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Performance and Pedagogy Blog

A blog about the performance and pedagogy of music.

Monday YouTube Fix: James Brown Live in Bologna, Italy

Andrew Hitz

In the fall of 1993, during my freshman year at Northwestern University, my friend Matt Kerste asked me if I wanted to head downtown to see James Brown at the UIC Pavilion.  I couldn't believe there were any tickets available but he said it wasn't quite sold out so we hopped in the car.


Ticket stub to James Brown & His Review at the UIC Pavilion - Wednesday November, 24, 1993

Before leaving Evanston we swung by Rose Records (many of you probably don't even know what a record store is!) and asked the man at the Ticketmaster machine for a pair of tickets.  This was about three hours before showtime.  To our amazement, a pair of seats in row J on the floor popped out of the machine.  Not bad for a crowd of over 6,000!

Matt and I stuck out on that floor like sore thumbs (Matt is also over 6 feet tall and has bright red hair) but man did we get down! That was a baptism by fire to groove like I could never have imagined.  His band was beyond tight.  The music I heard that night immediately affected all aspects of my tuba playing.  It was a magical night!

This clip is almost a full hour long! It is from a concert in Bologna, Italy in 1971.  This band is beyond words.  You can zone out on any single player and be amazed.  Only a musician like James Brown could assemble a lineup like this:

James Brown: vocals, organ
Bobby Byrd: MC, vocals, organ
Darryl "Hasaan" Jamison: trumpet
Clayton "Chicken" Gunnells: trumpet
Fred Wesley: trombone
St. Clair Pinckney: tenor saxophone
Phelps "Catfish" Collins: lead guitar
Hearlon "Cheese" Martin: rhythm guitar
William "Bootsy" Collins: bass guitar
John "Jabo" Starks: drums
Don Juan "Tiger" Martin: drums

The bass player, Bootsy Collins, is one of the best musicians to ever make their living in the bass clef.  He is a treat to listen to.  Everything about his playing, articulation, groove, note length, seems just perfect to my ears.  This clip is why YouTube was invented.