Friday 11. 11.
Born in Columbus, Georgia, and raised in Mobile, Ala., Fred Wesley began his career as a teenage trombonist with Ike and Tina Turner. He later was music director, arranger, trombonist and a primary composer for James Brown from 1968–1975, then arranged for and played with Parliament-Funkadelic and Bootsy’s Rubber Band. With Brown and as leader of his backing band The JBs, Wesley “was the world’s most famous sideman, orchestrating the sinuous grooves and contributing the bold, surgically precise solos that defined the language of funk.” In teaming with George Clinton and Bootsy Collins, he played a key role in taking funk to the next level. Wesley is featured in the documentary film “Soul Power,” as well as the Oscar-winning “When We Were Kings” and countless other documentaries about James Brown and funk music. Seminal hits he helped create include Brown’s and the JBs’ “Big Payback” and “Pass the Peas.” Others include Parliament’s “P-Funk” and Bootsy’s “Stretching Out.” Author of the acclaimed memoir, “Hit Me, Fred: Recollections of a Side Man” (Duke University Press 2002), Wesley is one of music’s most-sampled musicians. Artists who have sampled his work include Janet Jackson (“That’s The Way Love Goes”) and Nas (“Nastradamus”). A veteran of the Count Basie Orchestra, Wesley also has worked with a who’s who of other artists including Ray Charles, Pancho Sanchez, Van Morrison, Usher, the SOS Band and Cameo, as well as with his close friends and cohorts Maceo Parker and Pee Wee Ellis. Today, he plays and records with his own jazz-funk band, the New JBs, and is one-third of the innovative “klezmer-funk” collaboration Abraham Inc. He also freelances as an arranger, producer and studio performer, and shares his wealth of musical knowledge with young musicians and music students in educational settings worldwide.
THE NEW JBs:
Fred Wesley – Trombone Bruce Cox – Drums Dwayne Dolphin – Bass Peter Madsen – Keyboards Reggie Ward – Guitar Gary Winters – Trumpet Phillip Whack – Saxophone
Quotes “FRED is awesomely funky. He can’t help himself.” Mary Vivian, soul-patrol.com “FRED WESLEY is the undisputed funkiest trombone player in the history of music.” JamBase.com “… still able to play from the bottom of his own soul while bringing out the col- lective soul of his audience …” Syracuse New Times “…When it’s his turn to blow, his horn speaks volumes, delivering a seamless solo that smoothly transitions from one line to the next – he makes it look easy.” Micah Nemiroff, the Boston-Bay State Banner “It’s well-known in rap and hip-hop circles that, along with (James) Brown and (George) Clinton, WESLEY is one of the most-sampled musicians in the world today.” Timothy White, Billboard “Because he’s got a trombone sound fired in the furnaces of The Hardest Working Man in Show Business, everyone from Barry White and Cameo to Earth, Wind & Fire have come calling for his services.” Bob Young, the Boston Herald “FRED is one of the greatest writers and arrangers of funk music on planet earth and from the very beginning he has been an integral part in defining the funk sound. His horn arrangements have been and still are the guiding light to other soul and funk horn sections.” allaboutjazz.com (About Hit Me Fred: Recollections of a Side Man)