Von Freeman Cheeks 45 (Markie, 1962)
What I want to know is who the fuck produced this record? What we have going on here is less of a song and more of a "damned if I know." A sax blast opens this instro up and then it gets all herky-jerky and twisted. The guitarist plays like a numbed John Lee Hooker. Von Freeman sounds like he belongs on a Danny Zella record, not like the guy who came up playing with Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and Roy Eldridge. An unnamed organist is in the background playing some kind of Chinese circus tune. The guitar solos, Freeman solos and as he winds down, a massive organ comes washing in. Mysterious organist honks and skronks as much as one can on keys. The last part of the song is a struggle between Freeman and the organist, the guitarist has been swept away by the sound. They are back by a drummer that sounds like Dorothy Wiggins of Shaggs did if she got a tiny bit of jazz training. The flipside of the record is a pretty tame jazz stroll.
So why does this record which has a "normal" sounding flip and is by one of Chicago's legendary musicians, a man who has played with Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Jimmy Witherspoon, and Al Smith, sound so strange? Yes, he sired Chico Freeman and sure he did a record with Roland Kirk (in 1972), but why does this sound like it is from some demented dimension? My theory: Sun Ra. Now, I have absolutely no proof whatsoever that the possessed organist on this record is Sun Ra BUT Von Freeman was an original member of the Arkestra, playing with Sun Ra until 1960, two years before this record was released. The two remained friends. Sun Ra mentored his son. Von Freeman's discography is a mystery between 1959 and 1972. Perhaps there is a Von Freeman or Sun Ra fan who can tell me.