Jim Carroll

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From the paper: Fred Wesley

Ahead of his Irish debut on Thursday, an interview with the James Brown and George Clinton band legend

Right said Fred: Fred Wesley at work

Tue, Jun 17, 2014, 14:01


The biggest problem with the Fred Wesley interview in today’s paper was that it was nigh on impossible to translate the mighty trombone player’s take on various grooves and sounds into words which made sense on paper. When he talked about how JJ Johnson changed how he regarded players (“it was all ‘waaaa-waaaa’ and then JJ came along and it was ‘do-be-do-be-bop-bop-do-bede-bop’”) or working with James Brown on “Good Foot” (“I really didn’t think it would work, that ‘da-da-da- da-de-de-de’”), you were fully aware that there was a legend on the other end of the phone.

I’ve had a good run of interviews with the legends’ class of late, but this was a peach and something really special. Here was a man who was in the room when Brown, George Clinton, Bootsy Collins and other were producing groundbreaking work. He plays Dublin’s Sugar Club on Thursday – his first ever Irish show, he notes to his amazement – with his Jimmy Smith tribute jazz trio Generations. Some primetime Fred from the archives below