Still Black Still Proud: The African Tribute to James Brown

The Godfather of Soul was not only a hugely influential icon in the U.S. and Europe, he was perhaps even more revered in Africa, where enthusiastic throngs turned out for his concerts in the late '60s and early '70s (including one preceding Zaire's Muhammad Ali-George Foreman "Rumble in the Jungle"). The roots of Brown's funk were African, of course, but he also had a profound effect on a generation of African musicians, such as Afrobeat instigator Fela Kuti. What goes around has come around yet again with this phenomenal tribute to Brown from some of his key collaborators and luminaries of contemporary African music. The band will be led by saxophonist and former Brown musical director Pee Wee Ellis. He'll be joined by his fellow JB Horn mate trombonist Fred Wesley Jr., a funk icon himself, plus singers Martha High (who sang with Brown for 30 years), and Fred Ross (who has toured with Ellis and Wesley). The African contingent will include guitarist and singer Vieux Farka Touré (who has picked up the style and genius of his late, renowned father Ali Farka Touré), Senegalese singer/guitarist Cheikh Lô (a protégé of Youssou N'Dour who taps myriad pan-African and world music influences), and Senegalese master percussionist Papa Assane M'Baye. Among notables in the supporting band is veteran soul/R&B guitarist Reggie Ward. This show earned rave reviews in Europe before coming stateside. The Dakota date is sandwiched between stops at Lincoln Center and the Chicago Jazz Festival, and promises to be utterly unique and unforgettable. $60 at 7 p.m.; $45 at 9:30 p.m.
Sun., Aug. 24, 2008

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