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New Improved Funk

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Album Review

The title says it all in three words, but New Improved Funk demands further elucidation. It's a fun house ride that veers sharply from funk to jazz to soul and back again, its scattershot approach nevertheless proves the best showcase George Freeman's guitar ever had. Recorded with two separate backing groups, New Improved Funk sprawls all over the stylistic map, and virtually the only common denominator from track to track is Freeman's guitar. He further confounds expectations with skronky solos and blissfully psychedelic interludes that go nowhere, but then the journey is more important than the destination here anyway. Somehow this mess still comes together, galvanized by Von Freeman's fiery tenor sax and its undeniably impressive gutbucket grooves. Everything that it's advertised to be.


Born: April 10, 1927 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Jazz guitarist George Freeman is the least prominent of his famous family from Chicago, primarily because he stayed home and was a breadwinner for his wife and children. Nonetheless, Freeman has been an important member of the Chi-Town soul-jazz movement that helped foment that style. In his early professional years starting in the late '40s, Freeman recorded with the territory bands of Joe Morris from 1946 through 1949 and with Tom Archia in 1947 and 1948, and was asked to support touring musicians...
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