This August saw 15 up and coming musicians showcase their work to some of their toughest critics. Selected by Saxophone legend Pee Wee Ellis along with trumpet player Gary Winters, these musicians worked together during a four-day funk and jazz residency, which culminated in brand new music being showcased as well as a great set from The Pee Wee Ellis Funk Assembly.
For those who are passionate about music and in-particular funk and jazz, this particular residency as well as the Brighter Sounds Funk: Foundation event, was an opportunity of a lifetime. With coach and mentor Alfred “Pee Wee” Ellis” who is often cited as “The Man Who Invented Funk”, musicians were given the opportunity to learn from his experience and listen to the advice and guidance provided.
Looking at Pee Wee Ellis’ résumé you’d be humbled to work on new pieces of music together. Listed as an important member of James Brown’s band in the 1960’s, appearing on recordings and even co-writing hits such as “Cold Sweat” and “Say it Loud – I’m Black and I’m proud”. His record sheet also boasts working closely with Van Morrison, as well as recording a handful of solo singles for release.
The four-day residency as well as the Funk: Foundation event provided the perfect outlet to highlight samples of the new work from promising musicians such as members of Manchester’s Afro-rock-funk outfit Agbeko, ten-piece brass collective Twisted Tubes, funk rock band Mamma Freedom and jazz-fusion quintet Mercury.
Now the ninth residency in the Brighter Sound’s Artistic Directors series, the programme is an important one to help champion and support emerging musicians. It focuses on providing the time, space and experienced talent for them to test ideas, experiment and learn.
Pee Wee Ellis is at the top of the list when it comes to knowing and understanding everything there is to know about Funk and The Funk: Foundation event was another highlight in the musician’s calendar.