So there I was, being handed a cell phone from the calloused hand of Clyde Stubblefield, the original "Funky Drummer." He says to me,
I took the phone in my hand and saw that there was a call in progress. I put the phone to my ear and asked,
"Hello? Who's this?"
"This is Fred Wesley," said the voice on the other end.
I instantly became star-struck and could barely think of anything to say to him. I was somehow able to communicate that I was a trombonist, and attempted to express what an honor it was to speak with him. At this point, Mr. Wesley spoke (and I mean spoke), and for whatever reason the cell phone reception began to fade in and out. After a few seconds, I was able to hear his voice again as he finished his thought, and I asked,
"What was that" sir? He replied, "I speak the Truth."
After a moment had passed for this information to sink into my brain, he finally said, "Put Clyde back on the phone." And I made it so.
Now, the reason why I haven't written much commentary on these recent solos is that Fred Wesley speaks the Truth, himself. Any extra analysis on my part is merely static, the white noise that obscures the clear path to the Truth. In order to understand this, one must dig deep into these solos and realize the level of technicality to Fred's playing, how he feels the music, and the soul of his style. Can you dig it?
Here's a YouTube video of Fred doing his thing (10 min).
Recommended Reading: Hit Me Fred: Recollections of a Sideman by Fred Wesley Jr. Published by Duke University Press.