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FRED WESLEY

This page is updated:
July 31, 2008 9:20 AM


Fred Wesley, Trombonist & soloist, USA

 

 

 

 


BIOGRAPHY

Best known for his work with James Brown and the JBs, Fred Wesley has built his career in funk and jazz. From 1968 through 1975, Wesley was music director, arranger, trombonist and a primary composer for Brown's band, helping to create a funky sound that's heard in much of today's popular music. Wesley helped take the funk to a new level upon joining forces with George Clinton and Bootsy Collins in 1975.

In 1978 he joined the Count Basie Orchestra and realized his jazz aspirations for which he had studied as he grew up in Mobile Alabama. He released his first jazz CD as a leader, To Someone, in 1988. It was followed by New Friends in 1990, Comme Ci Comme Ca in 1991, the live CD Swing and Be Funky and Amalgamation in 1994. The latest CD, Full Circle (Be Bop to Hip Hop), was released in 1997 in Europe and in 1998 in the United States.


Fred Wesley, Madrid July, 2008 [photo René Laanen]

Wesley's 40-year career includes playing with, producing and arranging for a wide variety of other artists such as Ray Charles, Lionel Hampton, Randy Crawford, Vanessa Williams, The SOS Band, Cameo and rappers De La Soul, to name a few. Scores of other artists have sampled his work, including Janet Jackson for her early '90s smash, "That's The Way Love Goes", and rapper Nas for his recent hit, "Nastradamus."

During the early 1990s, Wesley toured with his colleagues from the James Brown Band, Pee Wee Ellis and Maceo Parker, as the JB Horns. With the departure of Ellis, the band became the Maceo Parker Band with Wesley as featured trombonist until 1996 when he formed is own band.

The Fred Wesley Group still tours, especially during the European festival season. Wesley now spends much of his time writing. He recently completed his autobiography, "HIT ME FRED: (Recollections of a Sideman)". The book is being published by DUKE UNIVERSITY PRESS and is available in bookstores and all online book sites.
The reinvented Fred Wesley is called upon frequently as a performer, arranger, producer, musicologist and consultant. He also gives workshops, clinics and lectures on jazz and funk, and writes liner notes, essays and other articles.




FRED WESLEY RESUME

LIVE PERFORMANCES

1957 - 1962
FREELANCE MOBILE ALABAMA
E.B. COLEMAN 16 PIECE ORCHESTRA 3RD TROMBONIST
CHARLES LOTT ALL-STARS TROMBONIST / SOLOIST
BASS
DRUMS
EXCELSIOR MARCHING BAND TROMBONIST
B.B. KING (ONE SHOW) TROMBONIST
JOE TEX (FOUR SHOWS) TROMBONIST
5 ROYALS (ONE SHOW) BASS
CASTANETS TROMBONIST / SOLOIST
NEW SOUNDS CO / LEADER
TROMBONIST / SOLOIST
ARRANGER

1962 - 1963
IKE AND TINA TURNER REVUE
TROMBONIST / ARRANGER

1963 - 1964
HANK BALLAD AND THE MIDNIGHTERS TROMBONIST / SOLOIST

1964 - 1967
55TH ARMY BAND 1ST TROMBONE

1967 - 1968
WESLEY / DAVIS MASTERSOUND
CO / LEADER / ARRANGER / COMPOSER / TROMBONIST / VOCALIST

1968 - 1969
JAMES BROWN BAND TROMBONIST / SOLOIST

1970 - 1971
SAM AND THE GOODTIMERS
TROMBONIST / SOLOIST / VOCALIST

1971 - 1972
JAMES BROWN BAND
MUSIC DIRECTOR / TROMBONIST / SOLOIST / ARRANGER / COMPOSER / VOCALIST

1973 - 1975
JAMES BROWN BAND
MUSIC DIRECTOR / TROMBONIST / SOLOIST / ARRANGER / COMPOSER / VOCALIST

FRED WESLEY AND THE JBs LEADER
TROMBONIST / SOLOIST / ARRANGER / COMPOSER / VOCALIST

1976 - 1978
PARLIAMENT / FUNKADELIC
BOOTSY'S RUBBER BAND TROMBONIST / SOLOIST / ARRANGER / COMPOSER / VOCALIST

1978 - 1979
COUNT BASIE ORCHESTRA 2ND TROMBONIST

1980 - 1988
HOLLYWOOD / LOS ANGELES FREELANCE
LOVE I ORCHESTRA
WILLIE BO BO
RAY CHARLES
CAPP / PIERCE JUGGERNAUT
VERNON GARRETT TROMBONIST/ SOLOIST
JOHNNY OTIS
LIONEL HAMPTON
LOUIS BELLSON
H.B. BARNUM
NELSON RIDDLE
RED HOT CHILLI PEPPERS
AWARD SHOWS
IMAGE AWARDS
COWBOY HALL OF FAME
SOUL TRAIN AWARDS
STAGE SHOWS
TEMPTATIONS
ARETHA FRANKLIN
GLADYS KNIGHT AND THE PIPS
PATTI LaBELLE
MANY OTHERS

1989 - 1990
FRED WESLEY QUARTET LEADER TROMBONIST /SOLOIST

1990 - 1994
JB HORNS CO-LEADER
TROMBONIST / SOLOIST ARRANGER / COMPOSER / VOCALIST


1995 - 1997
MACEO PARKER BAND TROMBONIST / SOLOIST / VOCALIST

1997 - PRESENT
WORLD FREELANCE
FRED WESLEY JAZZ / FUNK EXPLOSION LEADER / TROMBONIST / SOLOIST / VOCALIST

FRED WESLEY QUARTET LEADER / TROMBONIST / SOLOIST
JBs REUNION LEADER / TROMBONIST / SOLOIST / VOCALIST
KARL DENSON TINY UNIVERSE TROMBONIST / SOLOIST / VOCALIST
VAN MORRISON TROMBONIST / SOLOIST
MACEO PARKER TROMBONIST / SOLOIST
DEEP BANANA BLACKOUT TROMBONIST / SOLOIST
BOOTSY'S RUBBER BAND TROMBONIST / SOLOIST
CANDY DULFER TROMBONIST / SOLOIST
MANY OTHERS

RECORDINGS

1962
IKE AND TINA TURNER TITLE UNKNOWN TROMBONIST
FONTELLA BASS TITLE UNKNOWN TROMBONIST
ARRANGER

1965
PERCY SLEDGE TITLE UNKNOWN TROMBONIST

1968 - 1970
JAMES BROWN -SAY IT LOUD I'M
BLACK AND PROUD TROMBONIST
-LICKING STICK
-THE CHICKEN
-MOTHER POPCORN
-GIVE IT UP TURN IT LOOSE
MARVA WHITNEY -IT'S MY THANG
-ONLY YOU TROMBONIST

1971 - 1975
JAMES BROWN -SOUL POWER -MAKE IT FUNKY -GET ON THE GOOD FOOT
TROMBONIST / ARRANGER / CO-COMPOSER

-HOT PANTS -REALITY (ALBUM) -MIND
POWER (ALBUM) -HELL (ALBUM)
CO-PRODUCER / CO-COMPOSER / TROMBONIST/SOLOIST

RECORDINGS CONTINUED

JBs
-GIVING UP FOOD
FOR FUNK (ALBUM)CO-PRODUCER
CO-COMPOSER
TROMBONIST/SOLOIST
FRED WESLEY
& THE JBs -DAMN RIGHT I'M
SOMEBODY (ALBUM) -BREAKING BREAD
(ALBUM)
-DOING IT TO DEATH (ALBUM)
-JBs MONORAIL ARTIST
(ALBUM) CO-PRODUCER
CO-COMPOSER
TROMBONIST/SOLOIST
VOCALIST

LYN COLLINS -THINK ABOUT IT
(ALBUM) PRODUCER
ARRANGER
-IF YOU DON'T
KNOW ME BY NOW
(ALBUM)

MACEO PARKER -US (ALBUM) PRODUCER
ARRANGER

CHARLES SHERRELL -SWEET CHARLES
SINGS FOR SWEET PEOPLE
(ALBUM) PRODUCER
ARRANGER

RECORDINGS CONTINUED

1975 - 1977
PARLIAMENT -MOTHERSHIP CONNECTION
(ALBUM) -CLONES OF DR. FUNKINSTINE
(ALBUM) TROMBONIST
ARRANGER
BOOTSY'S
RUBBER BAND -STRETCHING OUT (ALBUM) -HOLLYWOOD SWINGERS
(ALBUM) TROMBONIST
ARRANGER
FRED WESLEY
& THE HORNY HORNS -A BLOW FOR ME
A TOOT TO YOU (ALBUM)
-SAY BLOW BY BLOW
BACKWARDS (ALBUM) ARTIST
CO-PRODUCER
TROMBONIST
ARRANGER

OTHERS
BRIDES OF FUNKINSTINE
FUNKADELIC TROMBONIST
PARLETTE SOLOIST
SWEAT BAND ARRANGER


1978
COUNT BASIE
ORCHESTRA -COUNT BASIE BAND
WITH MILT JACKSON 2ND TROMBONE
-COUNT BASIE LIVE IN JAPAN

1979
KAMELEON -KAMELEON ARRANGER / PRODUCER
(ALBUM)
TRUSSELL -LOVE INJECTION ARRANGER / PRODUCER
(ALBUM)

1980
FRED WESLEY -HOUSE PARTY
(ALBUM) ARTIST
ARRANGER / PRODUCER COMPOSER

1981 - 1988
HOLLYWOOD AT LARGE
STUDIO TROMBONIST WITH:
ARTISTS:
EARTH, WIND AND FIRE
DR. JOHN
VERNON BIRCH
SHALAMAR
REN WOODS
BILL WHITHERS
GAP BAND
BARRY WHITE
MANY, MANY OTHERS

ARRANGERS:
GIL ASKEY
BENJAMIN WRIGHT
JOHN STEVENS
CARMICHAEL
HENSE POWELL
JOHN ROBERTS
TOM TOM 84
MANY, MANY OTHERS

RECORDINGS CONTINUED

STUDIO ARRANGER FOR:
ARTISTS:
CURTIS MAYFIELD
DUTCH ROBINSON
PATTIE BROOKS
SOS BAND
PLATYPUS
GENERAL CAINE
TERRY COLLIER
ALTON McCLAIN AND DESTINY
MANY OTHERS

PRODUCERS:
SIGIDI ABDULLAH
BUNNY SIGLIER
CHUCK JACKSON
H.B. BARNUM
SONNY BURKE
ANDRÉ FISHER
GEORGE CLINTON
MADAM BONGO
MANY OTHERS

PRODUCED MUSIC FOR:

(10 ALBUMS)
MADAM BONGO (1984 - 1988)

1989
(ALBUM)
FRED WESLEY QUARTET ARTIST
"TO SOMEONE" CO / PRODUCER
ARRANGER
TROMBONIST
1990
JB HORNS
(ALBUMS)
"PEE WEE FRED AND MACEO"
"I LIKE IT LIKE THAT" ARTIST
CO / PRODUCER
ARRANGER
TROMBONIST

RECORDINGS CONTINUED

1991 - 1996
FRED WESLEY BAND
(ALBUMS)
"FOR THE ELDERS"
"COMME CI COMME CA"
"SWING AND BE FUNKY"
"AMALGAMATION"
(ON THE GERMAN LABEL, MINOR MUSIC) ARTIST
CO / PRODUCER
ARRANGER
TROMBONIST

MACEO PARKER BAND
(ALBUMS)
"ROOT REVISITED"
"MO ROOTS"
"LIFE ON PLANET GROOVE"
"FUNK OVERLOAD" TROMBONIST / SOLOIST

1998
(ALBUM)
FRED WESLEY BAND
"FULL CIRCLE (BE BOP TO HIP HOP)"

1999
(ALBUM)
JBs REUNION
"BRING THE FUNK ON DOWN"
PRODUCER
ARRANGER / COMPOSER
TROMBONIST / SOLOIST

AWARDS AND CITATIONS

GOLD AND PLATINUM RECORDS
1974 "DOING IT TO DEATH" FRED WESLEY AND THE JBs
1976 "MOTHERSHIP CONNECTION" PARLIAMENT
"STRETCHING OUT" BOOTSY'S RUBBER BAND
1977 "THE CLONES OF DR. FUNKINSTINE" PARLIAMENT
"AH THE NAME" BOOTSY'S RUBBER BAND
1983 "TAKE YOUR TIME DO IT RIGHT" SOS BAND

OTHER CITATIONS
1990 BEST BE BOP PLAYER WESTWORD
(DENVER'S NEWS AND ARTS WEEKLY)
1995 HONORARY CITIZEN NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA
1996 BMI SAMPLE OF THE YEAR "THAT'S THE WAY LOVE GOES" JANET JACKSON


Dear avid readers, friends and fans of FRED WESLEY,

Thank you so much for buying my book, reading my book and enjoying my book. The publisher, Duke University Press, however a great academic publisher, is not set up to promote the book to the numbers of readers who, I feel, deserve to have the pleasure of reading this book. I have seen many books, that would have been otherwise overlooked, reach a fantastic number of readers by just being mentioned on the Oprah Winfrey Show. Reaching the producers of the show has been a problem that I have not been able to solve so I am asking you and others who have enjoyed the book to email Oprah, en masse, to make her aware of the book and possibly getting me an appearance on the show or, at least, securing a spot for the book in the Oprah Book Club.

I think that a good date to do this mass mailing is January 15th. This will give everyone time to write a concise critique and those of you who have not read the book to purchase and do so. Of course, if you can’t make the exact mass mailing date please do it as close as you can before or after that date.

If you have not bought the book or read the book, shame on you. You can rectify this situation buy going to: http://www.amazon.com/ on the Internet and most any bookstore in the US.

I am asking that you contact all of your friends who have read the book and have them contact all of their friends who have read the book and email Oprah at the same appointed time. I am hopeful that this will, at least, get Oprah or someone on her staff to read and evaluate the book. Please go to: http://www.oprah.com/email/reach/email_showideas.jhtml and follow the instructions.

I think the email should contain the following:

1. Title of the book: “HIT ME FRED (Recollections of a Sideman)”

2. Publisher: DUKE UNIVERSITY PRESS

3. Date of publication: September 2002

4. A brief critique of the book (a sentence or two).

Please cc your emails and have all the emails of your contacts cc(ed) to me at fred@fredwesley.com so I can keep track of who’s who and what’s what.

Thank you very much.

FRED WESLEY


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