King Bee is a seven piece (sometimes eight) funk band based in Newcastle upon Tyne. Formed in 2011 by mates Dave Wilde (sax flute and vocals) and Chris Jelly (vibraphone) the band writes all its own material. The current line-up has changed little over the years, and as a result created its own extremely tight distinctive, sometimes psychedelic, but always phat funk driven sound. Comprising musicians who have many years experience playing writing and recording successfully in the UK Europe and Australia before coming together to establish King Bee.
A demo release of the dance-floor track “Return of the Dave” back in 2012 was soon picked up by Blues and Soul Magazine, and with airplay at BBC Introducing and Solar Radio London amongst other stations…
“Return of the Dave is an absolute gem, with its mesmeric and propulsive groove underpinned by the toughest of rhythm sections and peppered with exciting flute”…Emrys Baird Blues and Soul.
Recorded at Loft Music Studios in Newcastle and mastered at Elysian Masters in Los Angeles, the eponymous debut album “King Bee” was released in May 2014.
“A new groove classic. This one has it all, from the arrangements to the players to the exceptional spacious recordings…” Dave Cooley. Elysian Mastering, Los Angeles.
The album received critical acclaim and in a full review by the legendary Blues and Soul Magazine scored 8 from 10….
“This engrossing Geordie outfit play with a passion encompassing jazz, funk and smoking grooves which are stamped all over this certified classic. This is an album you can play straight through without pressing stop” Emrys Baird Blues and Soul Magazine.
Radio support of the album was continued by BBC London and Robert Elms, The Craig Charles Funk and Soul Show at BBC 6 Music, Jazz House at BBC Scotland, Mike Chadwick at Jazz FM and by a whole catalogue of other stations worldwide. Playlisted in its entirety by All Jazz Radio in Capetown South Africa and latterly the band supplied a specially written theme tune for DJ Kurtis Powers at The Face Radio’s syndicated station in Brooklyn New York City.
ng Bee has played to audiences at renowned venues up and down the country with the annual King Bee Christmas Party being an established fixture on the North East funk scene and a firm favourite at Hoochie Coochie Newcastle.
In April 2015 it was privileged to perform at Sage Gateshead for the Gateshead International Jazz Festival, and two months later the band’s vibes player and co-founder Chris Jelly found himself invited to play with his musical hero and jazz funk legend Roy Ayers and Band on stage at a sold-out Hoochie Coochie.
In May 2016 King Bee was invited to play exclusively with Lonnie Liston Smith and Roy Ayers at Ashford School in Kent. Further high profile performances at Lindisfarne Festival, Edinburgh Jazz Bar during both the Jazz Festival and The Fringe, and to a sold out Band on the Wall Manchester exclusively supporting Craig Charles at his Funk and Soul Club amongst many other gigs cemented the bands position as an outstanding and much talked about live performers.
In January 2016 King Bee released its first 7 inch vinyl single ‘Money Gone’ as a 200 piece limited edition, which quickly sold out after reaching Number One in the Best Selling Vinyl Funk Chart at Juno Records, receiving a 9 out of 10 from the prestigious Blues and Soul Magazine. The flip side consisted of a remix by renowned DJ Producer Smoove, and the track became much sought after on the dance floor and a big success with DJ’s both in the UK and Europe.
The tune was also picked up by Craig Charles at BBC Radio 6 Music before its release date, and found its way into his ’Best Funk and Soul Stompers of 2015’ review show!
“A Revelation!”…Craig Charles Funk and Soul Show BBCRadio6Music
“These guys are consummate musicians and do not take prisoners”… Blues and Soul Magazine
A pre-release of new work ‘Bee to the Flower’ has just been played out on BBC 6Music. Constantly writing new material, a 12 inch vinyl recording is currently in production and will feature some well- known names in the world of funk and jazz, together with a supporting video. Expect a few surprises.
With an ever expanding diary for 2017, these are exciting times for King Bee.