The jazz police had a field day with the 1969 Newport Jazz Festival, which marked George Wein’s blatant capitulation to the burgeoning rock market. While the usual names like Dave Brubeck, Art Blakey, Lee Morgan, Phil Woods, Charles Mingus and Anita O’Day were on hand to represent the jazz contingent, a whole host of arena rock bands were booked for the annual summer bash in Rhode Island. In its coverage that year, Down Beat ran the cover line: “Big Crowds, Bad Vibes.” And in his report on the festival, respected jazz writer Ira Gitler referred to the whole affair as “the Newport Jive Festival.”
Gitler’s colleague Dan Morgenstern also had little use for the rock acts, though he was considerably kinder to James Brown. As he wrote: “This was the most professional presentation of the festival, running smoothly from start to finish.” Indeed, it was the James Brown Show, a classy production replete with opening act (the Dee Felice piano trio), polished choreography, comedic relief (in the form of Nipsey Russell) and a dynamic, tightly-executed set in which the Hardest Working Man in Show Business trotted out hit after hit.
Though both Down Beat and Rolling Stone proclaimed Wein’s rock experiment at the 1969 Newport Jazz Festival a “disaster,” James Brown’s appearance there was an unequivocal triumph. This document of that memorable Sunday afternoon set on July 6th stands as a welcome addition to the legendary Godfather of Soul’s remarkable recorded legacy. (wolfgangs.com)
What a blessing.
A high energy, quality recorded boot, captured at the height of the James Brown craze…and when James himself was at his wildest.
His band bashed it out, but managed to stay tight and funky.
JB was all over the stage moving and grooving, and hitting you hard.
Dig the early appearance of “Give It Up or Turn It Loose” to the live set, the hit single released only a few months earlier.
…and what’s great is at Newport Jazz Festival the band had 1 hour to get in and get out, making the tunes here tighter than ever.
Every instrument comes in so clear, and the intricacies of how they all work together come across quite nicely here.
A powerful high energy soundboard performance that you are guaranteed to blast. (by breakwind)
James Brown (vocals)
Bobby Byrd (organ)
Joe Davis (trumpet)
Alfred “Pee Wee” Ellis (saxophone)
Richard “Kush” Griffith (trumpet)
Alphonso “Country” Kellum (guitar)
Jimmy Nolen (guitar)
Maceo Parker (saxophone)
St. Clair Pinckney (saxophone)
Charles Sherrell (bass)
Clyde Stubblefield (drums)
Fred Wesley (trombone)
01. Soul Pride (instrumental) (Ellis/Brown) 2.42
02. Popcorn (instrumental) (Brown) 5.47
03. Things Ain’t What They Used To Be (instrumental) (Persons/Ellington) 4.08
04. Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud (Ellis/Brown) 4.55
05. If I Ruled The World (Ornadel) 3.54
06. Kansas City (Leiber/Stoller) 4.43
07. Licking Stick (Ellis/Brown/Byrd) 1.28
08. Try Me (Brown) 2.42
09. There Was A Time (Hobgood/Brown) 5.03
10. Give It Up Or Turnit A Loose (Bobbit) 3.05
11. It’s A Man’s World (Brown/Jean) 3.11
12. Please, Please, Please (Brown/Terry) 2.18
13. I Can’t Stand Myself (When You Touch Me) (Brown) 1.40
14. Mother Popcorn (Ellis/Brown) 8.07
Track 15. Mother Popcorn (Encore) (Ellis/Brown) 5.21
James Brown (May year of rec3, 1933 – December 25, 2006)