Thursday, April 21, 2016

Back from an amazin' Arabian funk experience!

With the help of Bill Bragin et al, Pee Wee Ellis and other visionaries, with some of his fellow world's funkiest musicians, Fred spread his magic through Arabia earlier this month as part of the development and premiere of FUNK: Evolution of the Revolution. The show was an electrifying funk immersion experience and celebration that succeeded in demonstrating the music's boundary-busting power.

In addition to providing the space and resources to develop the show that now will begin touring the world, Fred's two-week residency at NYU Abu Dhabi included workshops, panel discussions and delicious other opportunities for cultural exchange. Many thanks and much respect to all who were involved, including:

Pee Wee Ellis, co-music director
Brian Hardgroove, bassist and artistic director
Fred Ross, main vocalist
Carleen Anderson, guest vocalist
Chad Bernstein, trombonist and arranger
Gary Winters, trumpeter and arranger
Ernie Fields Jr., saxophonist and arranger
John Mader, drummer
Tony Remy, guitarist
Dan Moore, keyboardist
Add-2, rapper
Nicodemus, DJ
Hamdan Al-Abri, guest vocalist
Zain Awad (and family!), guest vocalist
Dr. Amir Al-Islam (and family!), host

Enjoy these photos.

Carleen Anderson onstage. (Photo by Waleed Shah)
Fred with sound(wo)man Estelle Galloway
Fred with Dr. Amir Al-Islam.
Pee Wee and Fred with guest vocalist Hamdan Al-Abri.
Pee Wee and Fred with New JBs trumpeter Gary Winters
Pee Wee and Fred with intern Sale
Fred with drummer John Mader.
Fred and bassist/artistic director Brian Hardgroove.
Fred with NYU producer Alana Barraj and New JBs saxophonist Ernie Fields Jr.
Fred with guest local drummers Ibrahim and Hamdan.
Fred speaks at the Dr. Al-Islam-hosted pre-screening discussion for "The Night James Brown Saved Boston."
Fred with Chad Bernstein.
Add-2 onstage during the show/ (Photo by Chad Bernstein)
Gary Winters' Funk 101 master classs.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Ready to get down in Abu Dhabi!

The two-week residency at NYU Abu Dhabi to create the show FUNK: Evolution of the Revolution is coming to a close: the world premiere is tonight.
The show is free and open to the public in the campus' outdoor plaza. Funkateers anywhere in the area will be sad if they miss it.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

On the brink of The Blues

Booked to play the Chicago Blues Festival with his band on June 11, Fred is renewing efforts to fund his Tribute to The Blues album. Many thanks to the supporters who contributed to the Indiegogo campaign, which raised $1159.20, which along with the $1000 previous gift, leaves $37,840.80 to be raised toward the $40,000 budget.

The album, which Fred has had on his heart for several years, will pay tribute to classic Blues artists including Bobby Blue Bland, Champion Jack Dupree and Earl King. Here are some of his thoughts about it.

Donations can be made securely online through Paypal, using donors' credit or debit cards, or paypal accounts. Click the Donate button on the right to make your donation now. 

If you prefer, you can contribute by mailing a donation to the address below:

Fred Wesley's Tribute to the Blues 
c/o Ronald Wesley 
P.O. Box 13526 
Phoenix, Arizona 85002

Thank you!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Returning to Spain with Generations

April 26-May 7 will find Fred touring Spain again with Leonardo Corradi and Tony Match of the Generations Trio. For a taste of what that might look like, check out these photos from the trio's stop at the Empty Space Theatre in Molfetta, Italy, during its January tour. Thank you to photographer Giovanna Sodano for these great shots.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

In Abu Dhabi with Pee Wee

Fred is playing the professor with Pee Wee Ellis at NYU Abu Dhabi. The two are leading the development of the project Funk: Evolution of a Revolution, along with Public Enemy's Brian Hardgroove. The residency will culminate in a public world premiere performance and multi-media event on April 16.
The view from the center of the NYUAD campus.
Pee Wee and Fred laughing before lunch.
Just before traveling to Abu Dhabi, Fred and Pee Wee did a stand with the Bruce/Ilett Big Band at Ronnie Scott's jazz club in London. While there they made an appearance on the BBC TV program This Week, where they played pundits and discussed President Obama and race relations in the United States. Click here to view a clip of that program, and enjoy three photos by the Soul Preacher from the evening.
On the set.
Fred opines on the air while Pee Wee listens approvingly.
Member of Parliament Chuka Umunna snaps a selfie for his dad.
Here are more photos from this stay in London, which included a recording session at Dean Street Studios and a visit to EyeLondon Opticians where he got fitted for a new pair of Bambooka sunglasses.

Fred and Pee Wee near Trafalgar Square.
Fred with the recording horn section.
Fred with EyeLondon's Margaret and Bambooka's Baz.