LIVE: Chico Freeman with the Chuck Lamb Trio @ Caffe Lena, 1/14/2020
There are three impressions of Chico Freeman’s performance at Caffe Lena; A bright red jacket (with red shoes), a ready smile, chops and a tone that blows the doors down. This veteran saxophonist has played in many settings and styles. Originally from Chicago and the son of the well-known saxophonist Von Freeman, he has based himself in New York and even lived in Europe for an extended period of time. He can experience music in all its shapes and forms and has incorporated all this into his style and performances over the years.
Chico’s bold yet sensitive sound led the band through two sets of funky sounds interspersed with smooth ballads. The trio led by Chuck Lamb, featuring Harvey Sorgen on drums and Peter Mack was more than up to the task. At times, Chico stopped playing just to listen and groove to the band. Harvey Sorgen laying down a groove, Peter Mack walking the bass and Chuck Lamb leading the music down the road and back again with his comping and solos.
“Cool on the Coast” is Chuck’s composition dating back to his days with Dryjack, the band gave you the feeling of traveling along the California Coast. Chico’s composition celebrating the feeling of solitude “Essence” began with the house lights turned down with Chico playing softly alone, with the band slowly coming in. Stanley Turrentine’s “Soft Pedal Blues” closed the performance, a slow blues that emphasizes the lower registers.
The Barn Burner was an interpretation of the John Coltrane composition, “Moment’s Notice” that left the audience breathless yet wanting more.