Oct 23, 2009
“Ready Freddie” Washington has a resume that would take most artists two lifetimes to accumulate. As a sideman, he’s held down the bass duties for a who’s who of R&B (Commodores, Stevie Wonder, Isley Brothers), Rock (Elton John, Steely Dan, Leonard Cohen), Jazz (Ramsey Lewis, George Benson, Kirk Whalum), and everyone else in between, including artists as different as Barry Manilow and The Tubes.
It’s because he is so obviously in demand and held in high esteem by his peers that his solo CD, In the Moment, is so disappointing. Simply put, its smooth jazz that never shows any real spark, much less blazes with the kind of sounds Washington can lay down.
Washington wrote or co-wrote almost all the tunes on the CD, which may account for some of the problems. His all-star guests, like Joe Sample, Patrice Rushen and Gerald Albright, have their talents wasted with bland material, and cluttered by unnecessary background vocals.
Click here to listen to “Freddie’s Groove”, one of the few tracks that cooks with any real energy. Washington’s bass is out in front, popping and laying down the groove, while Ray Fuller (guitar) and Michael Paulo (sax) take hot solos. By the time the tune is fading out, the synthesized instruments have taken us to the funky place for which we had hoped.
Maybe Washington needed to get this one off his chest after thirty years of being a stalwart part of other performer’s recordings. Let’s hope it won’t take that long for him to get his groove on with something more memorable.