Wesley was largely seen as the mastermind of the sound, with Brown’s influence and freewheeling ways evident in the loose nature of the many singles that sprung from their collaboration. The J.B.’s did plenty away from Brown as well, forming side projects such as Fred Wesley and the J.B.’s, Maceo and the Macks, The Last Word, The First Family, and many other incarnations.

Also part of the band, yet often overlooked, were trumpeters Jerone “Jassan” Sanford, Isiah “Ike” Oakley, and Russell Crimes.

The group scored a pair of top 40 R&B hits with “Pass The Peas”  “Gimme Some More” and a #1 hit with “Doing It To Death,” a million-seller.

Though the JB’s had their creative differences, they found ways to work out the personality kinks to continue recording together. But Brown’s commercial appeal had begun to wane and by 1974, the J.B.’s found themselves in a creative rut. By 1975, they were officially done, by most accounts.

But there were some peaceful reunions, the most recent resulting in a recording released in 2002 titled Bring The Funk Down.

It included Bootsy Collins, Parker, Byrd, Starks and several others. Many of the band’s members continue to tour to this day, pulling their performances directly from the sound they helped formulate.

Photo of Fred Wesley by Alex Const 

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Little Known Black History Month: The JB’s  was originally published on blackamericaweb.com

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