Jazz music, news and views

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

RIP James Brown


"'Funky' is about the injustices, the things that go wrong, the hungry kids going to school trying to learn. 'Funky' is about what it takes to make people move -- take it from the gospel, from the jazz." -- James Brown
Sadly, there's no moratorium on deaths on holidays. The "Godfather of Soul," James Brown passed away. He successfully underwent surgery for prostate cancer two years ago but was diagnosed with pneumonia this past weekend and died of heart failure at 73 years old early on Christmas Day. He maintained an exhaustive touring schedule and seemed to deserve the title "the hardest working man in show business." And while there's no replacement for him, fans who got to see him perform always got plenty of JB to live off of for a while. He prided himself on always giving his fans more than they paid for -- funk, groove and soul by the truckload, not to mention his jubilant, frenzied showmanship. In an interview with the PBS American Masters series, Brown's tenor saxophonist Pee Wee Ellis said, "When you heard James Brown was coming to town, you stopped what you were doing and started saving your money."

A 1998 interview of Brown by Chaunce Hayden of Time Out New York closed with this exchange:
TONY: How would you want to be remembered in the rock & roll books?
JB: I want to be the one who took the low side and made it the high side.
NPR:
Fresh Air interview with Terry Gross, 2005
Live concert webcast, Washington D.C., 2005

Appreciations:
BBC
JazzTimes
LA Times
NY Times
Public Enemy
Up the Downstair (with a download of a 1969 show)

Vintage vids:
"Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine"
"Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine" (1970s)
"I Got You (I Feel Good)"
"Out of Sight"

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