Saturday, December 23, 2017

Straight ahead in Savannah

Fred’s finishing out 2017 with his first love, straight-ahead jazz. He plays downtown Savannah’s beautiful new Good Times Jazz Bar and Restaurant with his “Bone Brother” Teddy Adams tonight. Here’s the quintet at the afternoon’s soundcheck and rehearsal.

Friday night found hin in Atlanta at the ATL Collective’s fifth annual James Brown Christmas Party, where he was among talented musicians and special guests including drum legend Bernard “Pretty” Purdie and trumpeter/singer Jennifer Hartwich. Many thanks to all who made it a great night, and all who helped make 2017 such a great year. 

Monday, December 11, 2017

In London at Ronnie Scott’s!

Fred and his New JBs are geared up and ready for eight sold-out shows at the venerable London jazz club Ronnie Scott’s. Here he is backstage with (l-r) Reggie Ward, guitar; Peter Madsen, keys; Dwayne Dolphin, bass; Bruce Cox, drums; and Phillp Whack, sax. Not pictured is Gary Winters, trumpet, whose flight was canceled by snow and who will rejoin the group Tuesday.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Supporting the ACLU in NYC!

Fred -- as part of the supergroup Abraham Incorporated --  is among the musicians donating their time for a huge benefit concert at Symphony Space in New York City on Sunday, September 24. It will be a reunion for Abe Inc. for the first time since the band played Toronto a year ago. The evening also will feature performances by members of the Silk Road EnsembleMarc Ribot and "Where Worlds Collide" (featuring South African pianists Kathleen Tagg and Andre Petersen).

Fred, Josh "Socalled" Dolgin and David Krakauer in 2012.
The cause is more important than it's ever been, and Fred asks his friends and fans to show up and show their support. Click here for tickets. A $10 discount is available through Sunday, Sept. 17, using the promo code EARLY.

For fans on the nation's other coast, don't forget the shows Sept. 19 and 20 with Pee Wee Ellis at Seatttle's Jazz Alley. Click here for tickets.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

In Paris for a tres bon 44 hours

Many thanks to the Jazz A La Villette Festival for the sold-out show at the Cabaret Sauvage that afforded Fred the opportunity to make a quick trip to Paris. He reunited for the fest with his Generations Trio -- Leonardo Corradi on organ and Tony Match on drums, along with Omar Lye-Fook as a special guest on vocals and keys. He also got a chance to meet old friends including Cheick Tidiane Seck and new friends including the talented support band Nubian Twist.

Fred also visited and taped a video interview for his friend Ahmed Soultan, who's innovating the new genre "Afrobian music," connecting his Northern African musical traditions with the heart of Africa, as demonstrated on the track Afrobian, which has guests including Fred, George Clinton, Pee Wee Ellis and Femi Kuti. The album, "Music Has No Boundaries," won Best African Album of the Year honors, and now is becoming a documentary.

Coming up next, Fred will join Pee Wee Ellis at Seattle's Jazz Alley, then head to NYC for dates at the Iridium with Oz Noy and the big ACLU fundraiser with Abraham Incorporated. See you there!

Fred with Cheick Tidiane Seck and Omar before the show.

Fred outside the Cabaret Sauvage with members of Cirque Mandingue.
With Ahmed Soultan talking Afrobian music.

Ending the show with Leonardo Corradi on organ and Tony Match on drums.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Home safe after his acting debut

Fred is happily home safe after an intense summer of doing what he pledged in his "Funk School" hymn, then launching a whole new career as an actor.
Fred with the cast, band and crew after the final
performance. Photo courtesy of Jansen Folkers.
On the Fourth of July the much-loved legend turned 74, an age many of his musical compadres and friends never reached. He gratefully says now he's living on "bonus time," and he's making the most of it.

After six weeks of "spreading funk o're all lands," he reunited with his Abraham Incorporated pal Josh "Socalled" Dolgin to play the shadowy Mr. Embouchure in the musical play with puppets,  "The Second Season," which Socalled created with actor/writer Joe Cobden and successfully premiered at the Kampnagel International Sommerfestival in Hamburg, Germany. It was a rare and beautiful first-time experience for Fred, who came away with promise of doing it again and a gang of new friends, including amazing puppeteers, singers, musicians, actors, dancers, technicians, festival organizers and more. 

Joe Cobden rehearsing with "Mr. Embouchure" in his "office."
With dancer Jessica Nupen.
With rapper and fellow new actor C-Rayz Walz.
Being photographed with Josh by festival photographer Daniel.
A script and other souvenirs.
The six weeks before the theater festival featured a bunch of great festivals including the 51st Montreaux Jazz Fest, the 46th International African Arts Fest in Brooklyn, and the 30th Porretta Soul Fest in Italy. He toured with his Generations Trio, as a featured guest with The Original JBs, and -- first and favorite -- with his band, The New JBs.
Fred with International African Arts Festival founder Segun Shabaka.
After a bit of rest he'll be back at it, hitting Sept. 1 with Generations at the Jazz A La Villette Fest in Paris; Sept. 19 and 20 with Pee Wee Ellis at Jazz Alley in Seattle; Sept. 22 and 23 with Oz Noy at the Iridium in New York City; and Sept. 24 with Abraham Inc. in a special benefit performance at Symphony Space for the American Civil Liberties Union. Click the links for tickets and more information.

Enjoy these additional photos from the summer.

Masterclass in Nantes

Backyard jamming in Nantes with Brazillian artist and new friend Edson.
Masterclass in Paris with Original JBs members Tyrone Jefferson on trombone, Fred Thomas on bass and vocals, and vocalist Martha High.
Soundchecking outdoors in Serignan, France.
"Breaking Bread" with Fred Thomas and Chris Rob in Spain.
Onstage performing with the Original JBs featuring Chris Rob in Spain.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Liechtenstein, France, Germany, Brooklyn

Many thanks to Little and his team at Little Big Beat Studios in Liechtenstein for the beautiful experience that was the latest installment in the Studio Live Sessions series. Click here to experience a little of it yourself.
Fred and Little

Fred and band and Little and team
The New JBs rhythm section (bassist Dwayne Dolphin, guitarist Reggie Ward, drummer Bruce Cox and pianist Peter Madsen) lounging on the deck while the horn section (Fred, trumpeter Gary Winters and sax man Phillip Whack) sweated it out in the studio.

The tour started with airline delays and lost luggage that couldn't deter an excellent show in Potsdam, and an epic traffic jam that delayed and abbreviated -- yet intensified -- the performance at the Jazz and Joy Festival in Worms.

Fred after soundcheck with a Potsdam organizer's funky five-year-old son.

 The band onstage in Worms, just before the curfew and before the phone battery died.

The time in Germany also included a quick recording session with Jan Stolterfoht for the German band Chill Factor.

Coming up

The tour continues now through France, London and Montreaux, then culminates at 7:30pm on the Fourth of July at the International African Arts Festival in Brooklyn. Suggested donation: $5 for adults, $2 for children. Don't miss it!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Gearing up for Europe, London, Montreaux and Brooklyn!

Fred heads to Germany this week to begin his next tour with his band The New JBs at the Sansoucci Jazznacht in Potsdam. The tour continues through
He'll follow that up with an immediate return to Europe for dates with The (original) JBs, featuring members from Fred's time with James Brown in the 1960s and 70s up until the Godfather's passing in 2006. Among them are singer (and author) Martha High, bassist Fred Thomas, trombonist and bandleader Tyrone Jefferson and "capeman" Danny Ray. Also along for the funky good time will be next generation vocalist and pianist Chris Rob.

Before he makes it home he'll do funk workshops in Nantes and Paris, France, a few Spanish dates with his Generations Trio, then guest at the Highline Ballroom in New York City with the James Brown Dance Party. (Click here for tickets.)

Enjoy these photos from Fred's last tour, which ended in May with a funk workshop in Paris and began with three US dates including hits at the March for Science on the National Mall in Washington, DC, and in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with the Ernie Fields All Stars.

Fred with the workshop participants.
Participants with the workshop organizer Djamila Alioua.
Fred visiting with his manager and the Little Big Beat crew in Konstanz, Germany.
With Willi Amrod, leader of the Amrod Brothers Band, recording in Konstanz.
Horns recording with New JBs trumpeter Gary Winters and the legendary Pee Wee Ellis.
With Martin Bohme, who repaired Fred's trombone outside Freiburg, Germany.
Four photos by Heinrich Buttler.
1. The Amrod Brothers Band horn section in Constance, Germany
 2. Pee Wee and Willi onstage
3.The awesome Amrod Brothers band in Freiburg.
4. rad guesting with the group in Constance.
A photo by Kristjan Czako from Berlin.
Two photos by Gerhard Csejka from Dresden, Germany.
1. The "Funk School Hymn"
2. Fred backstage admiring the opening band's orange shoes.
Celebrating New JBs bassist Dwayne Dolphin's birthday in Bologna, Italy.
Four photos by Daniele Franchi from Bologna.
1.Pianist Peter Madsen at soundcheck.

 2.Drummer Bruce Cox.
3. Guitarist Reggie Ward.
 4.Fred onstage with saxophonist Phillip Whack.
With the artist known as Vinx after a recording session with him near Limoux, France.
Fred sharing a silver shoe moment backstage with a volunteer at the Limoux Brass Festival. Also enjoy this video of a backstage interview at the festival.
Fred onstage with the Ernie Fields All-Stars at the Black Town Blues North Tulsa Jazz show.
After the Tulsa show with the evening's bassist Ricky Minor.