"Meeting a legend like Freddie Washington was a very special moment in my life," says Hellmut Wolf, director of Australian label and digital distributor Wolf Entertainment. "If you look who Freddie has worked with, you will see the 'who is who' of the very top of the music industry, and to have him on our roster is nothing short of a miracle for us. But Freddie is not only a legend, he is also a really wonderful guy, and I am enjoying our communication immensely since we decided to work together and to re- release his fantastic album 'In The Moment'. I have listened to this album now 30 - 40 times and I love it more and more. We now will do our best as a team to make Freddie's music available to even more people and to market his wonderful music to the very best of our abilities."
Years ago, Freddie Washington was a young upstart trying to make a name for himself in the music business.
With luck, great timing, but mostly talent, he was recommended to replace a bass player who wasleaving Herbie Hancock's band. During his audition, Freddie played with such authority and passion that he got the job. He had unleashed a raw power that impressed Hancock and jump-started his career. He went on to tour with Hancock for several years and
appeared on several hit albums by the jazz artist, including œFeet Don't Fail Me Now, œMister Hands and œMonster.
That was just the beginning. On those and other recordings, Freddie's influence was evident. He produced his own recipe for success as an artist by stirring emotions and eliciting reactions through his booming bass.
It was an incredible break for a spunky 19- year-old kid who had dreamed of one day playing with some of the music industry's greats. News of Freddie's talent soon spread rapidly throughout the music world.
Freddie's story begins in his hometown of Oakland, California, where he became interested in the bass at 14. He took music courses in school and bass lessons in the 8th grade. He learned to read music and dabbled on the drums and piano.
Freddie's road to bass domination had begun. His instrument literally became an extension of his hands as he practiced day and night, often seeking refuge in the wee hours in his bedroom closet which, after lights out, became his rehearsal
"I just wanted to be good, said Freddie, who elevates the lyrical sophistication of songs through his stylish interpretations. œI wanted to be so good that I could make people believe that playing the bass is all I know how to do. I wanted to be the best.
Today, Freddie is good. To many, he is the best. He has certainly made a name for himself. Now known as œReady Freddie, a moniker he received, he says, because he's œready for anything, the bassist's mastery of his craft is the polished product of his years of preparation. He became adept at all sides of the music by listening to and familiarizing himself with jazz, gospel, r&b and pop, and incorporated them into his style of play, which has become known as the œReady Freddie groove, a half-time body movement that is now his infectious m.o.
In the music industry, there are bass players and then there's œReady Freddie, the first call studio musician, the songwriter and live performance player who brings uniquely pertinent credentials to his role.
His collaborative efforts with friend and musician, Patrice Rushen, produced the early ˜80s hits œHaven't You Heard and œForget Me Nots. Their friendship and joy of playing music together has lasted nearly 20 years.
œIf there's a bassline, he'll make it groove, said Rushen. œIf there's a groove, he'll make the line. It doesn't matter if it's
˜thumped' or with ˜fingers.' It doesn't matter if it's funk, pop, jazz, rock, hip-hop, uptempo or a ballad. Few players do it all with such creative style and musicality. Plus, he's always ready to give it his best! That's why we call him ˜Ready Freddie'.
œForget Me Nots' not only earned Freddie a Gold Album Award, it was also featured in the Tom Hanks film œBig. His song, œBetter Late Than Never, recorded by the Cover Girls, was featured in Eddie Murphy's movie, œComing to America.
Freddie also earned a Platinum Album Award for his song œSomeone For Me, recorded by Whitney Houston.
He has played in sessions or on tour with everyone from Michael Jackson, Al Jarreau, Aaron Neville, Lionel Richie, Anita Baker, B.B. King, Elton John, Stevie Wonder and Whitney Houston, to Jose Feliciano, George Benson, Johnny Mathis, Burt Bacharach, Melissa Manchester and Kenny Loggins.
The versatile musicologist, who also sings and performs jingles, has served as the musical director for both Al Jarreau's 1990 summer tour and Black Entertainment Television's 1993 special, œLeading Ladies of Music Videos.
In 1996, Freddie landed a choice gig as Michael Jackson's bass player on his œHIStory World Tour.
He has conducted standing-room-only clinics all over the world giving other bass enthusiasts a lesson in the groove, how he gets his sound, demonstrations on how to play with a rhythm section, and even explaining the types of instruments and amps he uses.
Because he is usually the first name producers and artists select when launching a project, Freddie's breakneck business schedule has become his normal routine. If he's not in the studio, on stage, or on tour, he's probably in his music room at home creating his next smash song.
œI get the calls because of what I bring to the project, explained Freddie. œI give them the sound they want, my take on the music, my credibility and integrity. What I do is important to me - and I think it shows.
"He is a great bass player. Freddie is one of the funkiest and consistently creative players I've ever worked with," says George Duke.
To Freddie, nothing he has done can be considered work. œI haven't worked in 20 years, says the prolific artist who lives with his wife Annette, and two children Yamina and Giovanni, in a suburb of Los Angeles. œ I've been having fun. I don't think
playing the bass will ever be work for me. It gets me excited. I love to do it because it brings me joy. It's overwhelming. It's just a great part of my life.
Although to some it may seem that he has done it all, Freddie is always looking forward to new challenges. He wants to write more songs, produce and record more his own material. And if a smash should be the result, and he blows
up larger than life, you can bet he'll be œReady.
"Freddie's one of the best bass players I've ever had in my band. On top of that, he is a really great guy to be around,"