Mike Freeman Blog

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Mike Freeman

Summer 2016 wrap-up

The summer has wound down with some memorable gigs starting in late spring with a Bronx rooftop concert at Casita Maria with Ray Mantilla followed by the annual stickball tournament with Julio Salgado. ZonaVibe, in promotion of "Blue Tjade", was in the East Village at the Third Street Music series in late June and Jose Mangual Jr.’s Son Boricua was in the Bronx at Olivias in July. Then there was Ray Mantilla’s Jazzmobile gig at Riverbank State Park and a Jazz Foundation gig at Union Square Park. In August ZonaVibe had a great time on a beautiful evening as part of Jazz Forum Arts music series at Dobbs Ferry where the audience called for an encore! And to top it off Ray Mantilla’s Good Vibrations band just finished a prestigious and well received gig at The Kitano Jazz. I’m now taking a short break to head to the midwest but next up is Son Boricua at BB Kings on Sept. 15th! –Mike Freeman

Portugal

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In 1985 I was invited to tour Portugal. The tour was funded by the American Embassy and the Fullbright Foundation. It was arranged by American bassist Dave Gausden, who was living in Portugal, and Rui Martins, director of the Hot Clube De Portugal in Lisbon, with the help of Wally Keiderling from the USIA (United States Information Agency) who was Cultural Affairs Officer for Portugal. It was an extensive (5 week) tour that took me to every part of the country including towns and cities where few American musicians had performed before and no vibraphonist had ever performed. I received over 30 pages of press and the red carpet treatment everywhere I went with dinners and receptions in my honor and received the Medal of the City of Guarda.
Portugal Tour Photos 1985

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portugal-letter

It was during that tour I wrote a tune called "Praça da Alegria" (Happiness Sguare, named after the Square in Lisbon across from the Hot Clube de Portugal) and got the idea to write more music like it for a group I would form after returning from the tour. The group was called Spellbound and produced two recordings, "Mike Freeman & Spellbound" and Mike Freeman & Spellbound "Street Shuffle" about 5 years apart. Spellbound performed to a standing ovation at the JVC Newport Jazz Festival in Saratoga, NY, 1989, and "Street Shuffle" received significant distribution and radio airplay in 1991. Now years later in 2007 I was invited to perform with my group ZonaVibe in Terceira, Azores, Portugal for the Festival Internacional.
Azores Tour Photos 2007

–Mike Freeman

WBGO's Latin Package

"Blue Tjade" is part of WBGO's Latin Package for their winter fund drive. It's been fun hearing it mentioned and played often over the air! –Mike Freeman

latinpackage

A new CD and a new look!

Wow 2015 is closing out with a bang! Blue Tjade was released 12-22-15 and now a nice looking update to the Jazzvibe web site! I like the look and feel so of this so much I think I might actually blog here more regularly from now on! –Mike Freeman

Birthday Gig Success

My Birthday gig at FB Lounge was a big success and the band sounded great!

An afternoon gig of mine was rained out today but ZonaVibe is headed out to Top of the World in Bushkill, PA tonight. –Mike Freeman

50th

I'll be celebrating my 50th Birthday with a performance of ZonaVibe at LaFonda Borciua on Aug. 27th. This also marks 28 years since I arrived in New York City in August of 1981. I hope you'll make it out to celebrate with me, it won't be the same without you, really!

ZonaVibe will also be at Top of The World in Bushkill, PA on Aug. 29th this month.

–Mike Freeman