Durham: Duke University Press, 2002. Octavo. (24 cm.) xiv. 326 pp. Full black cloth. Bronze titles on spine, likewise bronze-colored endpapers. Fully photo-illustrated dust jacket depicting author with his signature trombone. Inscribed on half-title. Fine. Item #43
"Most fun I ever had." - Fred Wesley, Jr. (On his years as a trombone player and arranger for James Brown.)
Fred Wesley Jr. was the ONE on the ONE in James Brown's band, the JBs. Called out time and time again on James Brown's recordings. ("Hey, Fred...FRED! HIT ME!") Humbly calling himself a "be-bopper who had R&B experience", Wesley's biography chronicles his humble youth, his time in the Army and eventually his rise as an arranger and performer for groups like the JBs, Parliament and Bootsy's Rubber Band. Wesley, who confesses to initial shyness around his hero, Count Basie, his preference to use respectful kindness rather than follow the path of his tempermental genius of a "Boss" (James Brown) has had experiences that few can match. A terrifc re-telling of harrowing and thrilling moments from the 1974 Zaire Music Festival and the George Foreman/Muhammad Ali boxing match, "Rumble in the Jungle" will make a reader think they feel the sweat and hear the funk. With over 50 reproduced snapshots of Wesley's family, musicians and friends, including Count Basie, Maceo Parker, Bootsy Collins, and, of course, James Brown. Inscription is typically modest, from this exceptional musician.