Coleman Hawkins made the tenor saxophone a jazz instrument. Bud Freeman (1906-1991), two years younger than Hawkins, followed as another of the horn’s early masters. Freeman (pictured) started on C-melody saxophone and was a member of Chicago’s Austin High Gang, which also included Frank Teschemacher, Dave Tough and Jimmy McPartland. After he switched to tenor sax in the mid-1920s he went on to play with Ben Pollack, Red Nichols, Ray Noble, Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman and Eddie Condon, among many others. He called his own band The Summa Cum Laude Orchestra. His tone was light compared with most other tenor saxophonists of his era, and almost without vibrato. Freeman was one of the rare early jazz pioneers who became interested in new forms; in the 1950s he studied with Lennie Tristano.
In the mid-1960s, Freeman was a guest on Jazz Alley, a television program hosted by his Chicago pianist contemporary Art Hodes. In this segment, Hodes begins by introducing the young soprano saxophohnist Bob Wilber, who does not play, and then Freeman, who does. The bassist is R.L. Wilson, the drummer Bob Cousins. Not all of the introductions are distinct, so here is the tune list: “You Took Advantage of Me,” “Dinah” and “Three Little Words.”
For an informative and entertaining account of his career, read Freeman’s autobiography, You Don’t Look Like a Musician.