20th Century Dies…

James Brown died this morning.

Cliche though it is, what can I say?

Edit: Apparently, this.

I would have liked to have added a paragraph I was formulating at the time, which would have come inbetween the present second and third paragraphs:

Jazz made it possible for instrumental virtuosity to supersede or even replace the presence of the vocalist, but it took a figure like Brown to make vocal lines just another expressive element in the mix, just another instrument jamming with the band. Stressing short, bristling phrases and single words, incorporating street jive and hophead slang previously only snuck into the songbook via allusive titles, James swapped the hipster credo of the jazz cats for something people in the barbershops could get down with. His allegiance to traditional R&B vocal styles broke down over the course of the 60’s - the mantra-like begging of “Please Please Please” dissolved with each repetition, emerging ultimately as a lexicon of yelps, growls, moans, grunts fragmented syllables, hushed invocations and dancer’s orders. At the same time he was fusing the role of the singer with that of the carnival barker, Brown initiated his brilliant quantum leap - getting his band to play just behind the beat, in search of the elusive rhythm behind the rhythm, “the One.” Hinted at broadly with “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” and brought to fruition with “Cold Sweat,” the template for a new kind of rhythm-section dominated dance music miles away from the corny organ-led R&B that passed for dance at the time.

December 25, 2006. Uncategorized. No Comments.

Strange & Merry…

December 25, 2006. Uncategorized. 1 Comment.

Sweet Stocking Stuffer

In case anyone missed this in tiny form at the bottom of the Beatz Year-End Roundup, here is that lovely New Yorker cartoon (in somewhat more easily-viewable form) courtesy of MF Gill, courtesy of Forced Exposure, courtesy of Kompakt:

December 22, 2006. Uncategorized. No Comments.