TIR 27: Fred Wesley Tells How He Hit It Off With J.B. and P-Funk

Fred Wesley (second from right) with the rest of P-Funk’s Horny Horns players Maceo Parker (far right), Richard “Kush” Griffith (far left) and Rick Gardner, circa 1977.


Brought to you by FUNKNSTUFF.NET and hosted by Scott Goldfine — musicologist and author of “Everything Is on the One: The First Guide of Funk” ― “TRUTH IN RHYTHM” is the interview show that gets DEEP into the pocket with contemporary music’s foremost masters of the groove.

Featured in this episode: Trombonist, bandleader, arranger and composer Fred Wesley, best known for his landmark work with James Brown and the J.B.’s and associated acts, and George Clinton, including Parliament, Bootsy’s Rubber Band, the Horny Horns, and other P-Funk offshoots. Subsequently, he has gone on to record and perform in the jazz idiom, as well as funk it up under his own name and with the JB Horns featuring longtime sax-playing greats Maceo Parker and Pee Wee Ellis.

Among the classic and unforgettable tracks Wesley has imprinted with his indelible, one-of-a-kind bone tone are “Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud,” “Hot Pants,” “Doing It to Death,” “More Peas,” “Gimme Some More,” “Same Beat,” “Damn Right I Am Somebody,” “Licking Stick,” “The Payback” and “Make It Funky.” And that is just a sampling of his James Brown-related work from 1968-1975. His amazing work with P-Funk from 1975-1983 included their seminal Parliament albums Mothership Connection, The Clones of Dr. Funkenstein, Funkentelechy Vs. the Placebo Syndrome and The Motor Booty Affair; Bootsy’s Rubber Band’s Stretchin’ Out, Ah … the Name Is Bootsy, Baby! and Bootsy? Player of the Year; and so much more. In addition, Wesley has recorded with George Benson, Bobby Womack, Bill Laswell, Soulive, Marcus Miller, Hank Crawford, Idris Muhammad and Esther Phillips, among many others. All told, he has appeared on more than 150 albums!

With a body of work that positions him as one of the principal architects and builders of the funk music genre and one of popular music’s most soulful horn players, in 2002 Wesley released his autobiography Hit Me, Fred: Recollections of a Sideman and in 2015 the Mobile native was inducted into the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame. At 74 years young, this innovator’s passion remains undiminished as he presently plays with multiple groups and keeps pushing the proverbial envelope by touring the world and experimenting with new sounds.

Recorded October 2017


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Scott Goldfine

As a fervid lifelong music & film enthusiast / student, I grew up in and around the Los Angeles entertainment industry. I have worked and held many positions in various media realms, since 1998 serving as Editor-in-Chief and now Associate Publisher for Security Sales & Integration, a trade publication serving the electronic security industry. I love several genres of music & film. The former includes funk (Parliament-Funkadelic, Prince, Ohio Players, etc.); blues (Stevie Ray Vaughan, Buddy Guy, Eric Gales, etc.); rock (Jack White, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Neil Young, etc.); hard rock (AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, etc.); jazz (Herbie Hancock, Bob James, Crusaders, etc.); R&B (Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan, Gil Scott-Heron, etc.); and more. I was a club disc jockey and ran a mobile DJ company (Musical Moods) for more than 15 years, which is where the name Dr. GX originates (Doctor Good Times). Fave film genres include horror (Dawn of the Dead, Evil Dead, Nightmare on Elm Street, etc.); science fiction (Aliens, Terminator, 2001, etc.); action (Warriors, Road Warrior, Die Hard); westerns (Outlaw Josey Wales, Showdown at OK Corral; Wild Bunch, etc.); suspense (Jaws, Inception, Silence of the Lambs, etc.); drama (Apocalypse Now, Goodfellas, Pulp Fiction, etc.); and comedies (Life of Brian, Superbad, Ruthless People, etc.). I have attended many hundreds of concerts and movies (in theaters or screenings). I may as well also throw in a few favorite TV shows to give an even broader taste of my sensibilities. A handful would be Breaking Bad, Walking Dead, Lost, Justified, Fargo, Seinfeld, Sopranos, South Park, Brooklyn Nine Nine, Key & Peele, Monty Python, Inside Amy Schumer, Louie, Modern Family, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Last Man on Earth, Bob Newhart Show, All in the Family and The Office. Fave authors are Stephen King, Clive Barker and Michael Crichton. I am also a big sports fan and lifelong supporter of the Dallas Cowboys (NFL), Los Angeles Lakers (NBA) and Pittsburgh Pirates (MLB). Also enjoy my family of course, electronics/computers/AV gear, and animals, nature and outdoor activities. Graduate of Santa Monica High School, Santa Monica College and California State University Northridge (Radio-TV-Film, Psychology minor). Also studied at UCLA for kinesiology/psychology and earned post-grad Certificate in Accounting from Santa Monica College. Present main occupation is as Associate Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Security Sales & Integration (SSI), which I joined in 1998. I am responsible for overseeing all editorial content in print. online, electronic, in-person and any other media or products for the electronic security industry's leading business-to-business trade publication. SSI is part of Framingham, Mass.-based Emerald Expositions.