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Fred Wesley & The J.B.'s


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Fred Wesley (Born in Mobile, Ala.,July 4, 1943) is an American jazz and funk trombonist, who played with The Ike And Tina Turner Review in 1962 and Hank Ballard and The Midnighters before his best known period as musical director and arranger for James Brown’s backing group The J.B.’s in the late 60’s through early 1970s.

Beginning in 1968, as a pivotal member of James Brown’s hard working band, Fred Wesley played on numerous hit recordings including: “Say It Loud - I’m Black And I’m Proud;” “Mother Popcorn;” and co-wrote tunes such as “Hot Pants”.

The lineup would shift occasionally, and, Wesley who’d left Brown’s group for a period, in a pay dispute, rejoined as official leader in 1970, beginning a very fruitful period that lasted through 1975.

The J.B’s scored several instrumental hits in the early 70s, including: “Pass the Peas,” “The Grunt”,”Gimmie Some More;” and the #1 R&B “Doing It To Death;” on Brown’s People Records imprint distributed through Polydor. In 1974 they had three top 40 hits: “Same Beat;” “If You Don’t Get It The First Time, Back Up And Try It Again, Party;” and “Damn Right I Am Somebody.”

While the J.B.’s sound has most often been associated with three hornmen in particular — Wesley, along with saxophonists Maceo Parker and Alfred “Pee Wee” Ellis, other key J.B.’s in the group included at one time or another: tenor saxman St. Clair Pinckney; saxophonist Jimmy Parker, and a trumpet section consisting of Jerone Jasaan Sanford, Russell Crimes, and Isiah “Ike” Oakley.


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