Thursday, April 28, 2011

Love Letter to Fred: From Maryland, April 22, 2011

Thanks to fellow trombonist Robert Hayes Sr. for this Facebook message:

"Subject: Well Wishes...from a Trombone Fraternity
Good Evening Mr. Wesley: I have played trombone for the past 40 yrs. Never have I played and heard so many young musicians pay tribute to a trombone player as the gret Fred Wesley. I performed back in 79 in Cheraw, SC., home of the immortal Dizzy Gillespie (in attendance) with Fayetteville State Univ.'s jazz band. Comments from the local school (as in I) play pretty good, but nobody is better than the Great Fred Wesley !!! Just a THANK YOU TO YOU FOR BEING A GREAT TROMBONE PLAYER AND BLAZING A TRAIL FOR SOMEONE LIKE ME !!!!!!!....bob hayes."

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Love letter to Fred: From Argentina, April 17, 2011

Thanks to Marco Venneri, shown here with Fred and his friend Mariano, for the kind words that follow.


My name is Marco and I was one of the lucky winners of the "Meet & Greet Fred Wesley" contest in Buenos Aires. I just wanted to thank Fred and The New JB's for coming to our beautiful country to share your amazing funky music. I've never thought Fred was going to come to Argentina. If you allow me, I'm going to share a few words with you about the show and the experience.

I would first like to tell you what I felt during the show. I felt like I couldn't believe I was listening to Fred and the band playing live. It was such an amazing show! Both of them (I came to both of them). I liked the second one better because I felt that people were more enthusiastic and warmer. I even saw Fred look at Bruce and smile at some point during the second show. From that moment, Bruce was smiling the whole show as if he couldn't believe how people was enjoying, screaming and dancing. The band was awesome in both of the shows. Today is sunday and I can still listen to the groove in my head! I woke up on Friday and I was dancing while listening to the music inside me. Let me say that the last show was a Wednesday, and it's kind of weird for me to be thinking and listening to the music to this day. Only Fred Wesley and the New JB's could do something like that. Thank you again for that!

Now I would like to share with you what I've felt when meeting Fred. I can't believe I met a legend in person! One of the best trombone players in the world. I even talked to him! I shook his hand! I don't know if Fred remembers because this was before the first show, and he had met a lot of people in these few days, but I'm the guy that came with a friend of mine who plays the trombone. I told Fred that Mariano had also been my first saxophone teacher. He is the one who introduced me to Maceo Parker's music while I was learning music with him, and I introduced him to Fred's music (and now Mariano is learning how to play the trombone). I had the chance to take him with me to come meet you, Fred. I want to thank you for being so kind with us. You were really cool. From the few minutes I've spent with you talking, I was able to tell how humble you are. I later confirmed this when the show was over and you were signing autographs and albums for the whole crowd that was in La Trastienda. You even told Mariano to come back on Wednesday with his horn. That's what I call a musician! An artist! A great person! 
Mariano couldn't come. I came on Wednesday and I wanted to bring my sax to show it to you. But I had a complicated day and I couldn't do it (besides I didn't know if they were going to let me in to me meet you again). But at least I was able to make into the show (the best show of my life yet).

I'm sending you the pictures I took when I met you (Mariano is on the left and I'm on the right). What can I say? It was the best moment of my life. It's amazing how a few minutes with someone you've admire for ever can make your life have a spark that wasn't there before (Hope it never goes away). Thank you Fred!!!!!!!!!"

Friday, April 15, 2011

40 Trombones and Fred in Buenos Aires

Meet Mariela Scarfo, a young trombonist/artist/funk lover who had an idea for a workshop during Fred's stay in Argentina. She got moving and making calls and quickly turned it into this:

Flyer for Fred's masterclass outside Domus Artis
It then flowered into this excellent gathering of trombonists to a beautiful, cozy, acoustically-perfect space at Domus Artis.

Great work. Muchas gracias to Mariela, Juan, and all those who participated and helped make it happen.

Finally, more thanks to all the people who made the band's two-night stand at La Trastienda such a great success, especially to our new friend Max, whose band 12/12 Funk opened the show. Fred called 12/12 Funk -- a group of beautiful people keeping the funk alive for new generations -- "a good funky band" that "has that P-Funk thang down real good." To the whole crew, muchas gracias!

Fred and Max at La Trastienda

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Love Letter to Fred: Argentina, April 12, 2011

Izabela Szostak-Smith was in the crowd with her fiance James on Tuesday, the first of two sold-out nights for Fred and the New JBs at La Trastienda Club in Buenos Aires. Along with the following e-mail, she sent photos from the night, which you can view by clicking here. Muchos gracias Izabela and James!

Dear Mr Wesley,

It was a great pleasure to tune into your band's performance last night. My fiance James and I have been travelling in South America for 7 months now and we both agree that the last night's concert has been one of the most invigorating experiences we've encountered. The Argentinian wine and your phenomenal music are still buzzing fresh in our blood today but we will carry the memories of last night for a long time. Thank you so much. 

I hope we will have an opportunity to listen to your music again in the near future. Are you planning to extend the tour to Europe - in particular England and Poland (my fiance's and my home countries, respectively)?

As promised, I am sending a few photos I took at your concert last night. That is the least I can do to thank you and your band. I hope you will enjoy them. ...

God bless you.

Best regards,

Izabela Szostak - Smith

(Note: No immediate plans to play the UK, but Fred will play Poland with Abraham Inc at the end of June.)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Thank you, Buenos Aires!

An enthusiastic sold-out crowd at the beautiful La Trastienda club greeted Fred and the cats last night, and they responded by playing a truly inspired show. 

Fred and Barney

Fred's days in Argentina have been packed with great performances, interviews and a warm welcome all across the board. Click to read this interview posted by Santiago Rial Ungaro for Rolling Stone South America. Watch this space and the media archives for more coverage, which was masterfully coordinated by Ernesto Chalita and Vicky Zapata of Pop Art Music.

Highlights have included:
  •  a beautiful Argentina-style barbecue at the home of lawyer and amateur accordianist Antonio Di Bennedetto and his family, especially his lovely wife Gabriela and journalism-student daughter Deborah, in Venado Tuerto, in the Santa Fe province. Muchos gracias to the Di Bennedettos, as well as to promoter Paul Citraro who put on the Tuerto show at the Teatro Ideal.

Fred and Antonio
Standing: Reggie, Barney, Gary, Fred, Antonio, Ernie, Paul and Dwayne; kneeling: Bruce,  Mariano, Joya

Dwayne, Fred, Gary, Gillespi, Ernie, Barney, Bruce and Reggie.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

On the road again -- this time in South America

Fred's doing his favorite thing: traveling and playing with his band, the New JBs. Here they are with promoter Mariano "MC" Cardozo of Baires Blues in the airport in Neuquen, Argentina, where they played Friday night.

Mariano Cardozo, Reggie Ward (guitar), Barney McAll (keys), Gary Winters (trumpet), Fred, Dwayne Dolphin (bass), Bruce Cox (drums) and Ernie Fields Jr. (sax, flute)
Mario, Stephanie, Fred
"I'm very proud of my band," Fred told radio host Mario De Cristofaro of Radio Nacional Argentina during an interview Saturday translated by Stephanie Rubio.

Stephanie and Fred
Today they're off to Tuerto City in the Santa Fe region of Argentina, parts of which are plastered with posters announcing the band's first-time arrival.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Abraham Inc. in Europe: More photos

Fourteen days, 10 shows, and thousands of kilometers -- the recent tour with Abraham Inc. was a long haul and a great success. Below are photos from the last date, in Rumilly, France, by photographer Yannick Perrin. Click here to view his entire album. Thanks, Yannick.

Fred and the New JBs are in Argentina now at the beginning of an exciting tour, the details of which can be found here. Stay tuned for photos and more.

with Brandon Wright (sax), Freddie Hendrix (trumpet), and Socalled

Rapper Raydar Ellis, Socalled, Fred, Brandon Wright and Freddie Hendrix