Coming up with Pee Wee Ellis

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Coming up with Pee Wee Ellis

Brighter Sound is pleased to announce two special events — FUNK: Foundation feat. The Pee Wee Ellis Funk Assembly and a film screening of Mr. Dynamite with an exclusive Q&A with Pee Wee Ellis.

Pee Wee Ellis FUNK: Foundation is the ninth in our series of artistic residencies for emerging musicians and will see 15 funk and jazz musicians collaborate with Pee Wee Ellis and Gary Winters (Fred Wesley, Aretha Franklin, George Clinton), forming two self-contained funk outfits to devise a 40-minute set of new music. The newly created music will then be premiered at a special show on Sunday 20 August, including a headline set from The Pee Wee Ellis Funk Assembly. Book your tickets now.

“I am excited to have this opportunity to work with upcoming musicians and contribute to the development of their on-going musical life. It is a pleasure to share my knowledge of how to be a complete musician, arranging, writing and working with other musicians to play together in a band, passing on what I’ve learned in sixty years of doing what I love.” – Pee Wee Ellis

If you’re interested in taking part in this innovative four-day intensive residency from Thursday 17 – Sunday 20 August, you have till midnight on Tuesday 18 July to apply.

Pee Wee Ellis, often credited as ‘The Man Who Invented Funk’, introduced the dynamic arrangements and driving rhythms that would define the emerging language of funk in James Brown’s band in the late 1960’s. He went on to co-write and arrange a series of smashes, including “Cold Sweat” and “Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud”, as well as issuing a handful of solo singles on Brown’s label King.

Alongside this residency and concluding showcase performance, we’re excited to present a special screening of Mr. Dynamite followed by a Q&A with Pee Wee Ellis. Mr. Dynamite charts the phenomenal rise and lasting influence of soul singer James Brown, from his first hit “Please, Please, Please” in 1956.  The film follows the journey of Brown as he escaped his impoverished Southern roots to become the biggest name in soul music, and one of the most important music talents of the 20th Century. The Q&A with Pee Wee Ellis will follow the screening on Saturday 19 August. Book your tickets now.

We’re also offering a special combo offer for the Pee Wee Ellis FUNK: Foundation gig and the Q&A plus film screening. Book both for £15 (saving £3.50).


The residency is the ninth in Brighter Sound’s Artistic Directors Series, a ground-breaking programme to champion and support emerging musicians, providing time and space for them to test ideas, experiment and develop creatively under the direction of a high-profile, acclaimed international artist.