"James Brown put that stamp on me," Wesley recalls. "I had to come up to it when he said: 'Hit me Fred!'"

Trombone star Fred Wesley Jr. is best known for his work as a sideman with James Brown in the 1960s and 70s, when he helped move Brown's sound from soul to funk. But Wesley is also a legendary R&B, soul and funk veteran, whose musical career spans five decades. He's made major musical contributions to acts and artists such as the Ike and Tina Turner Revue, George Clinton's Parliment/Funkadelic, Maceo Parker and Pee Wee Ellis.

The Alabama native started with his father's big band at the age of 14. He also played in marching bands in high school and college and later with a U.S. Army band. After his military stint, he caught on with jazz groups, including Hank Ballard and the Midnighters and Count Basie's Band. By the mid-1960s he had gone in a slightly 

different direction, joining the Ike and Tina Turner Revue. But in 1967 Wesley found himself out of work and at a crossroads. Just as he took a job as the first black milkman in Mobile, Alabama, he got an offer to play with the James Brown band. His musical career was not only back on track, it was headed for bright lights.
"James Brown put that stamp on me," Wesley recalls. "I had to come up to it when he said: 'Hit me Fred!'"
Eventually he took his jazz-funk sound to the influential George Clinton Band. During the 1980s and 90s he toured and recorded with the JB Horns, Maceo Parker and with Pee Wee Ellis. And he's recorded with his own group, Fred Wesley and the Horny Horns.

Through it all, Wesley says, he's established a firm musical identity: "I have accepted my position as a funk trombone player... I don't suppress the funk. I'm a funky player who can play jazz."  

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Fred Wesley Trombone
Ernie Fields Jr. Sax
Gary Winters Trumpet
Peter Madsen Keys
Reggie Ward Guitar
Dwayne Dolphin Bass
Bruce Cox Drums