New Friends (1990)

Fred Wesley

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Track Listing:

Rockin' In Rhythm {Carney, Mills, Ellington}  5:27
Honey Love {McPhatter, Wexler}  2:27
Bright Mississippi {Thelonious Monk}  5:53
Love We Had Stays On My Mind {Collier, Wade}  6:28
For The Elders {Fred Wesley}  9:54
Plenty, Plenty Soul {Quincy Jones}  6:20
Blue Monk {T Monk}  7:52
Peace Fugue {F Wesley}  6:01
Eyes So Beautiful {E Hope, T Carroll}  5:51
Birks Works {Dizzy Gillespie}  6:05
D-Cup And Up {F Wesley}  3:40


Producer: Stephen Meyner and Fred Wesley
Trombone, Vocals on "Honey Love", Arranger: Fred Wesley
Trumpet, Fluegelhorn: Stanton Davis
Altosaxophone: Maceo Parker
Tenor, Sopranosaxophone: Tim Green
Percussion: Tim Green, Maceo Parker
Piano, Keyboards: Geri Allen 
Bass: Anthony Cox 
Drums: Bill Stewart

Vocals on "Eyes...", "The Love...": Carmen Lundy
Trombone on "For the Elders", "Peace Fugue": Robin Eubanks, Steve Turre

Rating: RC: ***


RC: "D-Cup and Up" is only on the CD version of the release. This was Fred Wesley's first solo release since his JB's/Horny Horns days, and the first in his name only. Like the Maceo Parker albums released about the same time on the same label (Minor Music), these albums are mostly jazz. There are some funk or pop explorations here or there, but there are mostly a great number of jazz covers and some originals. The albums serve as a platform for Fred as a soloist, and in that regard they're excellent. As something that would interest a funk fan, they're much less interesting.

This album starts off with a lively Duke Ellington piece, "Rockin' In Rhythm". "Honey Love" treats us to Fred's vocals around an almost latin beat. "Bright Mississippi" is a fairly straight Monk interpretaion. "Love We Had..." is a more standard torch singer tune that features a great solo from Fred. "For The Elders" is a somewhat more abstract and loose jazz exploration, almost free jazz. "Plenty, Plenty Soul" is a big orchestra-sounding piece, a smooth and mellow groove. "Blue Monk" is a great take on the classic. "Peace Fugue" is of course a cover of his own Horny Horns tune, done with acoustic bass. "Eyes So Beautiful" is another torch singer piece, once again showcasing Fred. "Birks Works" is another mellow jazz exploration.