Remembering a Great Legend and Friend: Pee Wee Ellis

Alfred “Pee Wee” Ellis, the musical giant who was Fred’s brother. since 1968, passed away yesterday, Sept. 23, after suffering a heart attack. “He was a great friend and a great mentor, and he taught me a a lot,” Fred said in the midst of his initial shock and grief. “Most of who I am I learned from him.”

As bandleader for James Brown before Fred, Ellis is considered one of the architects of funk, having co-written and arranged for Brown the landmark recordings “Cold Sweat” and “Say It Loud-I’m Black and I’m Proud.” The Ellis and Wesley families remained close and shared much love and laughter over the decades, through separate careers that briefly — magically — re-converged in the powerhouse band with Maceo Parker called the JB Horns in the 1990s. Since then Fred and Pee Wee frequently collaborated and played together. A gig at London’s Ronnie Scott’s featuring Fred as a guest had been scheduled for this month. Click here for more photos.

Pee Wee and Fred, photographed in Germany in 2013 by longtime friend and fan Heinrich Buttler.
Fred Wesley
Fred Wesley

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Gary Winters
Gary Winters

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DSC_8027
DSC_8027

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Fred Wesley
Fred Wesley

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PHOTOS  Download Hi-Res
BANDS
Fred Wesley & The New JB's
Abraham Inc
Generations Trio
James Brown
Parliament-Funkadelic
The Count Basie Orchestra
Bruce Cox - Drums
Dwayne Dolphin - Bass
Reggie Ward - Guitar
Gary Winters - Trumpet
Jay Rodriguez - Saxophone
Peter Madsen - Keyboards
FRED WESLEY & THE NEW JB'S
GENERATIONS TRIO
Tony Match - Drums
Leonardo Corradi - Organ
VIDEO  See More
Click here for 50 years of Fred Wesley on wax, tape and digital recordings -- compiled by one of the world's foremost soul music collectors.  Many thanks to Heinrich Buttler, aka The Soul Preacher, for compiling and keeping updated this extensive listing.
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Lya Wesley
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