Craig Freeman

WMUK Music Contributor

Craig Freeman is a freelance musician and teacher in west Michigan who performs with multiple ensembles and projects. At Western Michigan University, he studied trombone with Steven Wolfinbarger, graduating in 2011. Craig is originally from the Cleveland area.

Email: mercer03 (at) gmail.com

Craig Freeman

It's known under many names - "gypsy jazz," "jazz manouche," "hot club," or "Django jazz" - and refers to the popular music of 1930s Parisian clubs and cafés, pioneered by Romani musician Django Reinhardt and others.  The appeal for musicians and listeners alike is a strong as ever - the music is melodic, danceable, humorous, virtuosic and a little subversive. WMUK contributor Craig Freeman spent an hour in WMUK's Takeda studio with Kalamazoo-based  musicians The Birdseed Salesmen:  Helen Yee on violin, Nathan Tabor on lead guitar, and Jay Gavan on rhythm guitar. 

Tabor says the group's name is a reference to the film Sweet And Lowdown, which followed the story of a fictional Django-era guitarist. The Birdseed Salesmen play Reinhardt's own "Nuages," and "Douce Ambiance," Lew Pollack's "Two Cigarettes in the Dark," and "Tchavolo Swing" by Tchavolo Schmidt.

Craig Freeman

Kids and their vivid imaginations are no mystery to Paul Bauer, who grew up with young nieces and nephews, watched his mother run a home daycare, and became a pre-school teacher himself before turning to music full-time. An instructor at Kalamazoo Kids in Tune and at the Crescendo Academy, he's also the drummer for the  local band The Mainstays. Bauer started another project, Small Sounds, a few years ago with his wife, Katrina Davidson. In the studio with Craig Freeman, Bauer and Davidson talk about how they write songs and engage children with their live shows. 

Drawing from a variety of music genres - pop, rock, electronic, and more - Small Sounds released its first album, Good Morning, Sun!, in 2016. In the studio, they play a stripped-down version of "Hey, Alligator!" from that release, and two newer songs, "My Pet Possum," and "Life on the Seven Seas."


LHI Live: Advanced Looping With After Ours

Apr 12, 2019
Craig Freeman

After Ours is a South Bend-based duo that packs an amazing amount of sound into its grooves. Eli Kahn plays a hybrid 7-string instrument on which he can play bass lines, rhythm guitar, and lead guitar with help from an impressive  effects rack. Arthur Schroeder is an in-demand drummer with a background in jazz, rock, and hip-hop. Their latest album, released in August, 2018, is called All The Time.

In a live performance in WMUK's Takeda studio, Kahn and Schroeder demonstrate their loop-based music and talk to host Craig Freeman about the versatility of the duo. They've played together for over 10 years, an experience that has given them both the same "loop mind" and an instinct for adapting their sound to any venue, from an underground club to a champagne bar bookstore.


Craig Freeman

For classically-trained jazz pianist Dan Willenberg, Thelonius Monk is a creative genius who was both generous with his fellow musicians and uncompromising in his mission to live his music his way. In a free-ranging interview with Craig Freeman, Willenberg shares a personal vision of the sometimes-misunderstood jazz master, highlighting some special aspects of his playing and personality. 

Willenberg plays the Thelonius Monk tunes "'Round Midnight," "Bye-Ya," "Let's Cool One," "In Walked Bud," plus Duke Ellington's "Prelude to a Kiss." 


Craig Freeman

Keyboardist Brandon Fitzpatrick and guitarist Braulio Green, who grew up gigging together in Battle Creek, MI, are the visionaries behind Minor Element: an ambitious, 9-piece jazz fusion group that has just released its first EP, Stranger Things Have Happened.

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