On September 1st, Netflix released a documentary detailing the life and musical career of the legendary James Brown.
The Soul / Funk icon began his career in Bobby Byrd’s blues / swing band after being released on parole, and quickly fell in love with big band. The use of the brass instrumentation was loud and swift just like Brown’s personality, so the combination was a perfect match for the Georgia native. The “Godfather of Soul” struggled as an artist during the Segregation Era, being forced to play in the Chitlin’ Circuit, a string of venues within the United States that allowed African Americans to perform (musicians, comedians, etc.).
Eventually Brown would take his Smokey Robinson inspired stage attire on to perform on his own and gained an incredible following for his high-pitched vocals and energetic dance moves including his unapologetic foot work. Although he was an untouchable talent, Brown would regularly speak about his ease at staying grounded and how he never forgot his birth in the ghetto.
Before his death in 2006, James Brown influenced handfuls of musicians and artists from Bruno Mars to Michael Jackson from his powerful performances and relation to his fans. The documentary Mr. Dynamite showcases the soul/pop singer’s successes and includes discussions from several close colleagues and admirers like Mick Jager.
Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown is available for streaming now.
Photo courtesy of NPR.