SFFUNK: Fred Wesley & New JB's w/ Clyde, Jabo, Fred Thomas + Lyrics Born Band!
SF Funk Fest is back with one of the most anticipated shows to hit the bay in years. Fred Wesley leads the New JB's into Mezzanine joined by superstar drummers Clyde Stubblefield and John "Jabo" Starks as well as bassist Fred Thomas. Clyde, Jabo, and Fred T formed the backbone rhythm section for most of the JB's/James Brown years. Fred Wesley is renowned as the "world's greatest sideman". A master trombonist, bandleader and arranger who has had a huge influence on the FUNK through his seminal work with the JB's, James Brown, Parliament-Funkadelic, Bootsy's Rubber Band, Ike & Tina Turner, Mongo Santamaria etc. Fred will lead the New JB's an ensemble of ringers in their own right, joined by his old friends for a once-in a lifetime journey through classic funk, soul and jazz. To make this funky cocktail even sweeter, we welcome local legend Lyrics Born who will open the show with his own formidable ensemble, and host the night. Tickets are sure to go FAST!
Fred Wesley & the New JB's
TROMBONE PLAYER: Fred Wesley has no equals in American music. Whether it’s jazz, funk, R&B, blues or other, his solos are always hot.
BANDLEADER: From his direction of James Brown’s fabled JBs to today’s Fred Wesley Group, he knows how to choose the best musicians and meld them into tight units that generate mad heat.
ARRANGER AND COMPOSER: Some of funk music’s biggest hits by James Brown, the JBs, Parliament-Funkadelic and Bootsy’s Rubber Band are living testaments to his skill, as are his soulful jazz compositions such as “For the Elders,” “La Bossa” and “No One.”
SIDE MAN: The reliability and fire he’s contributed to bands ranging from the Count Basie Orchestra to the American Idol Band, make him a sure bet in any setting.
AUTHOR: His half-century career is a treasure trove of stories, some of which fill the pages of his compelling memoir “Hit Me, Fred: Recollections of a Side Man.”
MUSICOLOGIST AND EDUCATOR: Wesley shares his wealth of musical knowledge and experiences through liner notes, articles and interviews, and with young musicians in settings including classrooms, band rooms and recital halls at colleges and universities worldwide.
Born in Mobile, Ala., Fred Wesley began his professional career as a teenage trombonist with Ike and Tina Turner. He was music director, arranger, trombonist and a primary composer for James Brown from 1968-1975, then arranged and played for Parliament-Funkadelic and Bootsy’s Rubber Band. He has played with and arranged for a wide variety of other artists including Ray Charles, Pancho Sanchez, New York Voices, Slide Hampton, Van Morrison, the SOS Band and Cameo, to name a few. Scores of other artists including Janet Jackson and Nas have sampled his work. Since his stint with the Count Basie Orchestra, he has maintained a focus on jazz – playing, recording, writing and promoting it. His solo jazz recordings include “To Someone,” “Amalgamation,” “Comme Ci Comme Ca,” “Full Circle” and “Wuda Cuda Shuda.”
THE NEW JB's feature the following RINGERS:
>Bruce Cox, drums
>Dwayne Dolphin, bass
>Reggie Ward, guitar
>Peter Madsen, keys
>Barney McAll, keys
>Ernie Fields Jr., saxophones, flute, bagpipes
>Gary Winters, trumpet
Clyde Stubblefield is a drummer best known for his work with James Brown. Stubblefield's recordings with James Brown are considered to be some of the standard-bearers for funk drumming, including the singles "Cold Sweat", "There Was A Time", "I Got The Feelin'", "Say It Loud - I'm Black and I'm Proud", "Ain't It Funky Now", "Mother Popcorn", and the album Sex Machine. He may be the most widely sampled musician in the world - his groove on James Brown's "Funky Drummer" is believed to be the world's most sampled record. Stubblefield was featured in a PBS Independent Lens documentary, Copyright Criminals which aired January 19, 2010. In the mid- nineties Producer/Songwriter Richard Mazda wrote and produced a record, Revenge of The Funky Drummer, which was Clyde's first solo record.
As the drummer for James Brown's band, John "Jabo" Starks virtually invented funk drumming with his ridiculously syncopated grooves in Brown’s late ’60s and early ’70’s jams.
Born October 26, 1938, Starks started his career in jazz playing for blues singer Bobby Bland. It was on Bland’s big hits that Starks’ playing caught the ear of James Brown. Stark’s jazz sensibilities gave Brown’s the deep groove that is so recognizable in Brown’s sound.
Brown’s live shows at one point incorporated up to five drummers, but when Starks joined the band, only he and Clyde Stubblefield were left, sometimes sharing duty on the stage or switching on and off according to Browns whimsy.
Starks stint with Brown lasted from 1970–1975, and he recorded more charting singles than any other drummer in the singer's long career. His hard-grooving, but relaxed and dependable recording style was coupled with an ability to crank up the energy at a live performance to a fever pitch.
After leaving Brown in in 1975, he went on to work with B.B, King. His tracks are some of the most sampled by hip-hoppers and it’s safe to say that without his contribution to funk drumming, many of today’s hip-hop and r&b grooves wouldn’t even exist.
As one of the most sampled bass players in the world, the Fred Thomas sound is like no other and has a very special place in R&B history. In 1971, Fred joined the by then legendary James Brown band,"I never dreamed I'd be playing with James Brown. I got to NYC from Georgia in 1966 and started playing all over town. I always had a tight band." Fred went on to make history with James Brown after replacing Bootsy Collins. He would go on to be one of the most prolific and consistently charting period in the "Godfather's incredible career. Further highlighting Fred Thomas's significance in contemporary popular music is the fact that many of his basline have become a samplers playground causing the godfather of soul himself to declare Fred "the most sampled bass player in the world."
Amongst the dusty records of UC Davis' KDVS college radio station, Tom Shimura, who currently makes records as Lyrics Born, found too much to love. Sandwiched between gatefold LPs, 12-inch singles, dub versions and white-labels was a reservoir of inspiration that he would draw on for the following decades. That was then. This is now. Since his college days, Bay Area-native Lyrics Born's raw, authentic talent has been polished to a gleaming beacon of originality in a time when it's needed most, and it's release marks a new era of label relations. "The old model is dead, you cant just put it out and expect people to get it", explains LB, and the statement could easily be applied to his sound or his approach to marketing the finished product.
Lyrics Born has gone about the creation of his latest effort, As U Were, in a less-than-conventional manner. One defining characteristic of his sound thus far has been that it can be described as unequivocally fun, and this remains true of As U Were. However, LB does routinely peel back the gregarious exterior to reveal a contemplative everyman, and it's times like this that his true artistry is apparent. "It's at the point in my career where I've been through a lot, fun and not so fun. I think I'm dealing with a lot issues that are more mature than the last few albums, from abandonment to betrayal to incredible joy". He voices these sentiments prominently on the lead single "Lies x 3", a driving, heartfelt plead for truth.
While touching on newer subjects, he also reached out to artists that he felt removed himself from his comfort zone. "The new record is more synth-oriented. I made an effort to work with younger artists: Trackademicks, Francis and The Lights, and Sam Sparro, namely". The bay-swagger is in full effect on "Funky Hit Records", and while the new guests add a new dimension to the sound, Tom Shimura isn't one to lose sight of his roots. Gift Of Gab drops a requisite, thought-provoking verse on the critical "Pills" and the classic Latyrx tag-team makes it look way too easy on "Pushed Aside, Pulled Apart", one of the album's standout cuts. As U Were may well be LB's greatest achievement, but it's been a long time coming.
Lyrics Born had been a music obsessive since his youth, and in 1993 freestyles among a group of UC Davis classmates that occupied the same cramped radio quarters began to find their way onto paper, and suddenly LB had written "Send Them". It became the first single on the newly minted Solesides Records, a collaborative venture between himself and his accomplices who would later go on to be known internationally as Blackalicious (comprised of MC Gift of Gab and producer Chief Xcel), DJ Shadow and Lateef The Truthspeaker, an East Oakland rapper with whom he found a shared affinity for the rapid-fire lyrical volleys that would define the next step. As Latyrx (a combination of their working names) the two MCs released The Album, in 1997. The LP would go on to become a certified classic, selling 100,000 copies, yet would prove to be the tip of an even larger iceberg.
Solesides was re-imagined as Quannum Projects in 1999. As co-owner, LB used Quannum as a conduit through which he delivered his most realized project to date, 2003's Later That Day. The album yielded his biggest commercial success to date, "Callin' Out", which charted nationally and was featured in several major motion pictures, EA Sports games as well as a Diet Coke spot featuring Adrian Brody. The remix LP, Same !@#$ Different Day was released shortly after, showcasing the talents of his closest associates and as well as new material. Meanwhile, Lyrics Born began to explore different means of engaging listeners.