Monday, November 5, 2007

I took it from the top and put it on the bottom...

That's how James Brown described the process of creating the musical structure we now know as Funk. It was all about The One.

I stumbled upon this great documentary from the BBC (they have some great documentaries, by the way--check out Richard Pryor if you get a chance) on youtube. They've got it divided into seven parts, but the whole thing is really compelling. It does a really great job of covering many of the major Funk figures and providing a historical context for the music's rise. One of my favorite moments is when JB's bandleader, Pee Wee Ellis talks about coming up with the concept for "Coldblooded" after listening to Miles Davis' "So What?". If you've got both songs, you should listen to them back-to-back because it's fascinating to see what they did. This kind of innovation was actually pretty typical because many of Funk's greatest musicians had their roots deep in Jazz. Great stuff. Check it out.


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