Morgan Freeman loves blues, but it’s Chicago big bands he remembers

SHARE Morgan Freeman loves blues, but it’s Chicago big bands he remembers

Tommy Lee Jones (from left), Rene Russo and Morgan Freeman in a scene from “Just Getting Started.” | Lewis Jacobs/Broad Green Pictures

Morgan Freeman is a well-known lover of the blues — and, in fact, an owner of the Ground Zero blues club in Mississippi, named for the blues roots in the Mississippi Delta region.

That said, the actor’s love of the blues didn’t have its beginning in Chicago, a crucial city in the development of that genre. “When I lived in Chicago, as a kid, it was back in the big band era. It was during the 1940s, World War II. So, I was familiar with the music stars of that time:Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five, and groups like that.

“I wasn’t until I left Chicago that I got into the blues.”

While there’s no blues music in Freeman’s new film, “Just The Beginning” (opening Friday), the Oscar winner did admit during our interview in Los Angeles that “a high point of making this was the scene we had with Johnny Mathis.” The legendary crooner appears at a party event in the film — as a surprise for Rene Russo’s character, because it’s learned she’s obsessed with Mathis.

As it turns out, Russo didn’t have to act too much to look convincingly overwhelmed when she first spies Mathis in the film. “I’m actually really crazy about Johnny Mathis. When I was younger — actually quite a bit younger! — I literally fell asleep every night listening to Nat King Cole or Johnny Mathis.

“When we filmed that scene in the movie, I became a totally silly fan. It was so special. I was taking all these selfies and other photos — and couldn’t wait to send those pictures to my mom. It was a high point for her and for me!”

Freeman agreed “getting Johnny to be in the movie was a special, smart move by Ron [Shelton, the movie’s director and screenwriter]. Not only was he so sweet to work with — he still has his voice!”

The Latest
Despite the Sox’ relatively high batting average, deficits in secondary average and isolated power are holding their offense down.
The NFL Management Council sent an email to all teams warning that a man named Saint Omni was contacting teams on the player’s behalf, a source confirmed. Because he is not an NFLPA-certified agent, Omni is prohibited from negotiating contracts or trades.
Second-year QB has to show that spark, that magic that means he gets the game, he gets its special geometry, its quirks, anomalies and dangers
Though Fields’ legs are “a weapon not any people have,” Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy said it’s more important to learn pocket awareness. “It’s the time clock that we’re training the heck out of. I think he’s doing a really good job with it.”
Many of the best quarterbacks in the NFL had the benefit of a great defense during their breakout season. Some had a top running game, too. Will Fields have either?