Like an old-fashioned Saturday night tent revival, the world's greatest funk trombonist came to town and made the lame dance and the doubters believe. Fred Wesley, 70 years old and a man who helped give funk the feel in its infancy (when he wasn't reading charts under Count Basie), blew smooth, then warm and then finally rip-roaring hot funk at the Hot Times Festival downtown on the grounds of the old Highway Patrol building. Those old walls of trouble, strength and justice still stood at the end of the night but only just. Jericho wasn't achieved but the tent roof was figuratively raised and the spirits therein literally.      Opening with Sultry Zambia, it was pleasant. Fred up there--have stool, will travel--flanked by a crack band of locals handpicked by "Superfly" guitarist and the night's musical director, Craig Mac, the sound was of jazz ripples on a placid rhythm. Bop To The Boogie came next, its title more energetic than its content at which point I dove into my $5 bag of Ohio-grown, freshly kettle-popped popcorn by an outfit named "Cosmic." Under the influence of nothing but a mildly humid late summer's night--actually a romantically bit heady proposition in its own right, I'll admit--I was more naturally stoned by the most terrific bag of popcorn I'd ever wolfed down. "Bop To The Boogie" was merely background.      Next, a ballad, of all things, put the show on the map. Oh, Baby had Fred and his two OSU jazz school horn players, saxist Dan White and trumpeter Jon Lampley, not so much blowing as oozing sexy mellow phrasing, like they were whispering sweet nothings into the ear of their nearest and dearest. Fred hit a triplet followed by a moaning sustain that stopped me in mid-cud-like popcorn-chewing, a mouthful of Cosmic deliciousness waiting to be masticated as I stood stunned by Fred's phrasing. Truly, the trombone is the most underestimated, underrated instrument in the cosmos.      As the song of love and heat was gently guided through its tender paces, the pros onstage milked that baby for every feel it was worth, like a get-to-know-you session of foreplay that was equal to the act itself. Punk rock is never sexy, jazz sometimes is, but jazzed-up funksters doing a ballad is seduction without words. Lethally effective, in other words.      Then came trouble.      You know, life isn't easy for sidemen, especially when they're texted half the set list but a few hours before the show. Consequently, the band's performance of the somewhat complex New Orleans blues-funk-party-groove of Earl King's Trick Bag, a Wesley staple, displeased the master and with a wave of his arm dismissed their efforts and shouted out, PASS THE PEAS!       Party on!       The great J.B.'s instrumental-with-chant rocketed the night's energy where it should've been from the git. Namely, hard funk, loving funk, beautiful funk, better-than-anything-OSU-will-ever-play-at halftime-funk. Now EVERYBODY in the tent is moving. Those on their feet are locked into the James Brown groove as happy as a newly freed police line-up of innocent suspects. Those at the tables were rocking their metal chairs. Fred and company had unleashed energy. The big tent was now like a giant lava-lamp shook up real crazy. Beautiful--and transformational.        Playing by feel had overtaken the provided charts, which hadn't been much help to begin with because of poor planning--none of which could be placed on our homegrown talent. Trumpeter Lampley took everything to an even higher energy level with his emotionally white-hot solo, Fred watching with genuine admiration, a true complement. I swear, there's got to be some significant amount of Puerto Rican blood in Lampley because he was smoking like David Sanchez, one of my San Juan heroes.        From that point on, after one song was abandoned mid-tempo--a potential embarrassment (but wasn't)--and then rescued by the J.B.'s signature song and followed by two more hip-smackers, what was achieved? Hot funk redemption on a Saturday night, preached through the trombone by a man who resembled Fats Waller dressed as a southern diplomat, rocking like a cat on a hot tin roof. Just without the suspenders.