Recently Von Freeman and Knobby Totah passed away.
There's a good obit of Freeman by Patrick Jarrenwattananon at A Blog Supreme.
At Greenleaf, record producer Michael Friedman discusses Freeman's lovely unaccompanied performance of "Violets for Your Furs."
Tom Lord discography tidbits on Von Freeman:
1950 jam session with Bird, Chris Anderson, and Bruz Freeman (his brother and very good drummer)
1956 Andrew Hill with Pat Patrick, Malachi Favors, and Wilbur Campell
1970 first of many "battles" with another great tenor player in Chicago, here with Dexter Gordon
1972 first record as a leader, for Atlantic with Chi piano John Young and Sam Jones and Jimmy Cobb (somehow I never heard this)
1975 first records for Nessa, one of several excellent Chicago labels that would record many Freeman sessions, too many to list here, I'm sure they are all worth hearing
1977 Lockin' Horns with Willis Jackson
1981 his new tenor sparring partner is son Chico. Hard to remember that the Columbia album Father and Sons was half Marsalis family, half Freeman family! Rhythm section for Freemans is Barron, McBee, DeJohnette. Also that year made a record with Clifford Jordan; there's YouTube of them playing rhythm changes in 1988 that is really nice.
1991 two records with M-base, Strata Institute with Steve Coleman, Greg Osby, David Gilmore, Kenny Davis, Smitty Smith and Coleman's own rather strange date with Kenny Wheeler, Tommy Flanagan, Ed Blackwell and Dave Holland
1992 Rein De Graff's Tenor Conclave with Buck Hill and Teddy Edwards (I want this)
Later in the 90's and into the next century a lot of Freeman quartet records were made, in Minneapolis and New York as well as Chicago. He guested with Kurt Elling and continued to appear on his brother George's projects, a funky guitarist best-known playing with top-shelf organists.
Like many significant musicians on the old-school NYC scene, Totah is getting a memorial service at Saint Peter's on Monday. I suspect there will be some all-stars playing that night; certainly Lee Konitz will be there. Jill McManus's elegy makes for fascinating reading.
Tom Lord discography tidbits on Knobby Totah:
1953 and 1957 trios with Cy Coleman and Ray Mosca
Herbie Mann, many records 1959--1963 (I bet those are good, actually)
And lots of late 50's jazz with Zoot Sims, Bobby Jaspar (some of Elvin's earliest records), Slide Hampton, George Wallington and others.
There one Lee Konitz nonet from 1977 (Kenny Washington's first record, I think) and he made a couple records as a leader with Mike Longo and Ray Mosca in the 80's.
The only Totah I really know is a pretty killing live session with Zoot and Al alongside Phil Woods, Mose Allison and Paul Motian from 1959. A blues is on YouTube; they don't make jazz like this anymore.
Some of it comes down to this: Both Von Freeman and Knobby Totah played with Bird. When the last musician who played with Bird is gone, the music will be different.