Legendary saxophonist and band leader Pee Wee Ellis dies, aged 80

Legendary jazz saxophonist and bandleader Alfred James “Pee Wee” Ellis has died.

Best known for his work with artists including Van Morrison and James Brown, the Florida-born musician passed away at his home in Wiltshire following complications with his heart. He was 80.

“With great sadness we have to announce that Pee Wee passed away last night,” said Ellis’ family in a statement. “We are working on plans to celebrate his wonderful life and hope you will all take time to listen to his music and continue his legacy.”

Among those who paid tributes to the musician, who was known for his playing on James Brown tracks including ‘Say It Loud — I’m Black and I’m Proud’, was Parliament-Funkadelic bassist Bootsy Collins.

“We just lost another bandmate and legend, Mr. Alfred “Pee Wee” Ellis,” said Collins. “He was a member of James Brown’s band in the ’60s, recording many of Brown’s recordings ‘Cold Sweat”, ‘Say It Loud’. He also worked with Van Morrison. A silent genius and brilliant arrangements.”

In the UK, new experimental sounds born from the jazz tradition are transforming the live experience.

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