Pee Wee Ellis FUNK: Foundation – closed

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Funk and jazz saxophone legend Pee Wee Ellis leads the ninth in Brighter Sound’s Artistic Directors Series for emerging musicians. Find out more and apply to Pee Wee Ellis FUNK: Foundation…

Pee Wee Ellis FUNK: Foundation – closed
27th June 2017

Funk and jazz saxophone legend Pee Wee Ellis leads the ninth in Brighter Sound’s Artistic Directors Series for emerging musicians. Find out more and apply to Pee Wee Ellis FUNK: Foundation…

Brighter Sound is proud to welcome funk and jazz saxophone legend Pee Wee Ellis to lead the ninth in our series of artistic residencies for emerging musicians – Pee Wee Ellis FUNK: Foundation.

Pee Wee Ellis, the renowned architect of James Brown’s era-defining soul classics of the late ’60s, and trumpet player, arranger and composer Gary Winters will lead a four-day intensive residency at Band on the Wall in Manchester from Thursday 17 – Sunday 20 August. 


We are looking for 14 talented emerging funk, soul and jazz musicians from across the UK to collaborate, create and perform new music with Pee Wee Ellis and Gary Winters (Fred Wesley and the New JBs). The showcase performance will be on the evening of 20 August at our host venue and project partner, Band on the Wall.

“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

Brighter Sound is inviting applications from 14 emerging musicians to form two self-contained funk outfits to devise a 40-minute set of new music. We are looking specifically for musicians who play the following:

  • Bass Guitar
  • Drums
  • Guitar
  • Keyboard
  • Trumpet
  • Saxophone (any variation – alto, tenor, baritone)
  • Trombone

We will accept applications from existing bands although each band member must submit a separate application.

Saxophonist Pee Wee Ellis 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. Ellis channelled the lessons of his jazz background to strip Brown’s music to its bare essentials, showcasing bold, precise horns and infectious grooves with a minimum of melodic embellishment; hits like “Cold Sweat” and “Licking Stick-Licking Stick” redefined the sound and scope of soul, pointing the way for its transformation to funk. Ellis went on to co-write and arrange a series of James Brown smashes, including “Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud” and “Mother Popcorn” as well as issuing a handful of solo singles on Brown’s label King, among them “Little Green Apples” and “In the Middle.” Ellis also wrote the jazz funk standard “The Chicken”, made famous by Jaco Pastorius.

Trumpet player Gary Winters is a member of Fred Wesley and the New JB’s. He is an established jazz and commercial musician, arranger and educator, founding and co-directing ‘Funk 101’ open workshops with Pee Wee. Currently living in Germany, Gary has recorded with funk artists Pee Wee Ellis, Fred Wesley, Bootsy Collins, George Clinton, Bobby Byrd, Lenny Kravitz and performed with artists that include The Temptations, Lionel Richie, and Aretha Franklin among many others.


Application Information:

Dates: Thurs 17 – Sun 20 August inclusive
Times: 10am – 4pm each day with possible extended evening sessions if required

Final live showcase: Sun 20 August, 8pm

Applicants must be:

  • Aged 18 or over
  • From or based in the UK
  • Available to attend all sessions in person at Band on the Wall, Manchester.

Each participant will receive expenses of £20 per diem
We can offer accommodation where necessary

We cannot cover any additional travel costs incurred

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Tues 18 July, midnight


You can download the application questions so that you can prepare your answers, but applications must be submitted online.*

*We are committed to supporting and meeting the needs of people with learning difficulties or disabilities. If you require the application in a different format or have difficulty completing your application online, please call us to discuss alternative options on 0161 830 3899.

Successful applicants will be notified no later than Thurs 27 July.

For more information about this project please contact Tim Chatterton on or call 0161 830 3899.

Photo credit: Heinrich Buttler