Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Home planning a happy new year!

Happy New Year from Fred to all his funky family!

The year 2016 ended on a fun note with the ATL Collective's annual James Brown Christmas Party. Legendary drummer Bernard Purdie was the other special guest of the evening, which featured great vocal and instrumental performances, and a special presentation to the late, great James Brown's youngest daughter, Yamma. Scroll down for photos.

Fred's first gig of 2017 will be Sunday, Jan. 22 with the Mark Sterbank Group at the 12th Annual Hymns & Spirituals Jazz Concert, presented by Charleston Southern University and happening this year at East Cooper Baptist Church, 361 Egypt Road, Mount Pleasant, SC 29464.

On Feb. 4, Miami will have its first-ever experience of Fred Wesley and the New JBs as part of the Day at the Beach Concert Series at the North Beach Band Shell. The evening also will include Roosevelt Collier and the Phunk Phactory. Click here for tickets.

In other news, check out two albums featuring Fred released in 2016: Pioneering Moroccan artist Ahmed Soultan's "Music Has No Boundaries" and Amsterdam-based saxophonist Susanne Alt's "Saxify."

Finally, our friends at Bambooka have t-shirts emblazoned with a pic of Fred rocking a pair of the specialty sunglasses. Click here to buy one. Proceeds from the T-shirts, like the glasses, support the organization's unique mission.

Yamma and Fred
Bernard Purdie, ATL Collective's Kevin Scott and Fred

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Back from overseas, heading to the ATL

After swinging through Europe and the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, Fred is heading to Atlanta on Friday for a second annual appearance with the ATL Collective for their James Brown Funky Christmas Show at Terminal West. Click here for tickets.

He returned to the States on Monday after a relatively quick tour that began at the Half Note Jazz Club in Athens, Greece, moved through the Bayerischer Hof Jazz Club in Munich, the New Morning in Paris and finished at the Ilojazz Festival in Guadeloupe. Enjoy these photos, including the final stage portrait from Greece by Sotiris Kontos (thanks, Sotiris!).

Onstage in the Place de la Victoire in Point-A-Pitre, Guadeloupe
Backstage after the show with one of the chief organizers, Jocelyn.

Backstage with former Miss Guadeloupe, Nancy, and special guest Pee Wee Ellis
The view from the Le Creole Hotel and Spa.
Backstage in Paris with special guest Omar.
Backstage with Agathe Iracema.
Taking a bow in Athens.
Athens performance shot by Sotiris.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Europe-bound after a bittersweet gig in Newark

The celebration of James Brown orchestrated by Christian McBride at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center turned into a celebration for the late great Sharon Jones. Jones, who was originally supposed to be a part of the show, passed away in Augusta while it was happening. She was ably replaced by the great Nona Hendryx.

This week Fred flies to Athens to begin a brief European tour with his organ trio Generations, then will head to the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe for a public performance at the Ilojazz Festival. The trio will fly from Paris to join the New JBs and special guest Pee Wee Ellis in Guadeloupe as an enlarged configuration called the Fred Wesley International Soul Expansion Band.

The Europe dates are Dec. 2-5 at the Half Note in Athens, Dec. 6 at the Bayericher Hof in Munich, and Dec. 9 at the New Morning in Paris, where he'll help celebrate the storied club's 35th anniversary. Click here for tickets. On Dec. 8, Fred and the trio will hold a funk masterclass for Parisian musicians. Student slots can be reserved by calling Djamila at +33 (0) 660062355.

Enjoy these photos from Newark.

Nona Hendryx with Fred
Lee Fields, Mousey Thompson, Bettye LaVette and Fred
Pee Wee Ellis and Fred with longtime friend Greta Reed

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Jersey-bound after Cali and Carolina callings

Fred will have a bit of deja vu this Friday when he rejoins partner Pee Wee Ellis for Christian McBride's "Get on Up: A James Brown Celebration," at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. Click here for more information. Tickets are still available at njpac.org.

Last Friday found Fred in San Francisco with old buddy and funky drummer Clyde Stubblefield and the James Brown Dance Party at the San Francisco Funk Festival. Special thanks to Robbie Kowal of Hush Concerts, and thanks to all the musicians, family and friends who took part. Here is a photo.

October found Fred first in South Carolina to demonstrate a new line of trombones from Japan, then in North Carolina to celebrate the release of the second CD in the unique "Healing Blues" community project.

Fred chose Benedict College, where his trumpeter friend H. Wade Johnson is band director, as the venue when the Jinbao horn maker asked him to demonstrate some of their new trombones on video. Two representatives of the company flew to Columbia, SC, to videotape Fred on the campus, where he also interacted with the trombone section of the Marching Tigers Band of Distinction, and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the dean of the School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, Dr. Charles P. Austin Sr.

In Greensboro, NC, Fred joined with multiple artists led by Dave Fox at Greensboro College to raise money for the Interactive Resource Center. Enjoy these photos.

A live artist captured the Greensboro concert as it happened.
With Greensboro bluesman and "okayest bassist" Casey Hazelman before the show.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Heading to the SF Funk Fest, feeling grateful for Pittsburgh

Fred heads west his week for the San Francisco Funk Festival, after being honored and thoroughly jazzed to be with jazz greats and a great actor as part of the 46th University of Pittsburgh Jazz Seminar and Concert.

In San Francisco, Fred will return Friday night to The Mezzanine to reunite with old friend Clyde Stubblefield and new friend Elise Testone as guests with The James Brown Dance Party. Click here for tickets.

In Pittsburgh, Fred got to show his professorial side in an excellent seminar about "The Role of Jazz in Funk."

He especially enjoyed the interaction with participants including S. Epatha Merkerson ...

... and vocalist Cassandra Wilson ...

... saxophonist David McMurray and New JBs bassist and Pittsburgher Dwayne Dolphin ...

... and Jazz Studies Director and pianist Geri Allen, with whom he left his mouthpiece as an artifact for the program, and from whom he received a Lifetime Achievement Award.

On Thursday night, Fred got a chance to play with fellow Count Basie veteran Dr. Nelson Harrison at legendary drummer Roger Humphries' weekly jam session at James Street Gastropub and Speakeasy. Harrison brought his trombetta.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Heading to the Pitt Jazz Seminar!

The 46th edition of the venerable University of Pittsburgh Jazz Seminar and Concert will feature a jazzman better known for the funk: Fred! He is excited for the opportunity to play again with  pianist and jazz studies director Geri Allen, New JBs bassist Dwayne Dolphin, and all of this year's other patricipants.

He will present a seminar entitled "The Role of Jazz in Funk," and will be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Click here for tickets to the Saturday night concert.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Playing the healing blues in Greensboro

Fred heads to Greensboro, North Carolina, Sunday to reunite with family friends and for the Release Party for the second CD in the innovative Healing Blues Project. The concert starts at 7:30 pm at Greensboro College, with a meet & greet and book signing with Fred beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for students, cash or check only.  Copies of the CD, which features Fred, are $15. Proceeds from the concert and sale of the CD benefit the Interactive Resource Center, a day center in downtown Greensboro for people experiencing homelessness. Fred also will donate a portion of his book sales to the IRC.
Tickets can be reserved by emailing tickets@greensboro.edu or by calling 336-272-7102, ext. 5242. The show happens in the Gail Brower Huggins Performance Center in Odell Building of Greensboro College, 815 W. Market St.

Fred's last big party was with the James Brown Band last month at the Charleston Music Hall, where he jammed again with the JBs and new friends including new generation soul brother Chris Rob and American Idol Elise Testone. Enjoy this coverage with more of Ellison White's great photos at liveforlivemusic.com.