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Stan Freeman


  • Born 3 April 1920, Waterbury, Connecticut
  • Died 13 January 2001, California

A fine all-around talent--pianist, composer, comedian, writer--Stan Freeman tends to get pigeon-holed as "that guy who played the harpsichord" on Rosemary Clooney's huge early 1950s hit, "Come on-a My House." Freeman studied classical piano through college, earning a bachelor of music degree from the University of Hartford in 1942. After serving in World War Two, however, he joined ex-Glenn Miller star Tex Beneke's big band and played swing music.

Although he continued to perform occasionally in concert halls after leaving Beneke's band in 1947, he primarily worked in nightclubs, quickly adding a comic patter to his piano playing. By the early 1950s, he was getting hired as a comedian as often as as a musician. He also picked up studio work on the side, and when Columbia Records producer Mitch Miller was looking for a distinctive sound to accompany Clooney on "Come on-a My House," he brought in Freeman to play harpsichord. At about the same time, Percy Faith used Freeman's harpsichord to play the melody on his early hit, "Delicado." From then on, Freeman could rely on dusting off the harpsichord whenever he needed a quick buck (viz his Twist album, which is ... well, a bit of an oil-and-water creation).

Freeman's career was hardly as narrow as this, though. He did his nightclub act for years, appearing on television variety shows, and regularly teaming up with fellow pianist Cy Walter. He scored and appeared in a Broadway musical, "I Had a Ball," in 1965, and did studio work behind Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald, and other singers. And in the late 1970s, he wrote comic material for "The Carole Burnett Show" and "The Mary Tyler Moore Show." He continued to perform live in clubs and concerts well into the 1980s.


Recordings

  • Piano Sweethearts, Columbia CL-1326
  • Stan Freeman Swings "The Music Man," Columbia CL-1120
  • Stan Freeman Plays 30 All-Time Hits, Harmony HL-7067
  • At the Blue Angel, Epic LN-3224
  • Manhattan, Epic LG-3114
  • Piano Moods, Columbia CL-6158
  • Come on-a Stan's house: Stan Freeman at the Harpsichord, Columbia CL-6193
  • Everybody's Twistin', Columbia CS-8362
  • Fascination, Project 3 PR50112 SD


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