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  • James Brown

    Here's my post about this incredible musician and personality on another forum.

    This is the passing of an absolute Titan of 20th century music. A musician of the highest order. Not to mention his unique and unmatched gifts as an entertainer.

    Among his contributions:

    Funk Music:
    Sure he has roots that lead to it but he flat out invented the style and remains it's greatest practitioner: everyone was trying to reach his level in it - no one did.

    Minimalism in Popular Music:
    Sitting in a repetitive groove forever as in Sex Machine is to me the greatest form a minimalism. In the Classic movement things shift and go out of phase. In James' music it doesn't have to because the goal is attained straightaway and doesn't need to go anywhere else. Sort of like arriving in Heaven - it was for me as a 12 year old boy any way.

    Band arranging:
    If you think his brass and rhythm players came up with those seminal parts and figures think again. He was all over every aspect of his music and if things weren't right he would change it. Not to minimize the contribution of his great players but James was like Miles Davis or Louis Armstrong: it was his ears that said 'this is my sound right hear so yeah that's the part' or he would flat out write it or whatever.

    James Brown is one of those guys you just can't stop talking about because everything he did was teaming with effortless, original, genius. His songwriting, singing, dancing, studio and live music, chart topping success and influence on several generations of musicians all stand alone as the fruit of a stunningly God-gifted musician who indeed brought a whole lot of Heaven to this difficult Earth. I guess he's just gone back now.

  • Aye he was the man when it came to R&B (that's real R&B, not the crap that gets produced these days [:P]). We'll miss him.

  • I was in a record store in NY one evening in the late 1990s and on the store speakers a song I had never heard was playing. Since my orientation in music is 1. Musical Theater and 2. "Classical", it wasn't strange to me that I didn't know the this Pop/Funk piece. After only a few seconds though, I said to the young lady I was with that I didn't know of anyone who could groove like that except James Brown who, I thought, was in Jail. We asked a clerk who informed us that, in fact, Mr Brown was no longer in jail and that this was his latest album with all new tunes.

    Of course, we both bought copies, more to support the artist than anything else. Yes, I did listen to it and yes, it did have that inimitable James Brown sound and style without, in my opinon, being a rehash of old stuff.

    For me, besides his iconic status in his area of music, this experience was symbolic of his uniqueness. That even I, someone who doesn't generally listen to that type of music, would instantly recognize entirely new works by this great artist/entertainer.

    James Brown, I salute you.


  • One of his albums contains a few lines of an "interview" with the the Godfather where he says something like, "What they do now, I did 20 years before already".

    How true.

    /Dietz - Vienna Symphonic Library
  • PaulP Paul moved this topic from Orchestration & Composition on