(JVC Jazz Festival)
At the Avery Fisher Hall - New York, NY (6/26/99)



At 9:05pm, the James Brown Band started with some "Soul Power" music. Two white guys, dressed in white shirts & blue pants, came out and did some splendid dance routines, complete with spins and splits......I guess James still wishes that he could do that stuff! (I wish that I was much, much older, just to see James Brown back in the early 1970's when he was in rare form! James doesn't have half of the energy he used to.) With "Ain't It Funky Now" as the backdrop, longtime emcee Danny Ray introduced this white woman, Tammy Ray. This performer was a waste of time as she tried to sing a couple of uptempo tunes and one blues song. (All I saw was a blond-haired fluesy dancin' around with her hair whisking from side to side.........SOMEBODY SHOOT ME!!)


Danny Ray introduced the Godfather of Soul at 9:30pm, by announcing many of his hits and the band played snippets of them! A standing ovation occurred as James Brown walked onstage. The Bittersweets were ontstage, backing up James vocally, while the three sexy dancers were stimulating all the men sexually with overtly sexy choreography!! James had the audience "Get Up Offa That Thing" and "Release The Pressure". As everyone got up off their things, one of the horn players did a hot saxophone solo! J. B. kept everyone groovin' with some "Cold Sweat"....yeah, everybody was in funk heaven, enjoying themselves! Everybody was also "Doin' It To Death", havin' a funky good time ("we gotta take it high-------er!") James proved that he was still smooth as he was dancing with one of the Bittersweets during his performance of "Try Me". Then, J.B. did "Soul Power" which included a piece of "Soul Man"......unfortunately, the hornz were too soft during this performance. (Actually, the sound system wasn't really up-to-par anyway!) The music stopped when James Brown pleaded to the young folks to stop the violence, and Reverend Al Sharpton was invited to the stage to invite everyone to a moment of silence for those who lost their lives tragically. The music started about 10 minutes later with a snippet of "Prisoner of Love", seguing into "Georgia on My Mind", featuring Martha High on co-lead vocals. Her vocals were good, but there were parts where her vocals were barely audible. Parts of the "Georgia" song was played in an uptempo, jazzy manner! James's son, Darryl, was the featured guitarist on this tune! "If I Ruled The World" was good, but I got the feeling that James was starting to tire out, because his vocals were a bit incomprehensible......it was like J.B. was shouting the words in a hoarse tone!


The next event was a magic act, performed by a magician! After suffering through that, James Brown got nasty on the organ during the performance of "Every Beat of My Heart (Every Part of My Heart)" That was followed by a snippet of a Ray Charles song that J.B. sang. I loved the crazy drum solo, performed by this big guy who was standing with the "large" drums & congas! A screaming saxophone solo was next, along with Hollie "making love" to his trumpet, by making these "sucking" sounds and blowing one or two notes at a time! The music stopped and Reverend Al Sharpton was back onstage doing another speech.......GEEZ!! "It's a Man's Man's Man's World" was next, followed by a funky performance of "Funk on Ah Roll". "I Got You (I Feel Good)" was great, with a white woman singing co-lead vocals near the end of the song! "Please, Please" was the following song, where Danny Ray draped J. B. with a green cape (with GODFATHER OF SOUL on the back of it). James was led away from centerstage, when he rushed back to the spot he left! A couple of minutes later, the same routine happened, except Danny had a red cape! The last song of the evening, "Sex Machine", was an absolute tour-de-funk!!! J. B. played the organ for a few minutes, then started playing the drums! Everyone in the audience was in a dance frenzy!! The show ended at 11:00pm.

To recap, the song set listing:

·         Soul Power (music)

·         Ain't It Funky Now

·         Get Up Offa That Thing

·         Cold Sweat

·         Doin' It To Death

·         Try Me

·         Soul Power

·         Prisoner of Love/Georgia on My Mind

·         If I Ruled The World

·         Every Part of My Heart (Every Beat of My Heart)

·         It's a Man's Man's Man's World

·         Funk on Ah Roll

·         I Got You (I Feel Good)

·         Please, Please

·         Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine


1.     James Brown needs to eliminate the unnecessary personnel from his concerts. Get rid of Ms. Tammy Ray because she can't really sang. Lose the magician--the only people who are really intrigued by magic are children, and from what I saw, only adults were at the show! Magic doesn't really have any place in a funk concert (or any concert)--LOSE IT!!!

2.     Cut back on the chit-chat.....it's okay to get serious for a FEW minutes and talk about the problems of society, but people paid to be entertained, not enlightened or preached to throughout the show!

3.     James could do a slightly longer set (for example, 2 and 1/2 hours), to include other essential hits like "Super Bad", "Brother Rapp", "The Payback", "Stoned to The Bone", and "Get on the Good Foot".

4.     The sound could have been better. Maybe the monitors were turned down too low.

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