The Horns of James Brown

24 Dec

James Brown has been on my mind more than ever this year and so many nights I’ve fallen asleep with those horn parts not so much swirling as stabbing and jabbing in my head. Burnt Sugar has been working on the music of James Brown all year; we performed it at the Serralves Festival in Porto, Portugal in June, at The Apollo Theater Salon Series in October and just last week at Le Poisson Rouge in NYC. There’s more to come and I’ve come to realize that attempting to learn and approximate let alone perfect all those horn parts could be a lifetime pursuit. Having said that, talking about those parts and the players who gave them to us will probably become a recurring theme on this blog. Everyone knows The JBs, Fred Wesley, Maceo Parker & Peewee Ellis, but I have come to love the sound of St. Clair Pinckney’s horns on many of the tunes too. Anyway, as we approach the anniversary of James Brown’s death with which he masterfully eclipsed and forever transformed the meaning of the December 25th holiday I leave you with this consummately groovy film clip of his Soulful Christmas featuring those seemingly simple but indispensable horn lines.


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