Indisputably one of the funkiest human beings on the planet, trombonist Fred Wesley played seminal roles in forging sounds that became synonymous with funk: as James Brown's band director in the late '60s and early '70s, and later as a member of the Parliament Funkadelic solar system. With Brown, he wrote songs, worked out arrangements, produced records, and was always ready to tear the roof off the place when Brown called, mid-tune, "Hit it, Fred." Which he invariably did until leaving to join Bootsy and George Clinton on the Mothership. The versatile Wesley is also a serious jazz player, and even was with the Count Basie Orchestra for a time. Wesley was great last fall when he and former JB Horns alum Pee Wee Ellis did a Brown tribute with a contingent of African musicians at the Dakota. This time he brings his New JBs, a fierce sextet bristling with energetic funk and jazz that he's been heading up for a couple of decades. There's a new album, too: Let It Flow—Fred Wesley's Tribute to James Brown (Major Hana), which features wicked remakes of such JB classics as "Sex Machine" and "Out of Sight," plus "Psycho Path—The Vintage Hollis Mix," with Public Enemy's Chuck D's exhortations giving Wesley's growling trombone a run for its money. It's irresistible stuff. As he shouts at the beginning of the track: "If you ain't got no soul, we'll loan you some." Chuck won't be at Troc's, but rapper Lyrics Born, who's been dabbling with funk himself lately, will be on hand. 18+.
Fri., April 17, 8 p.m., 2009