Carmel Jazz Fest Presents: Freddie Fox

5/5 - (1 vote)

SAT, AUGUST 12TH, 2023: 


5 PM – 6:30 PM: Freddie Fox

June/July 2023

Contemporary jazz and R&B artist Freddie Fox is recognized worldwide for his own solo recordings (featuring multiple Top 20 hits, including the #1 single “Too Tuff”), as well as his work with many legendary contemporary jazz and R&B artists. That’s his rhythm guitar you hear on the GRAMMY-winning album “Givin’ It Up” by George Benson and Al Jarreau. Fox played on the tracks “Mornin’” and “Ordinary People.”

Born in Tullahoma, Tennessee, and educated at the prestigious Berklee College Of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, Fox is known for his endless versatility and his smooth, soulful tone. Fox incorporates multiple styles into his music, including funk, smooth jazz, jazz fusion, R&B, and rock. He’s been a featured touring member with notable acts such as Chaka Khan, Najee, Atlantic Starr, Eric Benet, Rose Royce, Jennifer Holliday and the incomparable vocalist Evelyn “Champagne” King, to whom he has been married for 32 years.

Fox has also contributed work to TV shows including “The Arsenio Hall Show,” “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” Jerry Lewis’ “MDA Labor Day Telethon,” Sinbad’s “70’s Soul Music Festival Summer Jam” Part III (HBO), the “Vibe” show, the “Motown Live” show, “Soul Train,” “The Later Show,” “The Queen Latifa Show,” “Live at the Apollo,” “BET Jazz,” “NAACP Image Award” and “The Pat Sajak Show.”

Don’t miss out on Freddie Fox’s set and grab your Carmel Jazz Fest tickets at!

I had the sincere pleasure of speaking with Carmel Jazz Fest Director Blair Clark, Freddie Fox, and Evelyn “Champagne” King. I’ve included some fun snippets from that virtual visit below. Stay tuned for the full video interview — to be released on Facebook and Instagram soon!

Carmel Jazz Fest Presents Freddie Fox

Janelle Morrison: I remember Blair and I discussing the idea that he had about bringing a jazz festival to Carmel, Indiana, more than a decade ago. And here we are; it’s 2023, and it’s happening. Pun intended, people are getting “jazzed” about it, and it’s going to be more than an event that’s entertaining people — it’s going to be awakening some people. Let’s talk about your friendship with Blair and the reason why you’re supporting this inaugural jazz festival.

Freddie Fox: Blair had a couple of tunes that were sitting down, waiting to be changed and worked on, so we got together, and magic happened. That’s what music is about — taking two ideas and making them something that people will enjoy. And I enjoyed it.

Blair Clark: I asked him if he could help me put some things together, and when the song came back, I was like, “Wow, this is fresh and new!” It had a whole different breath to it. One of the things that I love about Freddie and working with him is that he gives me a lot of grace. As a songwriter, I’ve learned a lot from Preston [Glass], and as a producer or co-producer, I’ve learned a lot from Freddie. He is a phenomenal artist and technician, and he has always been patient with me on the technical side and with tempos. One thing he would always do was send me these little cartoons to keep me laughing and to keep me light. I couldn’t imagine doing something like the Carmel Jazz Fest without Freddie and Evelyn being a part of it.

JM: Freddie, you studied music at Berklee College of Music before embarking on your professional journey. What was it like coming from the South to Boston to launch a career as a musician at that time?

FF: It’s been a long road for me. I was shopping and trying to get a record deal like everybody else. Finally, I realized that you can do it yourself. So, I went and incorporated my own company and was doing sessions in homes with musicians and friends from college. If you have good relationships with your friends, sometimes it comes back, and you’re like, “Hey, I remember you.” And some of those guys have “made it” in the business, so you’ve got to keep those relationships, communicate and learn from each other. You have to communicate to make something happen, and that’s what we’ve done. That’s what I’m doing. And that’s what we’re doing, Blair — we’re learning from each other.

BC: When your stuff reaches out from California to my living room and I’m walking around the house, vacuuming the floor, and all of a sudden, I hear “mToo Tuff” and I look up and see Freddie with his guitar, I think, “Man, I’ve worked with that guy!”

JM: To that end, we’ve got to let people, especially young people, know that they can be the next Freddie Fox or Evelyn “Champagne” King. Anything is possible, but it starts with your passion, and that is what will drive you to where you want to go.

FF: We’re taking the first step by letting them see and hear it. That’s what helped me. I had a neighbor that was a musician, and I wanted to be a great musician like him, and he told me, “Freddie, go to college first and get your education. Learn music as well, and it will last even longer, and you’ll be even better when you’re in line with the rest of them.” So that’s what helped me — staying in school, studying and having the heart to talk to other musicians and learn from each other.