Years ago, Freddie Washington was a young upstart trying to make a name for himself in the music business.
With luck, great timing, and a wealth of talent, he was recommended to replace a bass player who was leaving 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 continued to tour with Hancock for several years andappeared on several hit albums by the jazz artist,including “Feet Don’t Fail Me Now,” “Mister Hands” and “Monster.”
That was just the beginning for Freddie. 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 learned to play the bass. Freddie’s road to bass domination had begun. His instrument 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 space.
"I just wanted to be good,” said Freddie, who elevates the lyrical sophistication of songs through his stylish interpretations. “I 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 a highly regarded bassist. To many, he is the best. He has certainly made a name for himself. Now known as “Ready Freddie,” a moniker he received, he says, because he’s “ready” 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 “Ready 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 “Ready 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 “Haven’t You Heard” and “Forget Me Nots.” Their friendship and joy of playing music together has lasted nearly 20 years.
“If there’s a bassline, he’ll make it groove,” said Rushen. “If 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’.”
“Forget Me Nots’ not only earned Freddie a Gold Album Award, it was also featured in the Tom Hanks film “Big.” His song, “Better Late Than Never,” recorded by the Cover Girls, was featured in Eddie Murphy’s movie, “Coming to America.” Freddie also earned a Platinum Album Award for his song “Someone For Me,” recorded by Whitney Houston.
“Freddie is the kind of guy that everyone wishes was in his or her band. The kind of spark plug that keeps the groove in the pocket and the attitude positive. Kenny Loggins”