David Matthews could never have imagined the surreal path his career as a musician and arranger would take him. From a quiet, sleepy existence in rural Kentucky, to filling in charts for the minister of the heavy funk, James Brown, David Matthews was working at the right hand side of the man who was to redefine modern music forever. Like many of the great musicians who surrounded James, history has seen his work eclipsed and sidelined by the myth of the godfather of soul himself. Fortunately, fate (and a quick Internet search) led him to contact Stones Throw’s Egon, who was searching for the human key that could unlock a vast discography, and the story of how James built his musical empire. Get ready for an enjoyable trip back to the Cold Sweat era during this lecture from the 2004 Red Bull Music Academy, as we learn that talent can get you only so far but dumb luck could get you even further.

02:27 – Kentucky
05:34 – Studying music
15:54 – Bud Hobgood
18:05 – James Brown
35:20 – Bootsy Collins
53:48 – CTI

39:16 – James Brown – “There It Is”
56:38 – David Matthews with Whirlwind – “Gotta Be Where You Are”
1:01:53 – Dave Matthews’ Big Band – unknown
1:17:26 – David Matthews – “Sambafrique”

The Red Bull Music Academy is a global music institution committed to fostering creativity in music. We celebrate music, its culture, and the transformative minds behind it. Begun in 1998, the Academy has taken the core principles that underlie its annual workshop for selected participants and applied this curatorial approach to events, lectures, and city-wide festivals throughout the year.

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