Program 7: We Were Playing Boulez, But We Were Listening To James Brown!

The core of this program, an extensive interview with James Brown about his music, was recorded at Brown’s home in Georgia.

As a university student, Michael Tilson Thomas and his colleagues were on the cutting edge of modern classical music. One day, while he was driving on the LA freeway, a song by James Brown came on the radio. That song, and the many that followed, changed MTT’s views about how to perform the music of Boulez, Stravinsky, and the like. The level of energy, the precision, the sense of time, the angularity — all gave the young conductor insight into the music he was performing.

Playlist

(If no performer is listed, piece performed by San Fransisco Symphony and Michael Tilson Thomas.)

Pierre Boulez: “Le Marteau sans maitre”
Ensemble Intercontemporain/Boulez
(Deutsche Grammophon 00289 477 5327)

James Brown/Alfred Ellis: “Cold Sweat”
James Brown and His Famous Flames
“Live at the Apollo Volume II”
(Polydor 314 549 884-2)

James Brown/Betty Newsome: “It’s a Man’s World”
James Brown
(Polydor 422 849 108-2)

James Brown/Johnny Terry: “Please Please Please” (1956 version)
James Brown
(Polydor 422 849 108-2)

Bobby Byrd/Sylvester Keels: “Why Do You Do Me?”
James Brown
(Polydor 422 849 108-2)

James Brown/Johnny Terry: “Please Please Please” (1967 version)
James Brown and His Famous Flames
“Live at the Apollo Volume II”
(Polydor 314 549 884-2)

Stravinsky: “The Rite of Spring”
(RCA 09026-68898-2)

Montage:

James Brown: “I Got the Feelin'”
James Brown with the James Brown Orchestra
(Polydor 422 849 108-2)

James Brown/Ted Wright/: “I Got You” (1964 version)
James Brown with the James Brown Band
(Polydor 422 849 108-2)

James Brown/Nat Jones: “Bring It Up” (“Hipsters Avenue”)
James Brown with the James Brown Orchestra
(Polydor 422 849 108-2)

James Brown/Alfred Ellis: “Cold Sweat” (1967 studio recording)
James Brown with the James Brown Orchestra
(Polydor 422 849 108-2)

James Brown/Alfred Ellis: “Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud,” Part 1
James Brown with the James Brown Orchestra
(Polydor 422 849 108-2)

James Brown/Alfred Ellis: “Mother Popcorn”
James Brown with the James Brown Orchestra
(Polydor 422 849 108-2)

James Brown/Bobby Boyd: “Get Up” (“(I Feel Like a) Sex Machine”)
James Brown with the JB’s
(Polydor 422 849 108-2)

James Brown: “I Got Money”
James Brown with the James Brown Band
(Polydor 422 849 108-2)

Lowman Pauling: “Think”
James Brown with the James Brown Band
(Polydor 422 849 108-2)

James Brown: “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag,” Part 1
James Brown with the James Brown Band
(Polydor 422 849 108-2)

James Brown/Alfred Ellis: “Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud,” Part 1
James Brown with the James Brown Orchestra
(Polydor 422 849 108-2)

James Brown/Bobby Boyd: “Get Up” (“(I Feel Like a) Sex Machine”)
James Brown with the JB’s
(Polydor 422 849 108-2)

James Brown/Johnny Terry: “Please Please Please” (1956 version)
James Brown
(Polydor 422 849 108-2)

James Brown/Bud Hobgood: “Let Yourself Go”
James Brown with the James Brown Orchestra
(Polydor 422 849 108-2)

Pierre Boulez: “Le Marteau sans maitre”
Ensemble Intercontemporain/Boulez
(Deutsche Grammophon 00289 477 5327)

James Brown/Bobby Boyd: “Get Up” (“(I Feel Like a) Sex Machine”)
James Brown with the JB’s
(Polydor 422 849 108-2)

“Live at the Apollo, Volume II” Sequence:

James Brown/Bud Hobgood: “Let Yourself Go”

James Brown/Bud Hobgood: “There Was a Time”

James Brown/Bud Hobgood: “I Feel All Right”

James Brown/Alfred Ellis: “Cold Sweat”

James Brown and His Famous Flames
“Live at the Apollo Volume II”
(Polydor 314 549 884-2)

James Brown: “Goodbye My Love”
James Brown
(Universal CCM 981 348-6)

Other episodes

Program 1: You Call That Music?!
Program 2: What Does America Sound Like? — Part 1
Program 3: What Does America Sound Like? — Part 2
Program 4: Igor Stravinsky’s Copyright Blues
Program 5: The Last Virtuoso
Program 6: Freud and the Ballet
Program 7: We Were Playing Boulez, But We Were Listening To James Brown!
Program 8: Five Degrees of Separation

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