Pee Wee Ellis Funk Assembly - Friday
Legendary sax man, funk innovator and former James Brown band leader, Pee Wee Ellis brings his Funk Assembly to Hideaway for two very special nights. With special guest vocalist Tony Momrelle (Incognito) joining the party, it's time to get on the good foot!
Pee Wee Ellis
After some 55 eventful years as a musician, band leader, arranger and composer Pee Wee Ellis is still touring the world and working on new collaborations.
His remarkable story spans six decades, starting in the 50s when he took himself and his sax off to New York city to find his heroes Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk and the great Sonny Rollins (who became his teacher and mentor.) A promising career leading jazz bands in Florida took an unexpected turn in the 1965 when he joined James Brown’s sensational Revue, playing alto. Within six months he was bandleader/musical director and was cowriting with James Brown. ‘Cold Sweat’, widely acknowledged as the first true funk record, and many of JB’s hits for the next four years were the fruit of this collaboration.
By 1970 Pee Wee moved on to CTI in New York and was producing and directing for the likes of Brother Jack McDuff, Esther Phillips and George Benson. In 1979 in California he caught the ear of Van Morrison and began a five year spell as Van’s MD/bandleader arranging the horns on albums such a Into the Music, and Common One
During the 1990’s Pee Wee moved to Europe and pursued a burgeoning solo career, releasing jazz albums including the critically acclaimed ‘12 and More Blues’. He also formed the JB Horns with ex James Brown alumni Maceo Parker and Fred Wesley, who toured widely to great acclaim.
Pee Wee rejoined Van Morrison as bandleader and arranger for five more highly successful years around this time. Meanwhile, his worldwide reputation had become apparent as musical stars from Africa and Cuba (including Oumou Sangare, Cheikh Lo, Ali Farke Touré and Buena Vista Social Club stars Cachaito Lopez and Anga Diaz) sought his distinctive sound for their recordings.
It’s been a truly eventful musical life, and the signs are that Pee Wee Ellis has no intention of slowing down yet awhile…