Tag: James Brown

R.I.P. Clyde Stubblefield, 73, James Brown’s Legendary ‘Funky Drummer’ 

Clyde Stubblefield (photo via nytimes.com)

article by  via nytimes.com

It took only 20 seconds for Clyde Stubblefield to drum his way to immortality. They came near the end of James Brown’s “Funky Drummer,” recorded in a Cincinnati studio in late 1969. Brown counts him in — “1, 2, 3, 4. Hit it!” — and Mr. Stubblefield eases into a cool pattern, part bendy funk and part hard march. It’s calm, slick and precise, and atop it, Brown asks over and over, “Ain’t it funky?”

It was. That brief snippet of percussion excellence became the platonic ideal of a breakbeat, the foundation of hip-hop’s sampling era and a direct through line from the ferocious soul music of the civil rights era to the golden age of history-minded hip-hop of the 1980s and 1990s.

Though Mr. Stubblefield wasn’t enamored of the song — “I didn’t like the song. I still don’t really get off on it,” he told Paste magazine in 2014— its mark became indelible. Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power,” LL Cool J’s “Mama Said Knock You Out,” Boogie Down Productions’ “South Bronx,” Sinead O’Connor’s “I Am Stretched on Your Grave,” George Michael’s “Freedom! ’90” and Kenny G’s “G-Bop”: Mr. Stubblefield’s “Funky Drummer” break appeared as a sample in all of those songs, and over a thousand more, from the 1980s to the present day. It made Mr. Stubblefield, who died on Saturday in Madison, Wis., at 73, perhaps the most sampled drummer in history.

The cause was kidney failure, said his manager, Kathie Williams.

Mr. Stubblefield was born on April 18, 1943, and grew up in Chattanooga, Tenn., where he was drawn to the rhythms of local industrial sounds, from factories to trains. “There was a factory there that puffed out air — pop-BOOM, pop-BOOM — hit the mountains and came back as an echo,” he told Isthmus in 2015. “And train tracks — click-clack, click-clack. I listened to all that for six years, playing my drums against it.”

By his late teenage years, he was already playing drums professionally, and he moved to Macon, Ga., after playing with Otis Redding, who hailed from there. There, he performed with local soul acts, and was introduced to Brown by a club owner. Soon, he was flying to join Brown on the road, and became a permanent band member.

He performed with him on and off for about six years, one of two key drummers — the other was John Starks, who was also known as Jabo — playing on the essential James Brown albums of the civil rights era: “Cold Sweat,” “I Got the Feelin’,” “It’s a Mother,” “Say It Loud — I’m Black and I’m Proud” and “Sex Machine.” He performed at some of Brown’s most important concerts, including at the Boston Garden after the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and for United States service members in Vietnam.

His sharp funk provided the anchor on anthems like “Cold Sweat,” “Say It Loud — I’m Black and I’m Proud,” and “I Got The Feelin’.” Always, his playing was complex but collected — his flourishes between beats were as essential as the beat itself. Brown demanded a lot of his band, and Mr. Stubblefield, with playing that had punch, nimbleness and wet texture, never appeared to be breaking a sweat.

To read full article, go to: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/18/arts/music/clyde-stubblefield-dead.htmlrref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Farts&action=click&contentCollection=arts&region=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=9&pgtype=sectionfront&_r=0

Documentary “Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown” Debuts Tonight on HBO

“Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown,” a documentary by Alex Gibney, is being shown Monday on HBO. (Credit: Walter Iooss Jr./Getty Images)

There is one interview I remember from my early days as a reporter, and I often recite a line from it because it’s the best answer I’ve ever gotten and ever will get. Naturally, it came from James Brown.

It was in 1989, when he was in prison for, among other things, capping a long bout of partying with a high-speed chase through Georgia and South Carolina that ended only after police officers shot out his tires.

I was a Time magazine reporter, and he was working in the prison cafeteria. The warden let me wave through a window at Brown as he wiped down tables in a cook’s white coat and cap, embellished by purple wraparound sunglasses and matching scarf. Brown was allowed to speak by phone.

I didn’t even know where to begin, so I asked how he was feeling.  “I’m well rested now,” he said, and waited a beat. “But I miss being tired.”

That reply is almost reason enough for watching “Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown,” an HBO documentary directed by Alex Gibney. But there are plenty of others. This is a smart, informative and compassionate look at the artist known as the Godfather of Soul, whose music changed America.

“Mr. Dynamite” is an informative and compassionate look at James Brown, whose R&B, soul and funk altered American music. CreditEmilio Grossi/HBO

Brown, who died in 2006, was a fascinating figure. Just this year, he inspired a biographical movie, “Get On Up,” with Chadwick Boseman as Brown, and there have been a steady stream of biographies, including two memoirs that he wrote with co-authors.

He was a magnetic, kinetic master of R&B, soul and funk, with roots in gospel and big-band music. He was a beloved performer and an often terrible boss and violent husband. (His third wife, Adrienne Lois Rodriguez, told me he once laid out her mink coat on the bed and then shot it.) He played an important role at critical moments in the civil rights movement and also shocked his fans by supporting Richard M. Nixon in 1972.

Of course, there is also the music.  The film opens with Brown sweating through a muscle T-shirt and chanting the opening words of “Soul Power” to a frenzied audience at the Olympia in Paris in 1971.

The narrative threads his scratch-poor boyhood dancing for nickels in the segregated South to his lasting influence on rock, hip-hop and rap. The film doesn’t dwell on his sad last days, but it does address his many contradictions — personal, musical and political. All of it is set to the beat of his music, which gets the last word.

Continue reading “Documentary “Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown” Debuts Tonight on HBO”

James Brown Finally Gets Harlem Street Named After Him on November 22

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It’s been eight years since the “Godfather of Soul,” James Brown (pictured) passed away at age 73.  Now after an uphill six-year effort by historian Jacob Morris, along with the National Black Theatre, a street behind the famed Harlem Apollo Theatre is finally being renamed James Brown Way to honor the musical icon, according to the New York Daily News.

The street that will bear the name of the legendary performer is located on 126th between Adam Clayton Powell Jr. and Frederick Douglass Blvds.  According to Morris, he was also looking to have some fanfare attached to the renaming of the street, a ceremony of sorts that would truly pay homage to the caliber of performer Brown was, the archivist tells the New York Daily News, “I didn’t want to put the sign up until we could do a ceremony that’s of James Brown stature.”

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The guest list of luminaries who will reportedly attend the November 22 street renaming will be none other than the Rev. Al Sharpton, who will be a keynote speaker and who also considered Brown a mentor and father figure.  A few of Brown’s relatives will also be present for the eventful honor, including his daughter Deanna Brown Thomas.

Brown had a long history of playing at the Apollo, the venue where he made his explosive debut and honed his reputation for high energy, dynamic concerts.  Two days after Brown’s passing from congestive heart failure on Christmas day in 2006, his body was transported in a gold coffin to the legendary theater and put on view, so that the public could visit and pay their respects to the soul showman.  Brown Thomas told the New York Daily News, “It [the Apollo] is where the eyes of the world came to watch my father.  If he was here he’d be thanking God for people loving him enough to put his name on that street.”

The ceremony will commence at 1 p.m. and will be followed by a 2 p.m. screening of “James Brown: The Man, The Music & The Message” at the National Black Theatre.

article by Ruth Manuel-Logan via newsone.com

Chadwick Boseman Lands Lead Role in Marvel’s “Black Panther”

Chadwick Boseman Horizontal - H 2013
Chadwick Boseman (Getty Images)

Chadwick Boseman will be Marvel Studios’ first solo lead of color, with the news that he will take the title role in the newly announced Black Panther movie, one of several new titles revealed at this morning’s Marvel Studios event at the El Capitan Theatre in Los Angeles.

Boseman will play T’Challa, the head of the fictional African nation of Wakanda, in the movie, which is scheduled to be released Nov. 3, 2017. The Black Panther — created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby — was a long-serving member of the Avengers who also enjoyed multiple critically acclaimed solo runs throughout his 48-year history.

Boseman is best known for his roles in 42 and Get On Up, playing Jackie Robinson and James Brown, respectively. He’s repped by Greene & Associates Talent Agency, Management 360 and Ziffren Brittenham.

While no other information about the project was released at the event, the studio revealed show concept art for the character, shared on Twitter by Marvel’s Ryan Penagos.

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article by Graeme McMillan via hollywoodreporter.com

James Brown is Celebrated in “Get On Up”, Opening this Friday

Chadwick Boseman as Brown in the new biopic “Get On Up.” (Credit: D Stevens/Universal Studios)

It’s just the kind of movie clip YouTube was made for. In the 1965 Frankie Avalon vehicle,“Ski Party,” James Brown and his backing vocal group, the Famous Flames, enter a ski lodge after rescuing a frozen reveler. Resplendent in a white-and-red sweater, tight black slacks, black pointy-toed shoes and a regal pompadour, Brown performs “I Got You (I Feel Good),” giving the lily-white crowd of clapping skiers a taste of the showmanship that had made him a star on the so-called “chitlin circuit” among blacks. Even in a movie as disposable as “Ski Party,” Brown turned a corny scene into genuine entertainment.

In the biopic “Get On Up,” opening Friday, the filmmakers recreate this moment, trying to see it from Brown’s point of view. While he glides through his steps, we see slow-motion shots of the listeners as if they were creatures from another, whiter planet, one Brown is reluctantly visiting in hopes of reaching a wider audience. In that scene, Brown dances off the set. In the new film, he does a split but doesn’t come up, apparently having ripped his pants. The new moment is slightly comic but undercuts Brown’s mastery.

Depicting James Brown on screen has always been a seductive proposition. As one of the greatest stage performers of the 20th century, he has inspired documentarians, playwrights, comedians and other artists who see the outlines of his greatness. But capturing the man inside, and the meaning of his life, is a tricky business.

Brown at the Roseland Ballroom in New York in 2004.CreditFrank Micelotta/Getty Images

There was a fluidity to his identity that was reflected in his many stage nicknames: Mr. Dynamite, the hardest working man in show business, Soul Brother No. 1, the Godfather of Soul and the Original Disco Man, as he variously billed himself. All enduring pop stars have the ability to shift with the culture, but Brown’s moves — from staunch integrationist to proto-black nationalist and back, from civil rights role model to wife beater, from disciplined bandleader to drug addict — suggest an inner turmoil that belied his outer confidence. Shortly after his death, I helped edit a collection of articles that spanned Brown’s long career, and in reading the pieces was struck by how many journalists saw the contours of the man but struggled to truly penetrate his psyche. With a feature film about to arrive and a coming documentary, it’s time to take stock of this imposing figure.
Brown, who died on Christmas Day 2006, began his career in the ’50s under the spell of Little Richard and ended it as a major influence on current singer-dancers like Usher and Chris Brown. Michael Jackson and Prince, of course, were acolytes. Reared on gospel, blues and jazz, Brown was a dominant force in the soul ’60s, created funk, inspired disco and laid hip-hop’s foundation with his beats.

As important as Brown was on vinyl, his stage show and personality are legendary: Tilting a mike stand far forward and, before it hit the stage, pulling it back via the cord. Dropping into and rising out of splits. Feigning exhaustion and donning a regal cape before returning to sing again. Executing every new dance from the ’60s to the ’80s with deft steps and body control made Brown a dominant figure during an explosive era for pop music.

Continue reading “James Brown is Celebrated in “Get On Up”, Opening this Friday”

Dedicated James Brown Channel Launched on YouTube (Video)

james brown

YouTube hopes users will get on the good foot with its new James Brown channel, featuring, concert footage, testimonials — and, of course, opportunities to purchase DVDs and other merchandise, reports Deadline.com.

The channel (youtube.com/jamesbrownofficial and shoutfactory.com/jamesbrown) is a partnership between the James Brown Estate and label Shout Factory, which distributes the Godfather of Soul’s properties.

“These digital destinations will continue to evolve as we program content specific to key events as well as discover and add new video assets, leveraging Shout Factory’s unique content curation capabilities,” says Jeffrey Thompson, Shout Factory’s VP of digital strategy and business development.

The launch coincides with the 45th anniversary of Brown’s Boston concert following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. Many historians believe that the concert helped to prevent riots from breaking out as they had in several other cities.

original article via eurweb.com

Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston Lead Inaugural Class for Induction to R&B Music Hall of Fame

michael jackson & whitney houston

Robinson Global Sports & Entertainment Group LLC has announced it plans to develop the Official R&B Music Hall of Fame Museum that will be a state-of-the-art, highly interactive, virtual reality experience for individuals of all ages and cultures.  It will memorialize rhythm artists, promoters and others that have contributed to this music genre.  Its educational and preservation values alone are needed and have been welcomed and by many U.S. cities:  Cleveland, Ohio Mayor Frank G. Jackson; East Cleveland, Ohio Mayor Gary Norton; Detroit, Michigan’s The New Detroit Entertainment Inc and the Motown Alumni Association; Memphis, Tennessee Mayor A.C. Wharton, Jr. Continue reading “Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston Lead Inaugural Class for Induction to R&B Music Hall of Fame”

GBN Quote Of The Day

“Sometimes you struggle so hard to feed your family one way, you forget to feed them the other way, with spiritual nourishment. Everybody needs that.”

— James Brown, singer, musician & the “Godfather Of Soul”

Dance Theatre Of Harlem Makes Triumphant Return

dance theatre of harlem

The legendary Dance Theatre of Harlem Company is back after an eight-year hiatus and they are in top form. Almost a decade of re-organization, leadership building and increased fundraising efforts culminated into a dazzling preview performance in Manhattan at El Museo del Barrio. Continue reading “Dance Theatre Of Harlem Makes Triumphant Return”

The Good Things Black People Do, Give and Receive All Over The World
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