Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Lola! and more at the Long Beach Funk Fest

Fred and the New JBs headlined the third installment of the Long Beach Funk Fest -- a free, environmental-friendly event that's gained the love and respect of California funk fans by fulfilling its stated purpose: Sustaining our Future Through Funk. Also featured were other artists including former Slave lead singer, Steve Arrington.

Among the highlights of the beautiful Saturday, Aug. 20, was getting to see Lola Love, Fred's longtime family friend and former colleague from when both were part of the James Brown Revue in the early 1970s -- Fred as music director and Lola as a dancer and singer. She now is a Southern California-based certified life coach, and always a joy to see.

Fred and Lola!

 Fest founder Bobby Easton and his team, including volunteers Zelda, Desiree, Jen, and coordinator/host extraordinaire MsT, made it fun for Fred and the whole band, and MsT added to the day a delicious breakfast at the local Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles. The band was greeted at Roscoe's with a funky performance by the Sea Funk Brass Band. Fred also got to gather with fans and to visit with the host of the Fest, funk scholar extraordinaire Rickey Vincent, author of "Funk: The Music, The People and The Rhythm of the One," and author of the foreword to Fred's book, "Hit Me Fred: Recollections of a Side Man."

Fred with fans outside Roscoe's.

Bobby Easton, Joya, (Jen) and MsT

Bobby and Fred

The Sea Funk Brass Band

New JBs L.A.-based saxman Ernie Fields Jr. and Fred, checking in at the Queen Mary Hotel.

MsT and Fred

Fred and Rickey Vincent

Friday, August 19, 2011

Down memory lane in Mobile

Fred reunited with old friends and family -- and fellow musicians old and new when he appeared Sunday, Aug. 14, as a special guest in the Ballroom of the Holiday Inn Downtown Mobile. The event was organized by Fred's "brother" Karl Hill of, and featured a band led by saxophonist Roland Cobb.

Among those in attendance were saxophonist Theodore Arthur, a friend and musical cohort of Fred's from way back in the day, and a former member of Fred's New JBs; Jabo Starks, Mobile native and famed drummer from the the original JBs; and Gertie Wesley, Fred's first wife and mother of his three lovely daughters.

Here are photos from the event. Enjoy.
Fred and Karl Hill

Fred with Roland Cobb

Fred and Theodore Arthur

Fred and John "Jabo" Starks
Dora Dixie and Gertie Wesley

Friday, August 12, 2011

Fred's heading home to Mobile, Alabama

Fred's longtime friends, fans and even family in his hometown of Mobile (pronounced mo-beel') are getting ready for Sunday, when he'll bring his special brand of funk and jazz to the series at the Holiday Inn Downtown Mobile. The series is organized by Karl Hill, Fred's dear "brother by another mother."

Click here to read the preview article written by Lawrence F. Speckler for the Mobile Press-Register.

Stay tuned for more info about other upcoming excitement for Fred and for the New JBs, including the Long Beach Funk Fest on Aug. 20, La Villette in early September, and the long awaited reunion show, "Pee Wee, Fred & Maceo: A Funky Good Time," on Oct. 6, at Town Hall in New York City.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Fred in the ATL with Russell Gunn

Fred made an appearance Friday at Art Beats + Lyrics, playing with trumpeter Russell Gunn and his band. The event brings together visual artists with poets, rappers and musicians in a multi-faceted showcase for unrecognized urban artists. Here are shots of the scene from Fred's camera.

Russell and Fred onstage

Fred started the day at WCLK, 91.9-FM, as the guest of Jamal Ahmad, host of the show, The Soul of Jazz. Fred was impressed by Ahmad's interviewing skills, saying it was the best interview he'd had in a long time. "You were prepared and you asked good questions," he said. Another highlight was the montage of Fred's music put together by station production manager Marquis Lofton.
Jamal and Fred
Jamal, Fred and Marquis