Thursday, February 19, 2015

Revisiting the first Charleston International Jazz Festival

Many thanks to bass player (and photographer) extraordinare Herman Burney for these images from the inaugural Charleston International Jazz Festival. Thanks, too, and congratulations to the Jazz Artists of Charleston team led by Leah Suarez.

Mark Sterbank, Fred, Charlton Singleton and Teddy Adams rehearsing/soundchecking.
The band, minus Herman Burney (behind the camera).
Herman with staff members Erin and Alecia.
Fred and Leah.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Revisiting Soul Power week in Congo

Many thanks to Sylvie Bayonne, directrice of Matombi Productions, for her excellent work putting together Soul Power Week last November, and now for sharing this video documentation of the experience. Enjoy!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Jazz in the "Holy City"

Fred's first concerts of the year are close to home in Charleston, South Carolina. Tickets are on sale now for the 10th anniversary Hymns & Spirituals jazz concert by the Mark Sterbank Group featuring Fred, and for the inaugural Charleston International Jazz Festival.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Johannesburg, South Africa

The Cape Town Jazz Orchestra invited Fred and his funk quartet to Johannesburg for a show and workshop that piggy-backed on Soul Power Week in the Congo (Brazzaville). It was another lovely experience that gave Fred a chance to visit with his old friend, South African superstar Hugh Masakela, who was a gracious host and took him out for a community event and lunch (at Sakhumzi Restaurant) in Soweto.

Enjoy these family photos, then scroll down for photos from the concert by Amy Ronnie.

Hugh with fans in Soweto.
Lunch at Sakhumzi
More workshopping.
Workshop participants.
Dwayne, Bruce, Joel and Fred.

Greeting fans after the show.

Soul Power Week in the Congo

Forty years after the famed "Rumble in the Jungle" and its accompanying soul music festival in Kinshasa, Matombi Productions brought Fred back to the Congo for "Soul Power Week."

In 1974, Fred traveled to what was then Zaire as the bandleader for James Brown and the JBs. This time, courtesy of ECAir and the ECAir Foundation, one of the sponsors, he traveled to Pointe-Noire, Congo (Brazzaville), with his funk quartet. The week's series of events included concerts, workshops, a jam session at the Iguana Cafe, poetry by Gilles Douta, visual art by Jussie Nsana and film screenings and discussions.

Among the films screened were "Soul Power" and "Fela Kuti: Music is the Weapon." Among participants was Fela biographer and scholar Carlos Moore, who interviewed Fred and led a group visit to Matombi, the point of departure for an estimated 200 million people sold in the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

Many thanks for a meaningful and enjoyable trip to Matombi Productions and its extended family.
Jamming with local players at Iguana Cafe.
Fred onstage in Pointe-Noire (photo by Rene Vernice).
"Slammeur" Gilles Douta speaking during the opening news conference, with translator Christina whispering in Fred's ear.
Drummer Bruce Cox dancing with a member of the Teke Cultural Association.
Fred visiting with local children during the Teke performance.
Workshop with local musicians.
Fred being interviewed by Carlos Moore.
The view from Matombi, the neglected point of departure.
Fred and Carlos at Matombi.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Where's Fred? Welcomed to Italy

Fred gathered his New JBs for a tour of Europe that began Wednesday in Bressanone-Brixen. Before that they played Herb Kent's anniversary party in Chicago.

Fred began his latest run of activity appearing with George Clinton and company at Berklee College of Music's annual fundraising gala, followed by a quick trip to Japan with the Icons of Funk featuring Leo Nocentelli, Bernie Worrell, Stanton Moore and Bill Dickens. Enjoy these photos.

Anreiter Keller in Bressanone-Brixen (photo by Gary Winters)
Onstage in Chicago.
Onstage in Osaka.
Onstage with the P-Funk Mob.
Backstage with George Clinton.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Mr. Dynamite and the blues

Fred made a dash to NYC this week for an intimate premiere of the HBO documentary "Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown." Check local listings to hear him talk about it this Sunday on NPR's "Weekend Edition," and Monday on NPR's "Here and Now." And enjoy the photos below.

Keep scrolling for shots from the recording session last week for Sid Whelan's forthcoming blues album. Whelan hired Fred to write horn arrangements and conduct the horn sessions, giving a warm up for the blues album he will record in January. With New JBs second saxophonist Phillip Whack on sax and Eleazar Shafer on trumpet, Fred put horns on eight tunes over two days at Chris Garge's Old House Studio in Charlotte, NC, with engineer Mark Williams at the board. Thanks, Sid and Phillip and El and Chris and Mixer Mark!
Funky Fred on the red carpet at the premiere.
With the Rev. Al Sharpton.
With jazz singer Melissa Walker.
With bassist Christian McBride, film director Alex Gibney,
former JB singer Martha  High and dancer Ann Norman.
With Michael Veal and Alex Gibney at NPR.
With Christian McBride after taping
a laughter-filled interview for Weekend Edition at NPR.
With Sid Whelan at the Old House Studio in Charlotte
Blowing with Phillip Whack and Eleazar Shafer