For all intents and purposes, the JB’s were the first band playing Funk music. They formed as James Brown’s backing band in 1970, following a pay dispute between Brown and his former band. Brown taught the band to “play it on the one!” (the first note of a measure) and let them improvise from there, leading to incredible Funk improvisation. In addition to backing The Godfather of Soul, they backed Funk and soul legends Lyn Collins and Bobby Byrd.
The JB’s lineup was a constantly evolving mix of absolutely incredible Funk talent. Among the “Original JBs” were Bobby Byrd (organ), Jabo Starks (drums), and the two Collins brothers, Bootsy (bass) and Catfish (guitar). Horns players Fred Wesley and Maceo Parker also rejoined the group in 1970. Catfish, Bootsy, Fred and Maceo all left The JB’s to join George Clinton’s Parliament-Funkadelic collective. The band essentially disbanded after Fred and Maceo left in 1976, but not before giving the world some of the best, raw Funk ever made.