing detail never before heard. The high resolution 2 track masters shed new light on the originals. Sure to be a hit with Blu Ray owning music fans, this release utilized the Pure Audio system, a new technology that allows consumers to operate the disc using the on-screen menu navigation or by remote control without a TV screen. Playable on all Blu Ray players. Music Only.
You can pre-order this title Here>
PATRICIA BARBER NIGHTCLUB 180-GRAM LP Now Available!
Our newest LP re-issue, Patricia Barber, nightclub, comes courtesy of the same team that worked on the cafe blue LP. Bob Ludwig did the mastering. Doug Sax cut the lacquers and Jim Anderson, the album's original engineer, supervised this newest issue. Includes bonus material in the same, high end jackets as cafe blue. We're confident you're going to like this one! 33 1/3 RPM, Double LP. To Purchase, click Here>.
Cafe Blue LP Back in Stock
FYI, we are once again fully stocked on the cafe blue LP. To order, you know what to do.
VON FREEMAN: NEA JAZZMASTER 2012 CEREMONY
A beautiful ceremony honoring the 2012 NEA Jazzmasters was held last week. Check out this video starting at the 39:30 mark. It's wonderful to hear the legendary Benny Golson expound on the greatness of Vonski!
VON FREEMAN: NEA JAZZMASTER 2012
Check out this beautiful video tribute to Chicago tenor sax giant Von Freeman from the folks at the NEA Jazzmasters Program. Just wonderful! Congrats again Vonski.
Cafe Blue LP Out of Stock
We regret to say that we are temporarily out of stock on Patricia Barber's cafe blue 180-gram double LP. The item is still available at our U.S. distributor Music Direct and from many other distributors around the world however. If you are outside the U.S., send us an email and we'll direct you to a proper distributor.
"A REISSUE DONE EXQUISITELY RIGHT!"
With the maximum 5 stars for both "Performance" and "Sonics," tastemaker publication Stereophile Magazine praises our recent LP reissue of Patricia Barber's cafe blue:
Packed in the heaviest, glossiest cardboard jacket yet seen in a new LP reissue, this weighty two-disc 33 1/3 rpm set (three songs per side) of HQ-180 LPs, pressed by RTI, comes encased in extra-heavy plastic sleeves. Included in the inner gatefold are three new liner notes: by engineer Jim Anderson, Premonition owner Michael Friedman; and (full disclosure) Stereophile Contributing Editor Thomas Conrad. As Tom mentions in his playful missive, this entire record, and particularly Barber’s superbly recorded original composition “Too Rich For My Blood,” is a sonic gem that has long been a favorite of audio sophisticates who want to show off their hi-fi rigs with something new and different – which, amazingly, after 17 years, this album still is. On Café Blue, her second album, Barber’s moody, eclectic tastes jelled into a coherent artistic vision for the first time. Somehow, the mix of pop tunes – like a spidery “Ode to Billy Joe” complete with finger snaps – blends organically with, say, a minimalist, handclap-driven version of Jobim’s “Manha de Carnaval.” The swift, serious, post-bop jazz of Barber’s “Yellow Car III” is balanced by a funky version of “Inch Worm,” a Frank Loesser frolic in which guitarist John McLean’s echoing, evocative chords shine. All that, in turn, fits with the brief, multitracked vocal silliness of Barber’s “Wood Is A Pleasant Thing to Think About.” Remixed by Anderson, who says in his note that he’d always wondered what he’d do differently, given the chance, this Café Blue has sharper acoustic details, less reverb on Barber’s voice, and a more assertive bass presence. A reissue done exquisitely right! – ROBERT BAIRD
GREAT REVIEWS FOR CAFE BLUE LP
We've had some wonderful write ups on our new LP release of Patricia Barber's cafe blue. Check them out: Here>. Here>. Here>.
PATRICIA BARBER, CAFE BLUE 180 GRAM LP AVAILABLE JULY 28
You can order your copy of Patricia Barber's first Premonition recording, cafe blue, available for the first time from Premonition Records on 180-gram, Double LP (33 1/3 RPM) by heading over to the cafe blue page in the MUSIC section of our store.
This is an offer we are incredibly proud of. Completely remixed by the original engineer, Jim Anderson, at Capitol Studios, Hollywood, CA. Remastered by Bob Ludwig at Gateway Mastering. Lacquers cut by Doug Sax at the Mastering Lab, Ojai, CA. And pressed by RTI, Camarillo, CA. This is truly an all star team of LP production! Also includes new liner notes by Jim Anderson and me (Michael Friedman) in a beautiful new gatefold jacket. We are confident this is something audiophiles and vinyl lovers in general will appreciate.
VON FREEMAN FEATURED on NPR.ORG
A great story up about Von Freeman at NPR.org. Check out the article here>.
VON FREEMAN A 2012 NEA JAZZ MASTER!
Congrats Vonski from your friends here at Premonition Records!
The National Endowment for the Arts will announce the latest recipients of its Lifetime Honors today, including the last foreseeable class of NEA Jazz Masters. The Jazz Masters distinction, which will celebrate its 30th year, recognizes living musicians for career-long achievements.
The 2012 NEA Jazz Masters are drummer Jack DeJohnette, one of the most sought-after musicians for decades; saxophonist Von Freeman, known also for his mentorship of musicians in Chicago; bassist Charlie Haden, a composer with broad stylistic interests and educator of renown; vocalist Sheila Jordan, a distinctive singer-songwriter who has taught many; and trumpeter Jimmy Owens, who receives the A.B. Spellman NEA Jazz Masters Award for Jazz Advocacy largely for his work with the Jazz Foundation of America.
Everyone in the new class of honorees receives $25,000, and will be recognized in a concert and ceremony at Jazz at Lincoln Center in January 2012.
CAFE BLUE REMIXED FOR 180-GRAM LP RELEASE
We just completed remixing Patricia Barber's cafe blue for 180-gram LP. The session took place at Capitol Studios in Hollywood. I am blown away by the results and I cannot wait release date, which is as yet to be determined but probably sometime in late July/early August. Stay tuned for more details.
PATRICIA BARBER FEATURED AT NPR.ORG
There's a cool, new feature up on National Public Radio's music web site. It's called "Patricia Barber: When Life Gives You Pop Songs." It features five of the Pop Song covers Patricia recorded during her Premonition Years. You can check it out here>.
As of Friday 6/20/08, musicstem.com, our previous store home no longer exists. We are in the process of transferring all username and login information to make musicstem.com accounts active here. It will take about a week. If you need immediate access to your downloads, please send us an email and we'll get you set up. Thank you for your patience during this transition.
As you may have noticed, we've just redesigned the site. We look forward to your comments with fingers crossed that you like what you see.
We continue to work hard to support our two new Box Sets from Patricia Barber and Von Freeman as well as the brilliant "The Irrational Numbers" from bassist Drew Gress. The press has had good things to say about each of these releases. If you go to Patricia, Von or Drew's Artist home page you can check out some of the response.
Otherwise, we are soon to release an album called "Patricia Barber Remixed." Did you ever wonder what Patricia would sound like backed by a take-no-prisoners rock band? We did. And now we know. The remixes were done by Glenn Stella, a great guitarist and friend of Premonition.
Until next time ... Mike