Legendary bandleader, trombonist and author Fred Wesley is one of the forefathers of funk, still setting the standard with his jazz-funk band The New JBs. Together at its core for more than 30 years, the band is a living celebration of roots funk and more, performing such hits as “Pass the Peas” made with James Brown and the JBs including Maceo Parker, as well as selections from the P-Funk years and Fred’s own and others’ soulful jazz, funk and blues compositions.
Born in Columbus, Georgia, and raised in Mobile, Ala., Fred began his career as a teenage trombonist with Ike and Tina Turner. He later was music director, arranger, trombonist and a primary composer for Brown from 1968-1975, then arranged for and played with Parliament-Funkadelic and Bootsy’s Rubber Band.
With Brown, Fred became “the world’s most famous sideman, orchestrating the sinuous grooves
and contributing the bold, surgically precise solos that defined the language of funk.” He helped take funk to the next level with George Clinton and Bootsy Collins. Fred has recorded a dozen solo albums including the cult favorite “House Party,” and his latest, “From The Blues and Back,” scheduled for official release in early 2024. He is featured in the Oscar-winning documentary “When We Were Kings” and countless other documentaries and books about funk, and gives master classes around the world.
His critically acclaimed memoir “Hit Me, Fred: Recollections of a Side Man” (Duke University Press, 2002) chronicles in hilarious stories a half century of music history through the eyes of one of the world’s most-sampled musicians.
Also a veteran of the Count Basie Orchestra, Fred has worked with scores of other artists, from Ray Charles to Trombone Shorty. His current other projects include the jazz organ trio Generations and the klezmer-funk-hip hop unit Abraham Incorporated.