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Daily articles carefully curated by the All About Jazz staff. Read our popular and future articles.

BUILDING A JAZZ LIBRARY

Classic Funk

Read "Classic Funk" reviewed by Chris M. Slawecki

This article was originally published in August 2005. In rendering his decision in a 1964 obscenity trial, Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart wrote: “I shall not today attempt to further define [pornography]... but I know it when I see it." You really can't define the Funk, either. In a typical four/four stomp, Funk comes down hard “on the one," sure. And Funk often uses such instruments as guitars and keyboards more rhythmically (like percussion) than melodically. ...

BOOK REVIEW

RJ Smith: The One - The Life and Music of James Brown

Read "RJ Smith: The One - The Life and Music of James Brown" reviewed by Jeff Dayton-Johnson

The One: The Life and Music of James Brown RJ SmithHardcover, 464 pagesISBN: 978-1592406579Gotham Books2012James Brown (1933-2006): singer, bandleader, composer, impresario, self-made man-- Amiri Baraka called him “our number one black poet." Brown describes himself, in the pages of RJ Smith's biography, as “75 percent businessman and 25 percent entertainer." Readers may quibble with the percentages, but if by “business," Brown referred to “show business," then it is ...

ALBUM REVIEW

James Brown: Soul On Top

Read "Soul On Top" reviewed by David Rickert

First off, don't be too quick to dismiss this album. James Brown gets his jazz credentials honestly, copping his stage antics from Louis Jordan and sprinkling his early releases with standards associated with the likes of Billy Eckstine and Nat King Cole. And with a band led by expert drummer Louis Bellson and arrangements by Oliver Nelson, certainly the ingredients are there for an interesting ride.

However, calling this James Brown's jazz album requires quite a stretch of the imagination, ...

ALBUM REVIEW

James Brown: Foundations of Funk

Read "Foundations of Funk" reviewed by Steve Hanson

James Brown initially invented step and repeatae funk with 'Please Please Please' (not present here). Even the title summed it up. Bang. Bang. Bang. Which is pretty much how 'Cold Sweat', 'It's a New Day' and 'Ain't It Funky Now' go on this glorious compilation. But not in straight 4/4 time obviously, these tracks are performed in the key signature of rutting animals.

The band legendarily followed JB's movements as a cue and used his spectacular routines as rhythm inspiration. ...


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