Friday, May 10, 2013

Home safe and healthy after seven weeks

Angels and friends worked together to protect, strengthen and delight Fred as he finished his marathon seven weeks on the road with a Cologne, Germany, recording session for the forthcoming Christmas album by his friend and mentor Pee Wee Ellis, followed by a fast-paced 14-city European tour with his band, the New JBs. Many, many thanks to all involved.

Starting on April 18 with a return visit to Le Jam in sunny Montpellier, France, the New JBs tour wound through Castres, Seignosse, Paris, Massy, Guyancourt, Dunkerque, Belfort and Saareguemines, France, before moving through Copenhagen, Stockholm and Gothenberg, Sweden, then finishing up with dates in Zurich, Switzerland and Schweinfurt, Germany. Phew!

Among the highest of many highlights were a sold-out Monday night at the New Morning on a lovely April day in Paris; a gig-plus-birthday-party for saxophonist Phillip Whack at the beautiful beachfront Salle des Bourdaines on France's south Atlantic coast; the chance to reunite with Juan Rozoff, his B-Fam and the Horn Dogz, who opened the show in the Parisian suburb of Guyancourt; and a second encounter with Pee Wee when he and Fred both were special guests with the Lorraine Jazz Big Band at a Rotary International event in Saarguemines.

Also warranting special mention were the packed houses that greeted the band in Scandinavia, marking Fred's and the band's first time there in some 20 years. Workshops with students in Montpellier and Castres also added to the fun.

Among the angels and friends who made it such an amazing tour were many photographers who shared the best of the photos below. Special thanks to Heinrich Buttler, Danielle Schoenfeld and Gilles Calao.


Le Jam, Montpellier, France

Masterclass at Le Jam.

Concert at Le Jam
Lo Bolegason, Castres, France

Castres Masterclass
Castres Masterclass jamming.

Fred with Masterclass participants

Downtown Castres, France

Salle des Bourdaines, Seignosse, France

Bruce and Gary on the beach.
Bruce on the beach.
Fred with opening artist Nina Attal and band members.
Birthday boy Phillip with venue hosts Robin and Laurence (Photo by Gilles Calao)
Fred with Robin and Laurence
The whole crew (Photo by Gilles Calao)
New Morning, Paris

TV crew interviews Fred for a documentary on "Soul Train"
Paul B Centre Culturel, Massy, France

La Batterie, Guyancourt, France

Fred with two young fans after the show.
Les 4 Ecluses, Dunkerque, France

Souvenir poster with band autographs.
La Poudriere, Belfort, France

The monumental Lion of Belfort by Frederic Bartholdi, sculptor of the Statue of Liberty.
L'Hotel de Ville, Saarguemines, France

Pee Wee and Fred onstage with the Big Band (Photo by Heinrich Buttler)

(Photo by Heinrich Buttler)
Onstage, too (Photo by Heinrich Buttler)

Fred blows (Photo by Heinrich Buttler)

Pee Wee and Fred laugh (Photo by Heinrich Buttler)

Fred with conductor Christian Meyer, and event organizer Alain Heid in background.

Fred with the band's impressive bass trombonist

Fred with saxophonist and arranger Franck Ansalone
Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, Denmark

Fred sings (Photo by Danielle Schoenfeld)
Phillip blows (Photo by Danielle Schoenfeld)
Bruce beats (Photo by Danielle Schoenfeld)
Singing the "Funk School Hymn" (Photo by Danielle Schoenfeld)
Fun onstage (Photo by Danielle Schoenfeld)
Gary, pensive, offstage (Photo by Danielle Schoenfeld)
Fred with saxophonist Bobby Ricketts, his wife and a transplanted San Francisco trombonist

Fasching, Stockholm, Sweden 

Sofia White interviewed the band and wrote this article and took these photos. Thanks, Sofia!

Nefertiti, Gothenberg, Sweden

Axel Olsson, an award-winning entertainer himself and part of the Ultimate Bboys crew, served as the band's host at the Nefertiti Jazzclub and led the team that went above and beyond to make it a great night.


Club Escherwyss, Zurich, Switzerland


Stattbahnhof, Schweinfurt, Germany

The last night of the tour featured another birthday celebration -- an early one marking the 50th of bassist Dwayne Dolphin, the youngest official member of the band, who's been part of it for more than half his life. Thanks to promoter Mark Klein for making the birthday party, and the great concert, happen.
Last soundcheck
One of Dwayne's two cakes
Fire, laughs, champagne and snapshots
Fred with Dwayne

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