Soul on Top

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Alex Henderson
If Count Basie had hired James Brown to replace Joe Williams as his featured male vocalist, what would the results have sounded like? Brown offers some suggestions on Soul on Top, which finds the Godfather of Soul making an intriguing detour into jazz-minded big-band territory. Recorded in 1969 and reissued on CD in 2004, Soul on Top unites Brown with the Basie-influenced orchestra of jazz drummer Louie Bellson -- and stylistically, the results are somewhere between soul-funk and the funkier side of big-band jazz. This Brown/Bellson collaboration isn't straight-ahead jazz; nor is it typical of Brown's late-'60s output. But if recording a big-band project with Bellson was...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Alex Henderson
If Count Basie had hired James Brown to replace Joe Williams as his featured male vocalist, what would the results have sounded like? Brown offers some suggestions on Soul on Top, which finds the Godfather of Soul making an intriguing detour into jazz-minded big-band territory. Recorded in 1969 and reissued on CD in 2004, Soul on Top unites Brown with the Basie-influenced orchestra of jazz drummer Louie Bellson -- and stylistically, the results are somewhere between soul-funk and the funkier side of big-band jazz. This Brown/Bellson collaboration isn't straight-ahead jazz; nor is it typical of Brown's late-'60s output. But if recording a big-band project with Bellson was a surprising and unexpected thing for the Godfather of Soul to do in 1969, it was hardly illogical or bizarre -- Brown, after all, grew up listening to jazz as well as blues and gospel and was well aware of the legacies of Basie, Lionel Hampton, Duke Ellington, and others. Besides, jazz and R&B are closely related. While some jazz snobs would have listeners believe that jazz and R&B have little if anything in common, the fact is that they're close relatives that get much of their energy and feeling from the blues. So it makes perfect sense for Brown to combine soul, funk, and jazz on this album, which finds him revisiting some major hits including "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag" and "It's a Man's Man's Man's World" in addition to embracing "September Song," "That's My Desire," and other standards that one typically associates with jazz and traditional pop. Although not among the Godfather's better-known efforts, this fine album is happily recommended to anyone who holds R&B and jazz in equally high regard.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 7/13/2004
  • Label: Verve
  • UPC: 602498617182
  • Catalog Number: 000197802
  • Sales rank: 61,317

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 That's My Desire - Louie Bellson (4:10)
  2. 2 Your Cheatin' Heart - Louie Bellson (2:59)
  3. 3 What Kind of Fool Am I? - Louie Bellson (3:06)
  4. 4 It's a Man's Man's Man's World - Louie Bellson (6:40)
  5. 5 The Man in the Glass - Louie Bellson (5:56)
  6. 6 It's Magic - Louie Bellson (3:14)
  7. 7 September Song - Louie Bellson (5:02)
  8. 8 For Once in My Life - Louie Bellson (4:43)
  9. 9 Every Day I Have the Blues - Louie Bellson (4:28)
  10. 10 I Need Your Key (To Turn Me On) - Louie Bellson (3:46)
  11. 11 Papa's Got a Brand New Bag - Louie Bellson (4:41)
  12. 12 There Was a Time - Louie Bellson (3:04)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
James Brown Primary Artist, Vocals
Louie Bellson Drums
Pete Christlieb Tenor Saxophone
Jimmy Cleveland Trombone
Buddy Collette Tenor Saxophone
Oliver Nelson Conductor
Jimmy Mulidore Baritone Saxophone
Maceo Parker Tenor Saxophone
Al Aarons Trumpet
Jack Arnold Percussion
John Audino Trumpet
Ray Brown Bass
Nick Dimaio Trombone
Bill Pitman Guitar
Tommy Porello Trumpet
Joe Romano Alto Saxophone
Kenny Shroyer Trombone
Ernie Watts Alto Saxophone
Chuck Finley Trumpet
Louis Shelton Guitar
Bill Tole Trombone
Frank Vincent Piano
James H. Brown Vocals
Technical Credits
Memphis Slim Composer
Kurt Weill Composer
James Brown Composer
Louie Bellson Composer
Leonard Feather Liner Notes
Oliver Nelson Arranger
Leslie Bricusse Composer
Sammy Cahn Composer
Anthony Newley Composer
Jule Styne Composer
Hank Williams Composer
Ron Miller Composer
Francis Davis Liner Notes
Bob Irwin Mastering
Hollis King Art Direction
Bud Hobgood Composer
Dan Quest Cover Photo
Maxwell Anderson Composer
Orlando Murden Composer
Carroll Loveday Composer
Bryan Koniarz Producer
Betty Jean Newsome Composer
Ken Druker Executive Producer
Stephanie Stein Crease Notes Editing
Helmy Kressa Composer
James H. Brown Liner Notes, Author
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