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Pee Wee Ellis, James Brown’s Companion in Funk, Dies at 80


However relentless touring and recording with the James Brown band was grueling, and because the Nineteen Sixties ended Mr. Ellis determined to return to jazz. Within the Nineteen Seventies he organized and performed the music for full albums by George Benson and Johnny Hammond; he additionally recorded with Esther Phillips, Leon Thomas, Hank Crawford, Shirley Scott, Sonny Stitt and Dave Liebman. He launched his first full album as a pacesetter, “Home in the Country,” in 1977.

Mr. Ellis was invited to do horn preparations for Van Morrison’s 1979 album, “Into the Music,” beginning a lasting relationship. He appeared on Mr. Morrison’s albums for the following 20 years, and had stints because the musical director for Mr. Morrison within the Nineteen Eighties and Nineties.

Within the ’90s and 2000s Mr. Ellis rejoined the saxophonist Maceo Parker and the trombonist Fred Wesley, bandmates from his years with Mr. Brown, to carry out and make albums underneath varied names, together with the J.B. Horns and the J.B.’s Reunion.

He led his personal group, the Pee Wee Ellis Assembly, and made greater than a dozen jazz albums as a pacesetter. His touring tasks included a stint within the 2010s with a quartet led by Mr. Baker, the drummer from Cream, and “Still Black Still Proud,” a James Brown tribute that includes African musicians.

He additionally performed classes for, amongst many others, De La Soul, 10,000 Maniacs, Walter Wolfman Washington, Poncho Sanchez, Oumou Sangaré, Toumani Diabaté, Cheikh Lo and Ali Farka Touré. (Data on his survivors was not instantly accessible.)

Mr. Ellis advised The American that he was happiest when collaborating. “Part of the magic,” he mentioned, “is joining forces and making something happen from nowhere.”



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