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Fred Wesley & the Greyboy Allstars

Trombonist Fred Wesley would like to be known for more than just funk and soul. Since the late ’90s, straight-ahead jazz has been the focus of his Fred Wesley Group. “But trying to get back to jazz has been a problem,” he says. “People want to hear the funk, but I found out I can do both.”

You can’t blame his fans. For decades, Wesley was the powerhouse in James Brown’s J.B.s and later in Parliament-Funkadelic, George Clinton’s band. Which one challenged him the most creatively? “That’s a good question,” he says by phone. He thinks it over for a minute. “James did. He was the ultimate challenge for a side man. He came up with the wildest ideas in the world, and I had to put them in force.” But the J.B.s influenced Clinton as well. “George told me to do whatever I wanted to — just make it good. Give up the funk. That was George’s thing. And it had to be good funk.”

Fred Wesley was born in Georgia in 1943. From the start, he aspired to play real jazz. “I didn’t even know who James Brown was. I joined his band just to get to New York and be discovered as a great trombone player.” He also wrote music with Brown and has in recent years heard more than a few of his riffs sampled by rappers. “I didn’t see that coming. At first, I frowned on it. Why can’t these guys make their own music? Then I got the first royalty check, and I thought, Whoa. These guys can sample all they want.”

In San Diego, Wesley will appear as a member of the Greyboy Allstars. They recorded West Coast Boogaloo together in 1995. He says Greyboy was the beginning of the jam-band sound (a group that plays a variety of genres). No jazz here: “You’ll hear some real funky music.”

FRED WESLEY: Belly Up Tavern, Friday, December 30, 9 p.m. 858-481-8140. $30.

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Trombonist Fred Wesley would like to be known for more than just funk and soul. Since the late ’90s, straight-ahead jazz has been the focus of his Fred Wesley Group. “But trying to get back to jazz has been a problem,” he says. “People want to hear the funk, but I found out I can do both.”

You can’t blame his fans. For decades, Wesley was the powerhouse in James Brown’s J.B.s and later in Parliament-Funkadelic, George Clinton’s band. Which one challenged him the most creatively? “That’s a good question,” he says by phone. He thinks it over for a minute. “James did. He was the ultimate challenge for a side man. He came up with the wildest ideas in the world, and I had to put them in force.” But the J.B.s influenced Clinton as well. “George told me to do whatever I wanted to — just make it good. Give up the funk. That was George’s thing. And it had to be good funk.”

Fred Wesley was born in Georgia in 1943. From the start, he aspired to play real jazz. “I didn’t even know who James Brown was. I joined his band just to get to New York and be discovered as a great trombone player.” He also wrote music with Brown and has in recent years heard more than a few of his riffs sampled by rappers. “I didn’t see that coming. At first, I frowned on it. Why can’t these guys make their own music? Then I got the first royalty check, and I thought, Whoa. These guys can sample all they want.”

In San Diego, Wesley will appear as a member of the Greyboy Allstars. They recorded West Coast Boogaloo together in 1995. He says Greyboy was the beginning of the jam-band sound (a group that plays a variety of genres). No jazz here: “You’ll hear some real funky music.”

FRED WESLEY: Belly Up Tavern, Friday, December 30, 9 p.m. 858-481-8140. $30.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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