Rockford jazz artist to perform in celebration of life of Freeport man

FREEPORT — After Freeport resident Dean Bartels passed away unexpectedly in November, his wife, Ellie, and family wanted to honor him in a special way that would speak to Dean’s passion for music.

That’s when she had the idea to have one of her husband’s favorite artists, local jazz artist Harlan Jefferson, hold a concert in his honor.

A vocalist, composer, arranger and actor who plays an array of instruments, Jefferson is best known for his soulful, wailing saxophone. Having recorded three albums, the Rockford artist has played jazz, gospel, R&B, Motown and pop at clubs, festivals, concerts and events in several states.

“Music is the universal language that touches hearts and souls,” Jefferson said. “I want to touch Dean’s family and the crowd with my horn, a gift that God gave me.”

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