James Brown (born James Joseph Brown, Jr. on May 3, 1933 in Barnwell, South Carolina) is an entertainer who is recognized as one of the most influential figures in 20th century music. As a prolific singer, songwriter, bandleader and record producer, Brown was a seminal force in the evolution of gospel and rhythm and blues into soul and funk. He has also left his mark on numerous other musical genres, including rock, jazz, reggae, disco, dance and electronic music, and, most famously, hip-hop music.
By 1970, most of the members of James Brown's classic 1960s band had quit his act for other opportunities. He and Bobby Byrd employed a new band that included future funk greats such as bassist Bootsy Collins, Collins' guitarist brother Phelps "Catfish" Collins, and trombonist/musical director Fred Wesley. This new backing band was dubbed "The JB's", and made their debut on Brown's 1970 single "(Get Up I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine". Although it would go through several lineup changes (the first in 1971), The JB's remain remembered as Brown's most familiar backing band.
As Brown's musical empire grew (he bought radio stations in the late 1960s, including Augusta's WRDW, where he had shined shoes as a boy), his desire for financial and artistic independence grew as well. In 1971, he began recording for Polydor Records; among his first Polydor releases was the #1 R&B hit "Hot Pants (She Got To Use What She Got To Get What She Wants)". Many of his sidemen and supporting players, such as Fred Wesley & the JB's, Bobby Byrd, Lyn Collins, Myra Barnes, and Hank Ballard, released records on Brown's subsidiary label, People, which was created as part of Brown's Polydor contract. These recordings are as much a part of Brown's legacy as those released under his own name, and most are noted examples of what might be termed James Brown's "house" style. The early 1970s marked the first real awareness, outside the African-American community, of Brown's achievements. Miles Davis and other jazz musicians began to cite Brown as a major influence on their styles, and Brown provided the score for the 1973 blaxploitation film Black Caesar.
In 1974 Brown performed in Zaire as part of the build up to the The Rumble in the Jungle fight between Mohammed Ali and George Foreman.
Maceo Parker (born February 14, 1943) is a noted African American funk and soul jazz saxophone player, best known for his contributions to James Brown's distinct sound. He was born in Kinston, North Carolina in a musically-rich environment. His mother and father sang in a church and both his brothers are accomplished musicians (drums and trombones).
He and his brother, Melvin Parker, joined James Brown in 1964; In his book Brown says that he originally wanted Melvin as his drummer but agreed to take Maceo under his wing as part of the deal. Maceo, Melvin and a few of Brown's band members left to found Maceo & All the Kings Men which toured for two years. In 1973 Maceo returned to James Brown's band. In 1975 Maceo and some of Brown's band members, including Fred Wesley, left to join George Clinton's Parliament.
Maceo once again joined James Brown from 1984 to 1988. In the 1990s he finally embraced a successful solo career. He has released seven solo records and plays 250 tour dates per year. It's also worth noting that his average play time on stage is more than two and a half hours. In the late 1990s, Maceo began contributing semi-regularly to recordings by Prince and accompanying his band (The New Power Generation) on tour. His current tour band includes bassist Rodney Skeet Curtis and several other talented musicians. They have been billed as "The greatest little funk orchestra on earth".
Betty Davis (born Betty Mabry, 1945) is an American funk and soul singer. She was also Miles Davis's second wife. She moved to New York City in the 1960's, working as a model and singer. Mabry met several musicians including Jimi Hendrix and Sly Stone.It is believed that Hendrix and Betty Davis had an affair that hastened the end of her marriage to Miles Davis, but Hendrix and Miles stayed close and even planned to record until Hendrix's death. Betty Davis remained a cult figure as a singer, due in part to her open sexual attitude, which was controversial for the time. Some of her shows were boycotted and her songs not played on the radio due to pressure by religious groups. With the passage of time her records have become highly regarded by collectors of soul and funk music.
New Orleans style raw ass funk. Heavy Gut Bucket Soul.
None of these distressingly talented musicians had yet reached the decrepit sum of 17 years at the time of these sessions, recorded in the now sadly defunct Desco Records studio, NY, just before 2000. Joined by former gospel singer Joseph "Who's the King" Henry for several tracks, and some juicy horns are added into the mix on occasion, but the majority of these 40 minutes are simply the sound of the preternaturally attuned foursome taking the instrumental cornerstones of funk and giving them a good workout via their own compositions.