Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Gettin Down to It
Genres: Jazz, Pop, R&B
Listen to Samples
James Brown - "Gettin' Down To It" (1969) & "Soul On Top" (1
Hector Verdu Marti | Barcelona, Catalonia | 06/14/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Better known for a personal assembly of different black music styles in what was to be called `funky' music, James Brown, also known as `Mr Dynamite' or the Godfather of Soul has two diamonds in his discography that have remained mostly unnoticed, despite the stunning performances there recorded.
The first time I heard of them was when I caught one of my jazz teachers singing a fragment of "Sunny". Seeing my astonished face -I had always thought of it as a soul hit-, he explained me he hat been listening to a recording where James Brown sang jazz classics with the accompaniment of a jazz trio. He didn't tell me anymore, just the impression that hearing Mr Dynamite squeezing his voice in a funky fashion in the middle of a jazz standard produced to him. No title, no more clues... Since then, I've spent four years of my life looking for it -well, maybe it's saying too much. Anytime I entered a record shop I asked unsuccessfully for it. My internet researches were unlucky too. Finally this year I had news about the reedition of "Gettin' Down To It" (1969) and I went for it. But, what a surprise I had when it came across that this wasn't Mr. Brown's only jazz incursion. One year later, in 1970, the Godfather of Soul hadn't had enough jazz and hired a big band to go further in "Soul On Top".
The first thing that draws your attention into the music is how comfortable Brown seems to be in an environment that, anyway is not that strange to him. Used to repetitive rhythms, he moves softly but also firmly along the swinging scales and notes of jazz. Anyway, he can't help rowing to his port, so that some jazz standards become funky exhibitions, especially those supported by the big band. Then, Mr Dynamite's throat, playful in the slow tempos, climb higher and higher, in a desperate need for generating faster frequencies. That shouldn't be the goal. Mr Brown is capable of doing better. He's got the technique, a gifted voice and an enormous musical talent that allows him to explore softer registers. Shouting is not expressing.
However, on the other hand, the experience of dragging a jazz trio into funky grooves is a kind of illumination. James Brown shows able to keep the powerful performances of his funky combos with just a piano, a bass and the drums. Though stripped, the Godfather of Soul sounds powerful, and even richer in musical shades. Just an experience to take into account.