Thursday, April 4, 2013

Australia to Africa, then on to France

Funky Fred is scorching the planet this spring with his touring schedule. After delighting crowds with his New JBs at Australia's Byron Bay Bluesfest over two nights, he was days later doing it again with Abraham Incorporated at the Jazzablanca Festival in Morocco. He then headed to Europe, where he will be through May 4.

Here is a brief review, with some photos. Enjoy.


After the stop in New Zealand, the Australia tour began with a return to Perth, where Fred first visited in 2009 for a residency with WAYJO -- the Western Australia Youth Jazz Orchestra. This time his band played the West Coast Blues and Roots Festival. Fred also made time, along with New JBs saxman Ernie Fields Jr., for a quick WAYJO workshop. Ernie, in addition to being a longtime friend of Fred's and an accomplished musician in his own right, also is a busy Los Angeles music contractor who contracts players for TV shows including "American Idol," "The Voice" and "The X Factor."

WAYJO students at the workshop

The next stop was Melbourne, where the show at The Corner Hotel featured guest appearances by new school trumpeter Maurice Brown, who was touring Australia with the Tedeschi Trucks Band, and old school trumpeter and legendary Motown architect Gil Askey, a longtime friend of Fred's and Ernie's who has lived in Melbourne since 1980. Melbourne soul stalwart Chris Gill of Northside Records was the DJ for the show.

Fred, Gil and Ernie
Chris Gill, Fred and Gil Askey
Fred and Gil
Gil onstage with the New JBs
Maurice onstage with the New JBs
Fred signing autographs after the Melbourne show

The show at Sydney's Upstairs Beresford was preceded by two off-days and live interviews with new friend and soulful singer Lily Dior of Eastside Radio and Stephen Ferris on his Funk Flashback on FBI Radio, with Josh Beagley. The interview with Ferris, who also served as DJ at the concert, is archived online here.

Fred and Lily
Stephen, Fred and Josh
Byron Bay

The two days at the Bluesfest were spent lodged at the beautiful Mantra on Salt Beach and included time mingling with friends, old and new, including Susan Tedeschi and Ysaye Maria Barnwell of Sweet Honey in the Rock, to name a few.

Onstage at Byron Bay Bluesfest

Fred, Ysaye and New JBs drummer Bruce Cox
Beautiful Salt Beach

Salt Beach, too


The spring "Europe" tour of Abraham Inc began with a stop on the edge of Africa, where Fred's first time in Morocco included a quick visit and welcome by his friend Ahmed Soultan, the hot young Moroccan artist who will feature Fred along with other artists including George Clinton and Pee Wee Ellis on his forthcoming CD. Ahmed -- featured in Rolling Stone and named one of Forbes Magazine's 13 African celebrities to watch in 2013played Jazzablanca the next night.

Fred, Socalled and David Krakauer in a TV interview on the balcony of the Sofitel Tour Blanch's Penthouse Suite
A balcony view of Casablanca and its port, which turned 100 on April 2, the day Abe Inc was there
Fred with daughter/manager Joya on the balcony

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