Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

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Fred Wesley: Pizza Express Jazz club, Soho, London 22/7/14

Fred Wesley: Pizza Express Jazz Club, Soho, London 22/7/14
Fred Wesley: Pizza Express Jazz Club, Soho, London 22/7/14 Fred Wesley: Pizza Express Jazz Club, Soho, London 22/7/14 Kym Mazelle: Pizza Express Jazz Club, Soho, London 22/7/14 James Morton and Fred Wesley: Pizza Express Jazz Club, Soho, London 22/7/14

Nice to be back at the Pizza Express once more to catch the
irrepressible Mr Fred Wesley, trombonist, composer / arranger / bandleader and author, known worldwide as one of the architects of funk music. His sterling work with James Brown is well documented and so too is his JB'S, Horny Horns and Funkadelic legacy.

"Bop To The Boogie" was the first number I caught with it's tongue twisting refrain, Fred loves to spread his jazz chops too and I ain't gonna dis him for that! The lush horns were dominant throughout the night and with "Four Play" Fred definitely got his horny horn on! Who can forget this classic from "A Blow For Me, A Toot To You" with George Clinton's involvement as producer. Both these guys were in the engine room making musical revolutions, especially in black music, and their influence is still felt today.

Nice to see Ms. Kym Mazelle guesting on a far more relaxed version of "Cold Sweat", with an almost big band feel and some exceptionally gutsy rhodes adding gravitas to a wonderful end product! The new PA installed was a winner too, the sound was excellent throughout.

Wunderkind Alto sax player and second guest James Morton from the porcine flavoured band 'Pork Chop' added his funky blowing on the classic "Breaking Bread". Fit, lean and muscular, just like his Maceoish phrasing. It's funny how audiences love special guests coming up and doing there thing, Fred is generous if nothing else!

Up next a volley of JB'S classics, underpinned by bassist Dwayne Dolphin and bolstered by the motoric Bruce Cox on drums, saw the funk come into full effect with the seminal "Pass The Peas" - featuring a piercing, yet stinging trumpet solo, morphing sweetly into "Gimme Some More". This was what the pizza munching hordes had come to hear, the hardcore funk aficionados were sweetly satiated by the Mobile Maestro and his funkateers, which include the imperious tenor playing of Ernie Fields Jnr. The perfect foible for Fred's comedic touches…………

Yes all the funk faves were pouring forth…this band were smoking and rolling as "House Party" became the icing on the cake, on this funk fuelled fiesta of an evening. The groove had become mighty greasy in large doses and many of us were now full from the original horn of plenty. "Trick Bag", a mighty boogaloo bopper topped off a truly remarkable gig, what was more remarkable is the man is now in his early 70's and Mr. Wesley showed no signs of letting up. He is the true definition of sound. Truly amazing!

Words Emrys Baird

From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz

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