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.