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. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Reconnected with Abraham Inc. after three years

It was a beautiful weekend in Toronto where Fred and other members of Abraham Inc. reconnected for the first time in three years for an Ashkenaz Festival performance at the impressive Harborfront Centre. Many thanks to festival director Eric Stein and all the team members for making it a funky good time for all involved. Enjoy these photos and look for more from Abe Inc in 2017.

Up next for Fred, his guest appearance next Wednesday in Charleston with the James Brown Band. Click here for tickets.

Soundchecking with (l-r) guitaritst Sheryl Bailey (not visible) bassist/vocalist Jerome Harris (barely visible), drummer Michael Sarin, David Krakauer, Fred, saxophonist Brandon Wright, trumpeter Igmar Thomas and Josh (Socalled) Dolgin.
With the soundcheck audience
Toronto near sunset from Toronto Island
A farewell selfie with guitarist Sheryl Bailey

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Home safe after a summer marathon!

Fred took off just after his 73rd birthday on a marathon of a tour period that finally finished Sunday when he flew home from some rescheduled fun with Mister PC at the Jazz in Fort Ecluse series. Many thanks for the warm welcome to Mister PC and family, Adriano Bassanini, and the beautiful staff and fans of the Fort located on the French side of the border with Switzerland.

The week before found Fred touring the scenic Pacific Northwest with the youngsters of the band Object Heavy and special guests including Rashaan Ahmad, former Jill Scott trumpeter Farnell Newton and saxophonist Christopher Boa. Many thanks to the whole crew, including our friends at Humboldt Green, the Hummingbird Healing Center and Northcoast Horticulture Supply.

Enjoy the photos below.

Up next, fans in Toronto, Canada, can catch Fred for free with Abraham Inc at the Ashkenaz Festival on Sept. 3. Then on Sept. 14, he'll be a special guest with the James Brown Band at the Charleston (SC) Music Hall. Watch for possible added dates in October, then see him Oct. 30 in Greensboro, NC, with the Healing Blues Project.
Behind Seattle's Nectar Lounge (photo by Jamie VanBuhler)
Mount Shasta on the road to Eugene, Oregon
Further on down the road...
Across the bridge view of the For the Funk of It Festival site in Belden, CA
View from the 100-year-old bridge into Belden.
Another bridge on the way.
Crossing the bridge into San Francisco.
After a quick Marin County session for drummer Tanasa Daniel, with bassist Angeline Saris.
Backstage in Seattle with Skerik.
Fred near a Fort Ecluse window overlooking the Rhone river
Sunset view from another fort window
Onstage at Fort Ecluse with Mister PC.