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 brand of funk that he helped take to a new level upon joining forces with George Clinton and Bootsy Collins in 1975.
Wesley became a force in jazz in 1978 when he joined the Count Basie Orchestra. 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, and his latest two releases as a leader, the live CD, Swing and Be Funky and Amalgamation in 1994.
Wesley's 35-year career includes playing with and arranging for a wide variety of other artist such as Ray Charles, Ike and Tina Turner, Usher, 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.
Wesley toured with his colleagues from the James Brown Band, Pee Wee Ellis and Maceo Parker as the JB Horns in the early nineties. With the departure of Ellis the band became The Maceo Parker Band. Wesley was featured trombonist with Maceo until 1996 when he formed his own band.
The Fred Wesley group recorded and toured for about two years until Wesley decided to put touring on the side and pursue a writing career. He is currently doing articles for general publication and liner notes for CDs etc. He has completed his first book entitled, "HIT ME FRED ( Recollections of a Sideman)" available online and at area book stores.
The reinvented FRED WESLEY, musicologist is available, not only for Funk and Jazz gigs and recording sessions but also for workshop, clinics and lectures on Jazz and Funk. His writing is beginning to be sought after by many periodicals and recording companies.