Von Freeman & Ed Petersen: Von & Ed
The opening up-tempo reading of “Mr. P.C.” gets things off to a galloping start with a unison theme statement before Vonski launches into a lengthy lyrical exposition on the familiar melody. Peterson vaults into the fray next close on his friend’s heels. His more overtly plangent and muscular tone is clearly discernible from Vonski’s bent, high-register athletics. He submits a scorching solo before the rhythm section gets in on the act with woolly turns from Pickens and Shy. “Four” and “Lover Man” are given significantly less space to evolve, but the results on both are just as engaging as those found on the lengthier numbers. “Lover Man” is invested with a modal preface that segues smoothly into the lusty exchanges of its later sections. The disc’s centerpiece, at least in terms of temporal size is the quartet’s mammoth rendition of “A Night In Tunisia” (is there a jazz standard covered more frequently?). The expansive length of the tune precludes some coherence and there are points where the cohesion between front-line and rhythm section falters a bit. But the marvelously inventive solos of both hornmen (Peterson first, followed closely by Vonski) make these minor imbroglios of little concern. A blistering take on “Lover” signals the session’s close with Vonski blowing a ferocious ‘inside/outside’ solo punctuated by upper register wails.
Over the years Vonski has taken a lot of heat for his resolute insistence on sticking to his signature, and some say outrageous, sound on saxophone. In the company of someone like Peterson who is capable of applying a prodding fire under his feet, Vonski resources a level of ingenuity that should silence many of these naysayers, if there are still any out there. Anyone with a sweet tooth for zestfully deployed tenor prowess needs to check this disc out at his or her earliest opportunity. If the material here whets your appetite and leaves you wanting more word on the street is that a date featuring Vonski with Frank Catalano, another solid tenor presence on the Delmark roster, is currently in the works.
Track Listing: Mr. P.C./ Four/ Loverman/ A Night In Tunisia/ Lover.
Personnel: Von Freeman- tenor saxophone; Ed Petersen- tenor saxophone; Willie Pickens- piano; Brian Sandstrom- bass; Robert Shy- drums.
Recorded: July 26 & 27, 1998, Chicago, IL.
Record Label: Delmark Records