Pee Wee Ellis FUNK: Foundation

Our partners at Brighter Sound are proud to welcome funk and jazz saxophone legend Pee Wee Ellis to lead their artistic residency for emerging musicians – Pee Wee Ellis FUNK: Foundation.

Pee Wee Ellis, the renowned architect of James Brown’s era-defining soul classics of the late ’60s, and trumpet player, arranger and composer Gary Winters will lead a four-day intensive residency at Band on the Wall from Thursday 17th – Sunday 20th August.

We are looking for 14 talented emerging funk, soul and jazz musicians from across the UK to collaborate, create and perform new music with Pee Wee Ellis and Gary Winters (Fred Wesley and the New JBs). There will be a showcase performance on 20th August at Band on the Wall.

“I am excited to have this opportunity to work with upcoming musicians and contribute to the development of their on-going musical life. It is a pleasure to share my knowledge of how to be a complete musician, arranging, writing and working with other musicians to play together in a band, passing on what I’ve learned in sixty years of doing what I love.” – Pee Wee Ellis

Brighter Sound is inviting applications from 14 emerging musicians to form two self-contained funk outfits to devise a 40-minute set of new music. We are looking specifically for musicians who play the following:

  • Bass Guitar
  • Drums
  • Guitar
  • Keyboard
  • Trumpet
  • Saxophone (any variation – alto, tenor, baritone)
  • Trombone

We will accept applications from existing bands although each band member must submit a separate application.

Saxophonist Pee Wee Ellis introduced the dynamic arrangements and driving rhythms that would define the emerging language of funk in James Brown’s band in the late 1960’s. Ellis channelled the lessons of his jazz background to strip Brown’s music to its bare essentials, showcasing bold, precise horns and infectious grooves with a minimum of melodic embellishment; hits like “Cold Sweat” and “Licking Stick-Licking Stick” redefined the sound and scope of soul, pointing the way for its transformation to funk. Ellis went on to co-write and arrange a series of James Brown smashes, including “Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud” and “Mother Popcorn” as well as issuing a handful of solo singles on Brown’s label King, among them “Little Green Apples” and “In the Middle.” Ellis also wrote the jazz-funk standard “The Chicken”, made famous by Jaco Pastorius.

Trumpet player Gary Winters is a member of Fred Wesley and the New JB’s. He is an established jazz and commercial musician, arranger and educator, founding and co-directing ‘Funk 101’ open workshops with Pee Wee. Currently living in Germany, Gary has recorded with funk artists Pee Wee Ellis, Fred Wesley, Bootsy Collins, George Clinton, Bobby Byrd, Lenny Kravitz and performed with artists that include The Temptations, Lionel Richie, and Aretha Franklin among many others.

More info and apply here.