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.
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.