Leo Nocentelli was one of the original members of the Meters, a groundbreaking funk group based in New Orleans from the mid-'60s to the mid-'70s. The band, playing mostly instrumentals, stayed at the forefront of the music scene in the Big Easy and achieved a good measure of national attention with Nocentelli penning songs and contributing guitar work. He has since gone out on his own developing his style with varied elements that span blues, rock, rap, jazz, and funk, but he considers himself a funk musician, first and foremost. He and his band have performed from coast to coast across the U.S., including an appearance at New Orleans' Jazz & Heritage Festival. He has penned more than 200 songs, some of which were recorded by Robert Palmer, Joe Cocker, Etta James, the Neville Brothers, Z.Z. Hill, Albert King, and George Duke.
Bernie Worrell first came to prominence as a founding member and Musical Director of Parliament/Funkadelic. While this massively influential supergroup was radically altering the course of music, Bernie was radically charting the course of emerging keyboard technology during the golden age of analog synthesis. Among the key ingredients in his sonic stew were perfect pitch and a well-honed facility with the classical canon.
A child prodigy who began studying piano at the tender age of three and gave his first public performance just a year later, Worrell wrote his first concerto at age eight and performed with the Washington Symphony Orchestra at ten. His classical studies would continue throughout his adolescence, including private lessons at the Julliard School of Music, before he entered the New England Conservatory of Music.
Upon leaving the Conservatory, Worrell served for several years as Musical Director for Maxine Brown before joining George Clinton's Parliament/Funkadelic crew. Worrell then proceeded to provide this freewheeling collective with a structural foundation which, while occasionally implied, was ever present. At the same time, he explored and expanded his own musical ideas in every conceivable direction with a brazenness which was both revolutionary and evolutionary. From fanciful forays on clavinet which leaped without warning from guttural gulps to squiggly squeals to liquid Minimoog bass lines which herded listeners to the dance floor, it all represented new musical language. All the while, his rapid advancements of the synthesizer's potential were actually traceable to his classical foundation.
Fred Wesley is the trombonist, composer, arranger, bandleader and author known worldwide as one of the architects of funk music. Fred's work with Godfather of Soul James Brown in the 1970s established him as the world's funkiest trombone player.
Today he fronts his own jazz-funk band, the New JBs, passes his expertise along to students and younger musicians around the world, and lends his fire to assorted artists across a broad musical spectrum.